It happened on a backroad in the middle of nowhere in upstate South Carolina. My husband and I were on our way to a state park for a much-needed weekend away. We had decided on camping. It’s been an overwhelming season of life for both of us and a few hours in the car had led to an in-depth discussion on our frustrations and disappointments in various areas.
It was nearing my 34th birthday. I’ve found each birthday gets a little bit more depressing, not because I dislike the thought of getting older, I’m grateful for that. I should have died when I was 27 so I’m keenly aware of the gift that is another year. What is depressing is that it’s another year of doing the same thing.
I became a mom when I was 22 years old. I was pregnant with my oldest son when I graduated college. I had graduated with honors with a degree in Public Relations and I had so many dreams and opportunities. But more than anything, I wanted to be mom to this little boy. Financially it was possible for me to stay home with him, so I decided that was what I wanted to do. My dreams could wait a few years. No big deal.
Then came baby number two, then three, then four. Then divorce. It was just me and those babies for a while, then came my husband and with him, number five. I have home-schooled our children their whole lives. I spend every day, all day with them. My days are never boring. Five children and two dogs definitely keep me on my toes. But the truth is, I do the same things over and over and over. Another load of laundry, another dance class, another appointment, another book to read, another math problem, another load of dishes, another toilet to scrub…and everything I do gets undone in about 30 seconds, so that I can do it again. Rinse. Repeat. For 12 years…over 4000 days of doing the same things.
To make it worse, I don’t really have a life outside the kids. My husband, bless his heart, is forever trying to get me to go out and do something but when I do I always end up feeling guilty because of all the things I “should” be doing at home. I can’t even enjoy myself. And finally, as if there needed to be an insult to injury…many people don’t even seem to think my job is a job at all. You don’t get any respect for being “just a mom.” And slowly I realized that my identity has faded away until all that’s left of me is “so-and-so’s mom.”
It’s one of those many things in life you can’t understand unless you’ve lived it.
My husband has often said that while I can try my hardest to understand what it’s like to be a police officer, I’ll never really know because I’m not one…and while he can try his hardest to understand what it’s like to be home with the kids for 12 years, he’ll never really know because he’s never done it.
We struggle to understand each other sometimes. We get jealous. He wishes he had more time at home with the kids. I wish I could talk to adults on occasion and go a whole day without someone asking me questions through the bathroom door.
We’ve had very different paths in life. He’s been to more countries than he has states, has worked with very powerful people, has done amazing things. I crossed the border into Canada once to see the other side of the falls…more than 20 years ago.
Please don’t take this as a pity party. I chose this life. And I would again. I love my children with everything in me. I wholeheartedly believe that my greatest contribution to this world will never be what I did, but who I raised. But I still have goals and dreams buried deep inside. I still have my own personality; my own identity and she’s been suffocated for more than a decade.
As I poured out my heart to my husband on that back road he asked me what made me feel alive; what I really loved to do. That was easy…I love to write. If I could write every day, I’d be happy.
It sounded so simple and obvious when he said it. But things are never that simple. I immediately came up with dozens of excuses why I couldn’t do it. This stage in life is absolutely overwhelming. I’m teaching five kids in five different grades. We have 3 boys in Royal Rangers, 2 girls in Miss Sisterhood, we have church and life group, boys in baseball, girls in dance, one is on the competition dance team- I’m drowning as it is! I can’t write now!
He said, “If it’s a priority, we’ll make it work. And I think it should be.”
So, I started out trying to put together this blog. Everything I tried to do took 10x longer than it should have. I was beyond frustrated. It seemed like everything was working against me. Then, after hours and hours of work, I finally had it ready to launch. And it was hacked and I lost everything. And I told him I wasn’t doing it all over again. That was just a sign that I was just supposed to be focusing on the kids for the next 12 years like I have for the past 12.
It just wasn’t possible. I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. What are the odds that an already overwhelmed and exhausted homeschooling mom of five would be able to find the time to keep up with a blog, or even that anyone would want to read it if I could?
I wrestled with it awhile. It took me a few days before I started slowly rebuilding the blog. Even then, I didn’t see how I’d ever actually get it going. It’s just not logical at this season in my life.
I’m reading a book by Mark Batterson called Chase the Lion. You can find it HERE. If you haven’t read anything by Mark Batterson I highly recommend you do. This is the fourth book of his that I’ve read in the past month. I’ve highlighted so many lines from those books that I could write my own on them, but two passages from Chase the Lion stood out to me this week as I went back and forth over whether I could do this.
First, he said “Repent of unbelief in the possibility of your dream!” Ouch. I never thought of my excuses as unbelief, but really, let’s call it what it is. Unbelief that I, a seemingly irrelevant stay at home mom, could really be seen as having anything of value to offer. Besides, how can I do what is my highest calling of being a wife and mom and still find the time to do this? Nothing seems to come easily. It’s like life is working against me.
Which brought me to the second passage, “’May the odds be ever against you.’ Impossible odds set the stage for God’s greatest miracles! And apparently God loves long shots…We tend to avoid situations where the odds are against us, but when we do, we rob God of the opportunity to do something supernatural.”
I don’t know what God will do with this blog. Maybe someday someone will read something on it and it will be what they needed to hear right then. Maybe I just need to write as a way to rediscover myself. Regardless, as illogical as it seems in this current season, I’m supposed to write. So write, I will.
It’s so easy to put things off until later. We constantly tell ourselves, “when I graduate” or “when I get married” or “when the kids are grown,” THEN we’ll do what we’re called to do. But every season brings its own obstacles, its own excuses for why you should put it off until the next one.
We have to make the most of the season that we’re in. Life isn’t going magically become stress free once we get around whatever bend we’re striving for right now. If there’s something you know you need to be doing, you might as well start today. There’s no time like the present.
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