My beautiful truth #4 of 2019 actually started a couple of years prior, so I thought I’d write a post to segue into it, rather than try to cram it all into one epically long post.
It began after the Great Meltdown of ’16, a time of intense grief, wrestling with God, and a significant shift in my general perspective. I came out of that season with a spiritual limp, but with peace in my spirit and a humility that enabled me to actually listen to my Father.
He graciously reminded me that, while I had been focused on a great many other things, I still had two incredible young women in my home who needed my attention. As my kiddos grew older, I assumed they needed me less, that they could manage their homeschooling largely unassisted and that they were going to coast along into adulthood ready to take on life responsibly, with their faith flourishing.
I was mistaken.
With my eyes so fixed elsewhere, I failed to see that my daughters were struggling. They weren’t falling apart…yet. But I had thrown them into the deep end assuming they could swim, and while they weren’t actually drowning, I can see in hindsight that they were just bobbing along, treading water with no idea of how to actually move forward.
Meanwhile, I had leaped headlong into projects that consumed vast amounts of time, energy, and patience, leaving little left over for my girls. In my zeal to finally pursue my own interests and desires, I forgot one important detail.
I’m not done yet.
Now before we all start taking sides in the mommy wars, let’s get one thing clear. You can’t work outside the home and still give 100% to your kids. But then, you can’t stay at home and give 100% to your kids either. This idea that we can give 100% to anything is kinda silly when you think about it and it produces a lot of unnecessary guilt.
Hear me, mamas. No human being can give 100% to any one thing. We don’t live our lives in a bubble. We have multiple responsibilities and will be dividing our limited energy and focus to them all. The trick is to know how much to give to each individual thing, what to let go of, what to put on hold, what to add and what to give the bulk of our focus to at any given time. Sound difficult? You betcha! That’s why we need Jesus so desperately to help us navigate this momming gig.
Having said that, we all want to strike some sort of balance, one that enables us to do whatever it is we’re doing and still rock this motherhood thing, right? I am a huge proponent of mamas having a creative or social outlet. I am all for mamas working or even taking on huge projects that benefit their families. Some women really can work and blog and start businesses. Some can engage in hobbies and passions while still giving appropriate attention and energies to training up their kids and even to homeschooling. We all have different abilities and energy levels, and if yours allows you to do all that and be a great mama, I’ll be the first to cheer you on.
But I think it’s important to also recognize that for a lot of us women, we simply don’t have the energy or focus to do more than one thing at a time and that’s okay too. We won’t shrivel up and become shells of the women we used to be if we spend long seasons just pouring into our families, if that’s what God is calling us to do. Nor will our families fall apart if God is calling us to start up a ministry or business that eats up much of our resources. How about we stop looking at others and let Jesus tell us what we’re to be about, yes?
In the absence of an audible voice or a fiery finger on the wall, how are we to know when our balancing act is out of whack? A pretty good rule of thumb, I’ve found, is this: if relationships are suffering, if attitudes are deteriorating, if your homeschool is floundering, then that’s the time to reevaluate. Again, remember that giving 100% is not a realistic goal, nor is a perfectly balanced existence. Seek wisdom from your Father who is gracious to give it when we ask, then make the best course corrections you can.
For me, the Lord was making it clear that I wasn’t done yet on this homeschooling and parenting journey. I knew I needed to put the bulk of my energies back into these two beautiful souls in my care.
I spent the next year fully immersed in my daughters’ schooling and had the absolute best year of homeschooling ever. Then last year’s focus was on helping them own their walk with Christ, teaching them how to study scripture in its context and to apply it to their lives. This year I’m more of a learning coach than a teacher, able to spend some time back at the keyboard doing what I love to do here at Building Standing Stones. The ebb and flow of the last couple of years has felt natural, fruitful, and best of all, guilt free.
So there’s the segue into my beautiful truth #4. I’ll jump into that next time. See you then!
Grace and peace,
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God — who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly — and it will be given to him. -James 1:5, CSB
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