S.A.H.M Status

11.29.2016 |


One of my friends recently asked how much I love being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) and asked how I decided not to return to teaching upper level science courses.  Let me tell you, I am so grateful that she would ask me these questions (posted below) because it gave me a chance to get outside myself and really ponder the things I do and don't love about staying at home.

I decided to post my response here only because I think it might be a similar experience that some SAHMs have.  While I recognize that everyone has a different calling on and passion in their lives, motherhood is a strange web of mixed emotions whether you are with your kids 24-7 or are at the office.  I also realize that while some people have the option to stay home, some do not.  I realize that working moms may have a burning desire to stay with their children, but it is not circumstantially possible.  I realize that some moms who stay home have an intense passion for their careers and truly do want to be at work.  I get that everyone is in a different stage of life (which can be highly dependent on the ages and needs of your chilren) whether it's the stage of life they want or not.  I am simply sharing my experience from the past 6 months of staying home with Ezra.  I hope you can read this and not be too nit-picky on my personal experiences.  It's messy and I'm messy.

Here is my response to her.  Revisions from the original message are italicized.



Questions:

  1. Do you love being a stay at home mom? 
  2. Why do you choose to stay at home as opposed to work?
  3. Do you think being at home more aligns with what God desires in a wife and a mother?

Response:

I am not sure how much help I will be on this topic seeing that I have only been a mother for a little over a year, but what I will tell you is that I have learned SO much.  Time and time again I have been humbled as my impatient, unloving, bitter, and joyless heart rears its ugly head.  Motherhood is a sanctifying journey in itself, and it has taught me so much about the incredible love Christ has for us.  

While I have come to love being a mother, it wasn’t always a title I loved to wear.  There’s a lot of love, but a whole lot of messy too.  Being a mom means 11PM, 1AM, 3AM, 5AM wake up calls; it means cleaning up explosive diapers and vomit in a crib; it means enduring a screaming child in a car for no reason; it means being completely helpless and not knowing what to do feeling like you are half the time grasping at air to make motherhood work. (Like could a baby please come with an instructions manual? Thanks.)  But despite all of that, motherhood is a beautiful journey.  It means there is someone who is trusting you and counting on you like you have never known in your life; it means laying down your selfishness and pride; it means looking into eyes that look so eerily like yours and just crying because God has been so kind to let you raise someone made in his image and likeness; it means literally crying at the thought that something terrible might happen to him that would cause you to lose him; it means rubbing a silky smooth back while rocking a 1-year old to sleep because his teeth hurt; it means loving someone you are still getting to know as they likewise are getting to know you; it means dying to yourself and rearranging your idea of what “life” should have looked like (this last one has been the absolute HARDEST).  Motherhood (apart from staying at home) is something that I have learned to love, but for me, it wasn’t an automatic natural desire or passion.

There is still a lot of personal growth going on in my own life and walk with Christ, so I will be interested to see how I answer this question in a year or two.  

I really don’t love being a stay at home mom at all, but I do absolutely love being a mom.  It's just that being a SAHM is not something I want to do forever.  I know that it is completely necessary and the only option for me at this point in time having a baby due in January and moving to Virginia.  I think being a SAHM is God’s way of showing me how much personal growth I have to go, and how much I have been coasting through life without depending on him.  Teaching microbiology and chemistry is easy, work is easy, school was easy, but motherhood, it is not easy (for me).  I chose to stay-at-home because my doctor pointed out that getting a teaching position only to leave for 8 weeks (with no FMLA) in January would be pointless; moreover, childcare can be over $1000/month in Virginia, and after paying that, there would be little to no income left.  Not to mention, put 2 kiddos in daycare, and the take-home pay is ZERO for a high school teacher, even with a Masters degree.  For me and my family, I think the benefit of me being with Ezra (and soon Piper) will be beneficial not only to my own personal growth, but for my kids.  I think they will be able (or at least it is my hope) to see the way I react to certain situations, interact with people, use my words, and go throughout the day and that it would inspire and influence who they will become as young adults in the future.   


