Where do I begin? They say in telling a story you begin at the beginning. As an English teacher I know that is not true. Some stories reach a defining moment for the character in the middle of the action and that is where the story begins.
In medias res.
I had put off writing this entry, because for the longest time I couldn’t seem to gather my thoughts. Thoughts stacked up like playing cards–each card face with a picture of my heart, my experiences, my worries, my hopes–and every time I would attempt to pull out a card it disturbed the whole pile. My neat stack undone: cards mismatched, backward, upside down, mixed up, and thrown into a heap on the floor.
Looking down at my mess I would try to step over it to move on to something else, slipping on the cards under my feet.
Lord, can you help me pick this up? Can you gather this beautiful mess?
Over the phone, Mom asks, “Do you still feel called to stay at home?” I had been on leave from teaching for nearly three years to be a stay-at-home momma with my girl. I was confident this is where I am supposed to be. Yet my words spill doubt, spew insecurity, and I can’t pull them back in.
“I do… Although some days I ask myself what I’m doing here.’” My honesty shocks me and I regret saying it almost the instant it leaves my mouth.
I want to avoid the appearance of weakness. My pride is at the stake. My beloved momma has always represented wise counsel. She is the woman who has guided me from childhood into womanhood. I read into it, erroneously thinking that I could disappoint her. Have I have made a mistake leaving my career as a teacher after seven years? I reel in defense.
In my quiet place, I blast my fears to God. Satan had visited Eve in the Garden when she was alone, but God was there, his presence had not abandoned her. The serpent tempted her with lurking desire: God is withholding something from you. Take control. Make your own choice. Eve doubted God’s goodness.
I doubt: did God really say…?
My question of purpose came at a moment when the soil was dry and cracked under my feet. So many sleepless nights and weary toddler days. It came at a time when my questions about tomorrow were left unanswered. The hard days can overwhelm the spirit. Like so many cloudy days piled one on top of the other, the darkness creeps in with isolation.
Worries tumbled about inside my head like so many weeds upon the dusty ground.
What am I really doing here? Where do I find my worth? Where do I place my security? What is my purpose?
Doubt questions. Faith is confident hope.
What the enemy uses for harm the Lord is faithful to use for good.
In the waiting, new life forms.
To wait is to be pregnant with hope.
Waiting produces perseverance, character, and hope.
And true hope does not disappoint (see Romans 8:28; 5:3-5).
For many years I wore the self-sacrificing burden of higher education and service as an educator like a martyr’s crown. But this mom-life? This kid-stuff? No matter how knock-down-trag-out-dog-tired I feel–this life is a gift. Being a stay at home mommy is a luxury in grace. This kind of sacrifice feels more like redemption than martyrdom. Dying to self means rising to life.
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along (Psalm 40:1-2).
For the first time in my life I am filled with joy in exuberance. Motherhood is a whip-lash roller coaster of elation and exhaustion. Even the darkest days of isolation beckon me to call out to the Lord for His strength, and in the midst of the fog, he makes his presence known. In his presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). He has taught me joy and fulfillment in child rearing that I could not have anticipated.
And so I continue in the telling of a redemption story… From death to new life. Waiting in season and waking to a harvest.
He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.