Monday, March 15, 2010

Redefined



In my twenties, when I was a new Mom, I struggled to understand my role outside of the home. I was writing dramas, leading worship, doing sermon research for a Pastor and even writing sermon series for him and I had a new baby. It seemed to be a constant struggle. I struggled relationally, spiritually and my husband became a babysitter for all of my rehearsals and meetings. I felt justified because I was at home all day long. Being out a few nights a week for ministry did not seem selfish. I deserved it. Right? By no means am I saying women with Children cannot work outside of the home, enjoy hobbies or run ministries. But for me, it was a struggle. I did not understand the struggle until a couple of years ago when I felt the Lord showing me it was time to lay it down. Leading worship and being a part of ministry outside of my home became all consuming. Adding Homeschool to this equation made it even more consuming. I feared letting it go because then who would I be? A wife and a mom. No longer a wife, a mom, a worship leader, a creative arts guru, nothing but a wife and mom. The thought of having the title of "wife and mom" only terrified me.

Finally the Lord showed me loud and clear through HUGE TRIBULATION that it was time to embrace the one and only title of "Wife and Mom." When you obey what God has clearly said, you will be questioned. People will think something is wrong or something happened. You see our own personal convictions often make others uncomfortable. People tried to talk me out of it, tell me I was wrong and look for a problem that wasn't there. It's kind of like the time I was dating this guy when I was single and a few months into it, I knew I had to end it. He was a great guy but He was not the guy God had for me. I was counseled by friends to "just have fun", "don't look at it so seriously", "enjoy the free dinners." But I have never been the kind of person to do something that deep down I KNEW was not for me just so I could please others and quiet the masses.

After running the Chicago Marathon, I came home on fire. The marathon was amazing and I beat my goal by several minutes. I wanted to run it in 4:30, instead I ran it in 4:22. And you know what? It wasn't hard. I never had a moment in Chicago when I thought I wouldn't make it. In fact, I thought it was easy. The entire race I kept waiting for the moment it would get difficult but it didn't. That day was obviously a great day for me to run a marathon. I flew back to Texas a little disappointed. Something in me was sad about the success. At that moment I did not understand but it felt like the "love" I had for marathon running was gone. Now looking back I understand what the Lord was doing. I was so excited about my marathon finish time so I decided I would run another marathon just eight weeks later. The day I logged on to enter the race and pay the entry fee, I heard the Holy Spirit. "Now is not the time to run another marathon. Now is the time to grow your family." Say what? Grow my family? "Grow my family? I'm not having any other children. No way. I love my running time. I love being in shape, I love being skinny and fit, I love being a size 2. Surely you don't mean have another baby!" My whole life, until I became a full blown "runner", I felt like the ugly girl. I was not the one in High School all the guys chased. I wasn't overweight and never struggled with weight but I always felt like the one who could never be GREAT at something. Running made me feel superior on many levels. So I struggled to figure out what the Lord was trying to show me. What will I be I if I am not a marathon runner? Once again I realized the Lord was trying to help me understand the amazing "call" on my life as a Wife, Mother and Homeschooler. It was much bigger than I had given it credit for.

As I wrestled back and forth with this " am I supposed to have another baby?" question, a friend of mine who happened to be my best friend in 8th grade had just had her 4th child. I had posted the following on facebook. "Every finish line I cross, redemption takes place and more chains are broken." And that is the truth! That is exactly what Running did for me in many ways. My friend commented with something like this. "That is exactly how I feel after each birth of my children. It is redemption from a painful past." No doubt, it was a powerful, anointed comment she posted. It was a "God Stop" as Beth Moore says. It was a comment I will never forget because it opened the door for me to truly hear what the Lord was trying to say. I knew with all of my heart that right then at that moment that more children were in my future.

