This past week my husband and I had the pleasure of having dinner at our pastor’s house. Every couple of months, they invite a group of new church members over for food and fellowship — it was fun getting to know others and relax for a couple of child-free hours. At one point, one of the pastors asked what we did for a living, and I responded with, “I’m just a stay-at-home mom!” Without missing a beat, he said, “There’s no ‘just’ about it, that’s a fulltime job!” He was absolutely right.
My life as a stay-at-home mom far surpasses my former life as a high school English teacher. I truly loved my students, but the love I feel for my own children is enough to take my breath away. These last three years as a homemaker are vastly different than the six years I spent in the classroom, but they are infinitely more rewarding. The fact that God allows me to be exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, overwhelms me with gratitude and humbles my heart.
Meeting my husband’s and children’s needs is a never-ending task, but one worth pursuing. I’ve come to see my responsibility to my family through the lens of Christ’s sacrificial love. My attitude is paramount to living out sacrificial love to my family — if my heart is not centered on God, then my patience runs thin and my children suffer. Finding balance in keeping the home, loving my husband, educating Asher, taking care of Keane, preparing meals, and pursuing my own creativity can take a toll…if my focus is in the wrong place.
Aside from anchoring myself in scripture, I have found these books to be essential to my motherhood:
1. Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
2. The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
3. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms
by Gloria Furman
My bookshelves are also stocked with titles on strong-willed children, childhood brain development, and methods for classical education…but I’ve found that it’s much easier to deal with my strong-willed child when my will is bent to his Maker. When I respond with grace and sacrificial love, his tantrums tend to be curbed from melt-downs into teachable moments that involve scripture. Is every discipline encounter full of snuggle-hugs and bible verses? Absolutely not. There are still plenty of off-the-charts melt-downs, but when I’ve taken the time and effort to center myself in God’s word, I am more inclined to respond as Christ responds to me.
There are days when I’m beyond exhausted from sleepless nights, and on those days it’s God’s grace that carries me through. There are days when I scoop my three-year-old up in my arms and ask his forgiveness for my impatience and my poor attitude; hearing his sweet voice say, “I forgive you, Mommy,” humbles me anew. I don’t have it all together. I am not perfect. My failures are enough to fill a vast ocean, yet his mercies are new each morning. His grace is sufficient for me, his power is made perfect in my unending weakness.