Becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom did not come easily to me.
Last year I heard God ask me if I could have anything what would it be. If I could live any way I wanted what would it look like? And in a moment of fasting-induced clarity I replied: to be home with Liam. I was a Jr. High youth pastor which had been a dream inside my heart for years. It was all I really wanted or knew to want. I worked so hard to find myself in that position, and there I was finally doing the very thing I had longed for, and pretty good at it too, I might add, but I wasn’t satisfied. I found myself frustrated by church politics, demanding schedules, a dirty house, and never enough money or time. And somewhere in the clutter there was precious Liam. When he finally got time with me it was the last piece of the pie, all mushy and crumbly. The tired, impatient, distracted piece.
It seems like an easy decision to step down and be home, looking at it that way. In reality it was a terribly hard decision. I had invested every part of myself, my identity, in being a pastor. It was all I knew at that point. Who was I if I wasn’t working? What am I going to do all day long? Where would I find my significance? I’m not much of a cook, I don’t knit, and I go stir crazy being in one place too long. It was a process of releasing what I thought I was entitled to (being a pastor with a title, position, paycheck, ect.) and opening my heart to being Mommy: a thankless job that receives very little recognition and no pay. I felt totally lost there for a few months. I knew that my last day on staff was coming and I was really defensive about my decision, which came from insecurity. I didn’t like being behind the scenes in my house all day. I like being on stage, with lights and a microphone. I like feeling heard and having a place of importance in people’s lives. For good reasons, but also selfish reasons. Even though it was my choice to step down I felt like something had been robbed from me. I was racked with guilt for the kids that depended on me. I was resentful at giving up something I loved and had raised. I was prideful thinking no one could replace me or Dustin as pastors. There was a point where I changed my mind and actually re-considered. God had grace on me and stopped me from making that bad decision.
I never felt adequate when I was home with Liam. I was always tired, impatient, wishing the day would go faster and counting the minutes until Dustin would be home and I could be free. I still feel that way sometimes but not nearly as strong. But here is what I discovered- I was 10x more impatient and anxious at home when I was working part time than I am now that I am home full time, and I think it’s because I wasn’t designed to do both. It was too much for me and I felt it most when I was at home. Work seemed like an escape but actually it was the reason I felt like I even needed to escape, if that makes sense.
Now each day I wake up with no obligations except what I have committed to on my own. I have a new schedule each week where I get out of the house as much as possible. I volunteer in the nursery or for different events that I want to support. I lead a small group of girls, creating an outlet for teaching and discipleship that I like to have, and I keep our house clean, do the laundry and go to the store. Things that use to stress me out but are simple now, making life happier for everyone in our home. I am always thinking- Wow, look at all the time I have! I can schedule all the fun things I want. I don’t *have* to do anything! I choose anything I want to do. It’s awesome!!
Obviously I was not one of those women who dreamed of just being home with babies since she was a little girl. I just never had that. But here I am, living it every day. God moved mountains to make it happen for us. Well, actually, he just moved us. By faith we believed that if this was the new normal God was calling us to He would have to make it happen. So we packed boxes, signed a lease and discovered that God’s priority is Liam. Not me. Not Dustin. Just Liam. And that is totally, 100% OK with us. He is our priority too. God loved Liam enough to change his working-Mother’s heart to be a stay at home mom, to make the sacrifice of something that she loved, to give his Daddy a brand new job that means being able to move closer to the church that he will be raised in, and loved in. All this for Liam. Little 3 ft. Liam. I learned that when I give up the things that I gripped with possession I was given everything I never knew I wanted. I have everything but possess nothing.
Oh and guess what else I discovered on the way: I can be called to things and not have a “job”. I am now a birth doula, a recovery sponsor, a nursery volunteer, an intercessor, a Jr. High leader, a much better cook and I will even be learning how to knit this month!