In a couple of weeks I will be 34 years old and I stand amazed at how Motherhood constantly redefines who I am. Today's society has become a society that worships the God of education. I even saw some one's profile a few years ago on blogger that read "Educated Stay at Home Mom." It was like they were not comfortable with just saying "Stay at Home Mom", it had to be more. More recently I heard a story about someone who made a statement about how she couldn't believe how many Stay At Home Moms there were in the South (she was from CA) and how sad it is that some of them did not have a college degree. She felt that a degree should come first. I won't share my thoughts on how I feel because I am pretty sure my lack of "Degree" will cause me to sound defensive. But I am amazed at how the role of a Mother and especially a Homeschooling Mother is belittled so much when it should be praised.

Right now, being pregnant, is the sweetest thing on earth because I know that this pregnancy is God ordained. This precious life in my womb has been planned by the God Almighty. I am thankful that I was able to hear the Lord's voice instead of the family members who gasped when hearing that we were possibly going to add to our family. It would be easy to listen to those who don't agree. Thankfully I am hard headed and usually do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. This season is so incredible because I feel like I am resting under the shadow of His wings because I was obedient. It's not about being in shape, getting time away, having a date night every single week (although that is a nice goal) or getting out of the hard stages of having kids. Moms rejoice when they are finished with the diaper stage then when they can send their kids to school, get them in college then get them married. I want to rejoice in the now! The snotty noses, the poopy diapers, the nights of nursing a baby who wakes up every two hours. I want to be with my kids day and night and love them with every ounce of my being. I want to show them what the Love of Christ means every single day.

So when I get right down to it, I do not feel that I can be consumed with other things right now. Does this mean I will not run a Marathon ever again, lead worship or find new hobbies? NO. What it does mean is this is my FIRST priority and it is an honor and privilege to do what I do every single day. The more I search for contentment outside of this home, the more struggles I have. Which brings me to the subject of Facebook. Today I deactivated my account. I did it for one reason and one reason only. God told me to. No I did not hear an audible voice saying "FACEBOOK IS FROM SATAN." But I did hear promptings over and over again about how it was something that contaminated my daily life and the bad outweighed the good. I am not saying it is bad for YOU to have a facebook account but I am saying for me I needed to cut ties for now. I can think of many, many, many reasons why Facebook can be a negative source in our lives but  I will share that with my close friends, not the world. It's just another area where I feel God shaping me. As a Mother of three and one on the way and as a homeschooling mother, I want to clear some distractions from my day. These years I have with my kids will fly by, or at least that is what those precious, wrinkly old women in the grocery stores say. "They are precious Mom, take it all in because it goes by way too fast". The wisdom they share and the sweet glances they give my children do cause me to believe that indeed it does go by way too fast.

Last week I read a passage of Scripture that confirmed my "calling" and the calling all of us Mothers have on our lives. Whether you homeschool or not, whether you work or stay at home, no matter what choices you make for your children, we all have a role to play in their life and it's a powerful one.

Deuteronomy 6

Love the LORD Your God

1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. [a]
5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up

Leading Worship, Running Marathons or whatever else it is that I am good at or enjoy fails in comparison to being a Mother. A year ago I would have hated a post like this. I would have thought the blog author was extreme and judgemental but Motherhood is constantly changing me. It can and will change all of us if we allow it to. It will grow you up and show you the selfishness that lurks. I chose to be a Mom. It is not my decade to be something else. I am called to give my all to this job and when I try to sneak away, often something I do without realizing it, I will always come back feeling unsatisfied. This is what I was created to do. It will be hard. Homeschooling is the hardest thing I have ever done but it's worth every second. It's worth the bad days when Josiah does nothing but complain. It's worth those comments I hear from other moms. It's worth the aloneness I often feel. It's worth people looking at you funny when you don't allow your children to do some of the things their children are doing. It's worth the the time, the effort, the energy, the long days of feeling frustrated beyond belief. Having more children is worth the expanding waist line, the lack of sleep, the money and random comments people make about large families. It's worth doing it when you don't have any family to help or family who come to stay when you have the baby so they can help. We don't have that luxury or blessing but we have each other. We have a family and it is the greatest gift we could ever hope for. We may not be taking trips to Disneyland (yet! i hope so soon!) or living in a big giant house (maybe someday) but we are blessed beyond measure and when I stop to embrace that and breathe it in, I am one happy gal!