As for whether or not being a SAHM aligns with what Christ desires for us, I definitely need to do more study on this.  However, I think God calls certain people to certain passions.  I don’t think every mom should be a SAHM, because I certainly hope I don’t have to be forever.  I love working outside the home.  It’s biblical to work, no matter what profession that is (even being a SAHM) Genesis 2:15.  However, Lydia the seller of fine purple goods in the early church (Acts 16:11-15) clearly worked outside the home and made a good living.  The woman in Proverbs 31 clearly stayed in the home, but it also seems that she worked outside the home at times.  What I think is most biblical is to raise a children who are grounded in the word and use every opportunity you can to point them to Jesus and his promises (Proverbs 22:6).  That command is the same whether you are in or out of the home.  

Because I have had multiple conversations with Mark about this, I will say that he has reiterated time and time again that our home should be able to thrive and function financially with him making money while I stay with the children.  That is how it was culturally mandated in the early centuries.  Now I know culture has changed, but the principle hasn't.  I told Mark that I really wanted to go back to work because I miss the ease of work, the interaction with people, and just overall feeling like I’m doing something important (I know being a SAHM is important, but it’s just different in a way that’s hard to explain).  He told me that I could if I wanted to, but financially we will make it without me working-that we would never purchase a house with the expectation that I would work to pay the bill or schedule things in hopes that I would get a job to make a little more money.  He is so trusting in God, and it’s encouraging to me.  He really trusts God to provide for our needs, and it really is quite incredible some of the ways God has provided.  Mark just says we don’t pray and expect God to provide, but when we do, we get the opportunity to see Christ at work.  For example, we had a nail in our tire and we were just gonna get it patched, but the technician said we needed a whole new tire.  It was going to be roughly $200.  We don’t have that kind of pocket change just to fix a tire, so Mark told him to temporarily put the spare on it.  A man overhead the conversation and said that he would like to purchase the tire for Mark.  Earlier that morning, Mark had prayed that God would provide for the tire, not yet knowing the extent of the tire damage.  So incredible.  It’s moments like this I am grateful we are all the more dependent on God’s faithfulness.  We get to see it happen before our eyes, whereas if I was working, maybe an extra $200 for a tire wouldn't have been a big deal.  

I in no way think being a SAHM is somehow better or more noble or a more “Christian” thing to do.  In fact, I greatly envy working moms, because I used to be one.  I know how sweet it is to come home from a long day at work to see that smiling face get excited to see you again.  It is truly a sweet and special moment.  But I also know that there are working moms who yearn to stay with their kids day in and day out, but that is just not me at this point

I know God desires me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).  I know he has called me to submit to my husband (Ephesians 5:22-33, Colossians 3:18).  I know he has called me to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8).  Whether or not I (or any other wife/mother) has to do that strictly within the confines of being a SAHM, I would say absolutely not.  God has given us unique personalities, gifts, and passions to rightly use to share Christ’s message of redemption with others (Romans 12, Ephesians 4:11-16, 1 Corinthians 12).  We can all reach a multitude of people within our own spheres of influence, it just so happens that my sphere of influence at this moment is Ezra.  

It’s a season I am called to for now.  Maybe I won’t be in this season this time next year, maybe I will be.  Wherever I am, I pray that I can do it all with joy, patience, love, and gentleness to whomever my sphere of influence is at that time.  



I really appreciate you staying with me through this post.  There are some things I didn't mention, because well frankly, it's hard to talk about how bitter and jealous I can get, or how depressed and lonely it is at times.  That is another blog post for another day. 




  • What are your experiences with working or being a stay-at-home mom?
  • How have you seen God use you in your workplace or at home to influence others?
  • What are some positive things that have come from being at work or at home?
  • What are some negative things that have resulted from being being at work or at home?
  • Do you see your current situation as a season, or a lifestyle?







