This morning I’m sitting in my bedroom with the door locked, realizing if I walk out the door I’m going to lose it.
Do you ever feel that way?
This morning reminds me of when I was a stay-at-home-mom and woke up anticipating some quiet moments to myself ….time with God, time to straighten up and organize before the kids got up and my day belonged to someone else. But then a child would wake up earlier than the estimated-time-of-arrival. And my response was frustration, irritation, and sometimes, (anger).
Just a few minutes of personal time, please! I just need a few minutes to myself that are mine!
Boy, putting that in print is scary, sharing my selfish thoughts with the world. And I’m petrified in sharing my secret.
(I can’t do it all.)
When I was a stay-at-home-mom I often had lock-myself-in-the-room days. I could somewhat manage them without the extra stressors of outside work, finding babysitters, and missing work because of sick kids. Ten years ago, I was offered the opportunity to teach, and I became a working mom. Four years ago, on the last day of school, I walked out of my classroom, turned out the lights for the last time, with a broken heart, leaving the profession I love.
Because I can’t do it all.
For me, the classroom is a sacred place where you pour your life and heart into students God gives you. But there is a price….it’s a demanding job, full of grading, lesson plans, standards to meet and data to keep. While I kept up with the deadlines of the classroom and home pretty well, the reality was that casseroles in the freezer fed the body but not the soul.
Doing it all is pricey, and for me, the price was too high emotionally and spiritually. My kids needed a mom emotionally available for them who was not irritated, frustrated, and on-edge. I needed to be at peace.
Being pulled in every direction is hard. During these years, I was pulled in every direction. So Ron and I made a life-changing decision for me to go back to school so I could have other opportunities for part-time or flexible employment outside of the classroom. It was a good decision, but a hard one to make.
God has been faithful. After a long wait, God answered our prayers by providing a part-time school counseling position for me. It’s a reminder that God cares, hears, and provides miracles. At least it’s a miracle to me because….
I know what I can handle. I only have a few more years with my children at home, and want to be present, at peace, and available. Some things I’ve learned along the journey:
- God provides. Financially, quitting a secure job to go back to school full-time with a large family didn’t make sense, especially with one going off to college. But after living on one income for most of our marriage, we knew we could return to it for a season. God has a way of making dollars stretch when you don’t think they can.
- Know yourself and be okay with your limits. I never felt more like a failure than when I locked my classroom door and turned in the keys. When everything around you says you’ve failed, aren’t good enough, and you fear what-people-will-think, it’s crucial you are confident of God’s plan for you because then you can rest in His will.
- God cares about women. Being on both sides of the working-mom fence, I’ve been challenged by every social mores there is in the Christian world regarding working or non-working mothers. I’ve learned roles for women are not who we are, they are what we do. God loves us each individually, and ministers to us accordingly.
- A woman’s identity is in Christ alone. It’s not in our children, our work, our gifts, our talents, our husband, or our home. I can’t express in words all the places the Lord and I have been with this topic over the last ten years. I’ve learned first and foremost
I’m the daughter of the Most High God. I’m not defined by my children’s achievements or failures, a clean house or awesome lesson plans, my ability to handle it all or not.
Nor do these things define you.
God is crazy about each of us for who we are and who He has created us to be. And He has called each of us to be a testimony to Him above all else.
Lord, give each of us a peace of mind and heart for the season we are in. Let each of us know the perfect grace you have for where you have placed us. Help us not to look to the left or to the right, or what our neighbor is doing, but help us be comfortable with where you have called us as individual women who minister in the places you have put us. Equip us to seek You above all else.