“I don’t know if I can do this EVERY DAY. This just feels like too much.”
I stared out the window and uttered these words silently, trying to push back the tears. For probably the millionth time.
My kids, clueless, continued to argue over whose turn it was to play with the thing or who had claim to the last cookie in the pantry. It was our first day of homeschooling this fall, and it was disastrous. I had visions of happy kids, excited to set our academic year off right.
No more than a few minutes in, I started having serious doubts about my life decisions.
I’ve sacrificed a lot. I left my career and other meaningful pursuits with my life. Now my personal ambitions move forward at a snail’s pace, if at all (if not backwards). Like many of you, I look back on some days when the house is a disaster and wonder, what did I even do today?
I remember what it used to feel like to have extra income that didn’t get sucked into feeding tiny bottomless pits and supplying them with bunk beds and soccer cleats. We used to go out to eat a lot more. We used to give a lot more away.
Before kids, I thrived in ministry work. Marc and I moved to Alaska and helped launch a campus ministry; we met with people multiple times a week just to talk about the Bible. They changed their lives; we continued to serve; we engaged in the community and gave people hope. It wasn’t always easy, but it seemed obvious that what we were doing was important. We could see the results. The people we built that community with back then are still dear friends today.
I said goodbye to that lifestyle prayerfully and with my eyes wide open. I knew that for me, leaving the workforce and the ministry we had been a part of was what would be best for our kids. Not everyone understood our decisions, but we plunged ahead.
Six years later, I drive by the local elementary school where my kids could be attending if we didn’t homeschool and wonder…maybe I need more of a break. I see the professional attire that I don’t need on sale at the mall and muse…it would feel good to wear that. I see the needs at church and in my community and think…I would love to be able to do more.
Of course, I love my kids and I love my life. If you’re in this season with me, you feel me on this. I don’t wrestle so much with my love and dedication to them…but I wrestle with a nagging feeling. It lingers on days when I’m wiping noses, changing diapers, dusting curtains and fixing broken toys. It pesters me when I’m saying no to commitments and stepping down from responsibilities I can no longer handle.
The Lie…and the Truth
Somewhere along this journey, I internalized a false message. It goes something like this: I’m in a season (that part’s true). But it’s a less important season than the other seasons when I can serve more, give more, be more. In other words, my life and my purpose get put on hold when my kids are at home.
Insert record scratch sound here.
What a horrible lie. Left unrecognized it could derail my calling as a mother.
I heard a sermon recently that left me in tears because it exposed this lie at its core. The message was about God’s plan to reach the world. I was expecting to hear a lot about the call to serve the poor, to invite our neighbors to church, to preach the good news and make disciples of all nations. I’ve heard all of that before, quite a bit.
I prepared to start feeling a little guilty. Because you know, kids get in the way of all of that.