Family photos taken by Jenny with Aeternus Photography in a quick mini-session


I Suck at Being Intentional, but Got Spontaneity

10.27.2016 |


I don't really have words for all the emotions that have been making their selves at home in me over the last few months.  We moved across the country away from everything that was familiar and homey; I am pregnant with my second child; and now stay at home to take care of Ezra each day.  There are a lot of transitions and new life changes that have happened for us all at once.  And that's scary.

Just trying to recite Psalm 29, for whatever we walk through, glory is his.

I think one of the things that I find myself talking a lot about doing, but rarely finding time to do it is simply 'resting in Jesus.'  To be still before Jesus.  He is truly the only thing constant in my life.  I am trying to find and make new friends, figure out a daily routine with a near 1-year-old, learn the driving routes of a new town, and somehow be at peace with another tiny human growing more each day within me.  My attitude has not always been a peaceful one, but more of a simmering bitterness, cause this stuff is hard and it's not in my easy comfort zone.


As a stay-at-home mom, I feel so guilty answering the questions, "How was your day?" or "What did you do today?" Because when I answer that question, the answer is 'I honestly have no idea what I have done all day.'  I had so much free time, yet at the same time, every minute from 8AM to 6PM escaped me.  I changed about 10 diapers, I did our laundry, I cleaned our house, I got Ezra to eat some green beans, I was able to walk through Target without Ezra screaming, and yet, I still feel like I did nothing at all because what do I have to show for it?  Life is just different now.

I have been struggling with the idea of resting in Jesus and even saying "it is well with my soul."  I know it is good, and I know God's plan for my life is better than anything I could wing on my own.   I know this, and constantly remind myself, and even others.  I know that the Lord provides for his children because I have seen it play out time and time again.  I know Jesus sees every tear that falls and he comforts us in those moments.  I know Jesus hates to see me struggle through these tough trials that he allows to come my way, but his ways are so much higher than my ways (Is 55:8-9).  He knows that they are for my good, to draw me ever nearer to him and to change my heart to be more like his.  It is all for my good, and for his ultimate glory (Rm 8:26-30).

My friend Bre spoke this morning about spending two different types of time with Jesus: intentional and spontaneous.  Truthfully, I am really good at spending the spontaneous, unplanned time with Jesus - where I just pick up in prayer with Christ, bust out in a worship song in the kitchen or while I drive, talk to Ezra randomly about a verse, or ask Mark about what something in the Bible means.  But where I find myself increasingly lazy and consistently making excuses for not doing it, is spending that intentional time - regardless if it is 5 minutes or 50 minutes.  I make excuses or find something else to do instead of sitting down before Jesus to really hear what he has to say to me.  Yes, I repeat and walk in those promises he has given me each day, but I need more.  I am limiting my personal walk with Christ, as well as my family's growth, when I don't intentionally sit down with the One who created me to then in turn glorify him.

A strange position in which I have placed myself.  And even now, as I write this, I know that Jesus works even through this dry season, for I have been bought with the price of His life. And perhaps even this dry season will result in all the more glory. 2 Thess 1:11-12 (Note: don't go looking for a dry season so you can glorify God, you can do that right now, where you are in the spiritual season you are in.)

There are two songs that have really spoken truths to me (the ones I bust out spontaneously in my kitchen and car).  I call them my anthems of the season.  I can usually hear a song and remember what season I was in and why it means so much to me.  I am sure you have songs like that.


Here are two songs that I encourage you to listen them, just put on in the background once you leave this page and continue your interweb dealings. Or sing along, lyrics provided. (Questions below)



 
  • Do you ever get in seasons where intentionality or sponanteity come more natural to you? 
  • How do you break out of seasons of dryness?
  • What does "being still" and "resting in Jesus" look like in your life?
I'd love to hear from you, you know, just so I know I'm not a psychotic weirdo who is the first person to ever struggle with this kind of stuff. 
Until next time, 

Trump, Hillary, and Jesus

10.09.2016 |


(Let me first say: you can disagree with me that is completely fine.  You can vote for Trump. You can vote for Hillary. I don't think any less of you as a person, but this is what I feel needs to be said as a Christ-follower who refuses to justify political words.)