The washing, cleaning, cooking, driving, washing, cleaning, washing, driving, washing, cleaning and washing I do is part of me building a kingdom and I will give up marathon medals all day long for the joy that comes with being a wife, mother and teacher. As I strive to give my children character qualities, I learn new ones for myself. I rarely hear the words "Wow, you are amazing" but I do have the privilege of seeing every single day how my children are learning the importance of family and trusting Christ in everything they do. Just a few minutes ago, my three children came running up to show me some snails they had dug up in the backyard, the home they made for them and the food they had place in the box. Seeing their creativity take place in something as silly as a snail box showed me their ability to care for things. It's in these day to day "little moments" that I see the harvest taking place.

May motherhood continue to redefine and change who I am, for as I grow they grow with me.

Thank you Lord, Jesus for this gift. Nothing can compare.

Redefined,

Amanda


14 comments:

Kelly Ann said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!!

Paula said...

I love this post. You know, a stay at home mom, home schooler, keeper of the house, teacher of the word and groomer of our children is just not Hollywood. And you know what, that is okay, because to our God, it is even better. This life, our marriages, parenting...it is all a journey. It is growth. A process. And thank God that He Keeps refining us!!

Tiffany said...

I think I can honestly say that this is THE MOST GODLY POST I have read to date (and that's saying something, 'cuz there have been many of them)!!!

You are in a HOLY ZONE Amanda...RUN with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you...
Tiff ;)
xoxoxo

P.S. God BLESS the twins! :)

Christina said...

I love this post, thanks for sharing your heart Amanda!

Elizabeth said...

Well said, Mama!!! Thanks for the sweet reminder of my fabulous job!!

Christy said...

WOW I have no other words honestly... you are plugged in with the Holy Ghost!

Stacey said...

Amen!!!! There is so much about this post that I wanted to circle, highlight and quote to tell you, "Yes!"
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. So much of what you said is rock-solid with me right now. I am in the place of simply cherishing being at home with my beautiful babies. While we want to grow our family, I can't help but be overcome with the JOY of the NOW!

These days DO go by too fast, and I don't want them to slip by unnoticed.

Oh, and that scripture, we have it framed in our house, and have since we got married. LOVE IT!!

Kelly said...

I have to come back and read in a little bit- I just wanted to let you know you were on my mind and I have been praying for you since last night. Hope you feel great and all is well. Love you friend!

Kelly said...

Oh Amanda, this is awesome! You are right where God wants you, and the blessing of embracing your calling will overwhelm you. You will never regret your choices, trust me, as one who desperately wishes I could go back and do things differently. Being a mother is the best job there is... talk about an education! I wish I hadn't allowed my own doubts and insecurities to have fueled so many of our decisions. I was literally just journaling these very thoughts minutes ago, and asking God to renew my spirit and give me hope.
I could go on and on, hoping to encourage you that you are 100% on target, but I know you already know that, and are sensing God's leading in your life, and following. You are precious, and wise, and such an inspiration to me.
Will you please pray for me and for Rusty to be in agreement with God's plan for us? Love you friend, and am so thrilled to get to share in your journey.

margaret said...

Beautiful. And very encouraging, though I am not a mother.

Thanks for sharing.
-Margaret

Kate said...

someone said i was a seasoned homeschooler since we're in our 8th year now... but let me tell you, a lot of days feel like the first year! your testimony, convictions, and huge heart have encouraged me deeply. thank you sweet amanda! i'll be praying for an easy and most enjoyable pregnancy. i miss that gift so much - knowing you are growing a life for the Lord's kingdom. enjoy it to the hilt! love you lots!!!

Kim said...

The girls said it all :) I concur 100%! Hope you are feeling okay!

Blessings!

Wendy said...

Loved this!! Being a mother is such a gift and privilege.

Karen Hammons said...

YOU GO GIRL!!!