Note: This is a previously unpublished blog post from last June. It is not a post that reflects my current life situation, but it was where I was in my heart and mind then. Interestingly enough, I wrote this because I genuinely wanted to be able to stay at home with Jude, and it just wasn't possible. Within three days of writing this, Jake lost his job at the church in Delaware and we started planning a move to Fort Worth, where I currently stay home with Jude most days of the week. God knows our hearts. He cares about our pain. And sometimes His solution doesn't always look like we think it will. But He is always working behind the scenes on our behalf... I know He was when I wrote this.
My son was sick this morning, and so Jake and I spent the morning having the "who needs to work more?" debate, and I won. Or lost, depending on how you look at it. So I left my baby in the capable hands of his father, and they went to the doctor to discover that my little guy has a double ear infection. His first. And I wasn't there to hear what the doctor said or to hold him as he was examined. Instead I drove off to work to take care of other people's children while they work. And so the cycle goes. If we are all working, someone has to be watching all of these kids.
Motherhood wasn't supposed to look like this. I did not dream of spending my mornings in a whirlwind of diaper changes, shower turn taking, diaper bag packing, pumping so the baby has bottles, and rushing, rushing, rushing to make sure we are out the door on time. We are rarely out the door on time. This was not my plan. I imagined leisurely mornings of nursing and rocking and reading books. I dreamed of playmats and peek-a-boo. Of library story time. Of babywearing mommy groups... they have these, you know. I dreamed of play dates. I knew that being a stay-at-home mom would be hard. We might be a little poor. I would clip coupons and make my own baby food. I chose cloth diapering because it would be cheaper in the long run (and it totally is). And for the first four months, I had this life. I was exhausted and spent so much of the time in a sleep-deprived stupor. But it was good. The baby was held and rocked and fed and we managed to pull off simple, stress-free days, mostly.
Then we moved. The cost of living is higher here in Delaware. The job offer we got included jobs for both me and Jake. And it meant daycare for Jude. So I cried. Because of all of the things I knew I wanted for my son, being at home with me was one of the top priorities. A thousand worries flooded my mind, some realistic, some not. Sickness. Freak accidents. Germs. Abuse. All of the things I felt like I could protect him from while he is in my presence. And can I be really, really honest for a minute? I felt angry. Angry that churches preach that women should be keepers at home but do not pay their staff members enough to allow their wives to do just that. The conflict within me was real. Is real. Because I spend my days raising other people's children while down the hall, someone else is raising mine. And every day that I pick him up and he hasn't slept well or he is running a fever or has wet through his clothes... again, I feel like I am the one that has failed him. I have this one job, to be his mom, and I am not doing it well. I feel like I get so few hours to do it.
I have learned that expectation is a thief. It robs me of contentment and joy. When I expect one thing and I get another, I feel cheated. I feel resentful. I feel like I have been given a raw deal. And I end my days feeling frustrated, and when the frustration gets too much, I turn it off and exchange it for numbness. And this, this situation I am in, is not what I expected.
I can't change my circumstances. I have looked at it from a thousand different ways, desperate to change things. I want to stay home with my son. I have cried and prayed for the chance. I really have. And I know that if God were to release me from this thing I am doing to stay home, He would provide. I know He would. He always does. But I don't feel it. Not right now. So the only thing I can change is me. My attitude, my heart, my expectations. And really, I can't even do that. But God can. And He does. I just have to let Him.
I long to feel a release. To hear God say "Yep, you're done"... in my heart God talks like that. But instead the thing I feel is the gentle presence of God as it shows up in our morning worship, and it says "My grace is sufficient". And when I dance and sing with three year olds "Our God is a great big God" or teach about the simplest of Bible stories, I am reminded that He is capable. He is mindful. He is in the process of changing my heart and my dream. Instead of longing for time at home, I want to long for obedience. Instead of wishing that I was at home rocking my son, I want to pour hope and truth into the little hearts of the kids that enter my classroom each day. We will rock when we get home. And we do. And God will fill in the gaps. He will heal the sicknesses and make the time I have with my son profitable. And He will keep giving me chances to be Jesus to a room full of three-year-olds.
May this be my new dream.