Not to anyone's surprise, it is election year. And with it being election year, the drama surrounding this year's political scene is unprecedented.  Without a doubt, it will be one of the most infamous years in America's political history.  There are so many emotions buzzing about this topic, it really is hard to iron out the details at times.  It is not to anyone's surprise that I say both candidates are magnificently flawed, unless you have been either hiding under a rock for the past year or are in complete denial.  From severely mishandling classified government documents, half-truths, and killing babies to publicly demoralizing entire groups of people and threatening religious liberties of Muslims (and by default Christians), each candidate has massive blunders.

One of the most frustrating things to see during this election year, specifically, is the "evangelical" population more concerned with preserving their said political party or their chosen candidate rather than to stand on the truths of the cross of Jesus Christ.  It has happened on both sides of the scale.

After Trump's comments came out about sexually assaulting married women against their will while he himself was 60 years old and married, I wrote a little blurb on my Facebook.  After some feedback, I decided to put it on my blog.  I want you to know that I in no way support either candidate in this years election, and would like to remind you, reader, that as an American, no political party therefore owns my vote.  As November approaches, I am more and more at a loss as to what to do.  As a Christ-follower focused on preserving my witness and walking in a manner worthy of the life Christ has called me to, I personally can not back either presidential candidate.  I know I am not voting for a pastor or spiritual leader to be in the Oval Office, but I also believe character and integrity are fundamentals the government shouldn't throw out.

I also know that not everyone will agree with me, believer and unbeliever alike.  And that's okay.  I'll answer to Christ one day, and I'm content giving account for these words.

Below is what was originally posted, verses with their reference now included.

"the greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." –brennan manning 
Colossians 1:10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God  
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  
what an unbelieving world finds so hard to believe about people who profess to be christians during this election year is their willingness to wholeheartedly compromise the teachings of jesus who spoke truth in grace with the sole purpose of redeeming people. what the unbelieving world finds so hypocritical is saying one heinous act is worse than another, when grace abounds for the one who repents. why an unbelieving world wants absolutely nothing to do with people who profess to be christ-followers is because not even their moral compasses know how to point due north anymore. people have lost all respect for each other, even those in the church, and have clung to one or the other candidate so strongly they no longer can see without clouded judgement, moral sense, and even more important the lenses of christ. loyalty to a party or a person over the supreme authority of christ (as a christian) in itself is creating a god before the one true God. in other words-idolatry. if you try hard enough, you can justify any terrible thing either candidate has done or rather said to make it fit your own ideal political agenda, but why not call it what it is (sin). because that's what jesus did. he didn't justify sin, he didn't support sin. he called it out, gave us an opportunity to repent (which is different than saying a remorseful i'm sorry, afterall judas said he was sorry). we are all no better than hillary. we are no better than trump. we're horribly messed up people and have fallen short of a mighty, perfect, and holy God. praise God there IS a way to be reconciled back to him through christ. saying you believe something means nothing if you're unwilling to follow its act. if you say you have surrendered your life to christ as a christian, then walk in a manner worthy of your calling. after all, the unbelieving world is looking at christians more than ever to see if they truly live out what they say they believe.

Below are some tweets from some people I respect to the utmost degree in my Christian walk:










I want you, reader, to know that I am flawed.  I don't have all the answers.  I don't have my life and family's lives in order and planned to the wire.  I don't.  But what I do know, is that Christ has called me out of darkness, into his marvelous light.  He has transformed my life and because of his death and resurrection, my life will never be the same.  As a Christ-follower, it pains me deeply to see those who profess to be Christ-followers to romanticize their candidate (both Hillary and Trump), make excuses for their candidate, speak hateful things to people with differing opinions and then gloss it over as something "God told me to do it."  I won't be ashamed of speaking truth, in love.  For that is what I am called to do.

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