I was expecting to step into a fierce war and yet there He was, on a beautiful lush field simply waiting for me. He is seated with a lean to His side, a quiet afternoon for the two of us. I was there alone with Him. In the rest of His embrace.
He gave me this place of rest. He paid the price for me to live here. He is without a care in the world. No worries, no fears and no trepidation. He begins to paint a vivid picture in my mind. His brush strokes are gentle but bold and joyful. Nothing harsh, nothing agitated, a strength and confidence in every move He makes. And though my enemies contemplate a strike, the shield of love is all around. In this sacred, secret place, He covers and holds me. He covers the story He is lovingly writing. The narration of a life at rest. True love and true friendship, lastly victory, promises fulfilled.
Here I am Lord at your feet, the feet that walked this earth for me. The feet that steps into the impossible. The feet that brings good news of peace.
Here I am Lord. Here I am at your feet. A simple, quiet and spacious place carved out just for us. Read that new story over me, open my eyes to those new pictures, let this world I have in you, spread with radiance and grace.
Prince of peace and Lord of lords, I will abide in You forever more.
“ Rest my dear….Rest! We will paint new pictures and tell new stories. We will create a world without fear. Look Up! The war is over.”
Imagine that you have been invited into the library of a very important person. One who is renowned for her collection of great books, covering many genres and spanning a gathering of treasures from across the globe. You have been invited to see her collection, a rare privilege not easily granted. You marvel at the covers and titles, and the warmth whiff of well- loved books bring a smile to your face. You are standing in a sacred space. A world of wonder, ideas and possibilities tucked within the pages of every single book in front of you. Then, something unexpected begins to slowly unravel.
The Lady of the Library steps graciously forward and motions you to come closer. She invites you to pick any book in her library as a gift to take home. You are surprised, delighted and overwhelmed at the same time.
One book… One book alone… What will it be?
Will it be the how to book about cooking? Adventures of a young boy? All you need to know about South Africa? A travelers guide to America? The science of bees? The encyclopedia of history?
Aha! You remember that you have just received a visa to travel, so surely a guide book is what is needed? Information. Yes! Good reliable information to make you a well-informed and independent traveler.
You go back to the expansive bookshelf in search for all the information travel books that caught your eye a minute back. Sadly, to your frustration they are no longer there. You cannot find them. It is as though they have simply faded into the background and try as you may, you cannot take a hold of them.
In the midst of your frustration, the gracious Lady of the Library steps in next to you and draws your attention to all the adventure books that you had been overlooking. “Adventures of …..”this one” and adventures of “that one”.
Novels and Stories that have no index page or reference at the end. Pages with words that will demand your heart and pursue your imagination. Pages that will draw you into mystery, wonder and many unexpected bends. Pages that will captivate your heart and ignite hope and meaning. Pages you will be shaped by and never leave you the same. Pages you cannot control, predict or manipulate. Pages whose words are meant to live with you forever.
With this new found boldness and clarity, you reach out to a book right in front of you. You let go of all the other options available to you and you embrace the simple invitation to pick a story, something you can live in for a while. Something that will frame your thoughts and remind your heart that to live and simply be.
Wonder, discovery, hope, freedom and wisdom are stories for this season.
You realize that you do not need the guide book after all. This adventure already has a tour guide, trusted and with more experienced than you. The One who loves to lead and knows all there is to know about everything. The One who holds every word together in their proper place and has the breath to make things come alive. Your place is to choose wisely, read with clear lenses, and yield to restful places. Your invitation from the Lady of the Library is come and discover the beauty of living words, carved out by the Author, just for you.
Let me tell you the truth about my life. Let’s just set the record straight! There is not an inch of my life that is held together by the strength of my hands or the brilliance of my own genius. Seriously. You will find amazingly capable , smart and “got-my-act-together” kind if people. This girl right here, is not one of those people. The truth is, every morning when I wake up, I find to my utter shock and surprise, that this person who calls Himself the Way, the Truth and Life, is right there, already waiting for my eyes open. He pulls me out of slumber into the unmistakeable light of His presence. I know. It boggles my mind all the time too.
I am a regular girl just like you. I have dreams bigger than my shoes. I love my home. But I hate dishes and ironing. I love pretty earrings and I smile when my daughter picks out nail polish colors for me. I am nowhere near perfect and now that I have hit my forties, that’s actually becoming Ok with me. I don’t come from a wealthy home, and for a very long time , I believed that I never got the stuff that successful- life-making is made of.
High school was the turning point for me…I remember clearly sitting under a tree at a christian camp, clarity filling my heart, and responding to the tiny light of faith to follow Jesus. But for a longtime, I felt like I was doing all the chasing. I was always so afraid. I believed with all my heart that Jesus was the missing link that I had always searched and longed for, but I was not always convinced that He liked me enough to stay. To stay and be close in that “I-think-the-world-of-you” kind of way. I thought that maybe one day He would also . . . LEAVE?
Aah…. BUT this morning, as I scan the entire span of my life, howbeit a bit fuzzy here and there, I can see so clearly how Jesus, has moved from the curious hero of my bible stories to my best and closest friend. He really meant it when He said He will never leave us, or forget or forsake us. I know there have been times in my life when this simple truth has been quite murky, but He has really taken the time to remove all the lies and fill all those empty dying spaces. I am utterly amazed that He is still here! That I belong to him! And that an ordinary girl like me, has kick-ass wings to fly!
I am a girl held together by so much life and grace and beauty and none of it is held together by me. I can close my eyes in the midst of the challenging and passing seasons; the mundane and the awe- inspiring; the hopes and dreams awaiting; and all the unknowns spaces in-between. I can B R E A T H E……in that real deep kind of way. I am grateful. I am blessed. Jesus is my life and I have found my place in Him. This is the truth about me!
I have a love/hate relationship with being a stay-at-home mom and I am not ashamed to say it! Don’t get me wrong! I love love love….love my family and a fully own my decision to invest the biggest chunk of my time as a woman, into creating a beautiful, restful and life-giving space called HOME. But let’s be honest, far too often, MOST of my days at home are very far from beautiful and restful. They are more like draining, noisy and imperfect.
Being a stay-at-home mom has brought up more insecurities than any other aspect of my life. On top of all this, I am one of those “crazy” ones who willingly add homeschooling to their already loaded stack of juggling hats. Really?
Why is this stay-at-home gig such an AMAZING and ANNOYING reality all at the same time? Why do I feel on one hand, so blessed to be raising the leaders of tomorrow, but on the other feel stuck and stretched behind the four walls of laundry, meals, conflict mediation, debriefing the hurt child, folding more laundry, homeschooling, and the endless interruptions and questions, and DEMANDS from EVERYBODY…….?! Aaaah that feels better, just had to get that off my chest!
Here are my current 5 reasons, why being a stay-at-home moms sucks big time!
The stay-at-home mom receives zero compensation or raises for all her hard work. I seriously think that if I was paid a hefty income for my labour of love at home, I would feel so much better. That immediate acknowledge that I am doing something important is so missing in this equation. I need to talk to my husband about this.
The stay-at-home mom is always disturbed when she trying to have alone time or write a blog (LIKE WHAT HAPPENED JUST NOW!). You have to jump through so many hoops to have a me-space. Someone should start a “Mommy Me-Space” service that acts as your own personal assistant. It sends fancy formal notifications to your entire family letting them know the blocks of time you ARE NOT AVAILABLE.
Most woman-of-the-year awards are not given to stay-at-home moms because we don’t exactly fit the mold of the successful woman, who can have it all. The career, the husband, the kids, the Marie Kondo home and still sexy as ever with her gym-chiseled body and kick-ass go-getter personality. I mean there is no masters degree to be acquired before taking up our position as “domestic practitioner” and no platform really celebrates the efforts from our sometimes very hidden lives. Can we start getting awards at the end of a long difficult year please?
African stay-at-home mom especially amongst educated middle-class African communities are viewed as either lazy or very rich…but mostly lazy. Too lazy to work or too spoiled to work. I have heard it all. Most African families place a high value for their girls getting an education. And the best marriage partner that everyone is looking for is the professional with a high earning potential. The two become a team to be reckoned with so that their kids can have a better life and attend fab schools paid for by two working parents. Most of the time my decision to stay-at-home is not celebrated as a display of intelligent thinking, but a mere curiosity at best. The last time I met a fellow Ghanaian who homeschools as well, we became instant friends because we could relate to the lonely path that being a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom can feel like.
Stay-at-home moms stare so long into the eyes of their children everyday and are with them all the time that honestly the comfort of our constant and familiar presence with our kids can easily breed contempt. You know the disregard for your sense of being and existence and the disrespect that can easily creep in. Eish! The constant setting of boundaries and gentle dismantling of the idea that our lives revolves around our kids . I totally hate this feeling and it is my prayer that although I fully embrace and celebrate my decision to be a stay-at-home mom, I hope that my daughter especially will not look down on me for it.
Did you see the picture I pinned at the beginning of this blog post? If you didn’t, go back and take a look at the serenity that I am exuding in that picture and the stillness that seems to wrap itself around me. That picture is a wonderful example of the calm before the storm for the stay-at-home mom. Because right after that wonderful photoshoot of our “perfect family” I was right back into the unglamorous life of feeding, and cleaning for the arrival of quests to our home and mediating yet another squabble between the kids about who gets to do what.
Right now, it’s late. I have been writing this blog for a while and I know that although my kids are now fast asleep, my husband is waiting upstairs for me …..:)
We decided to change the scenery of our typical homeschool Friday and headed to the spacious light filled space of our public library.
We booked ourselves a private conference room and the idea was that we would cover our language arts curriculum and spend some time reading aloud together-style before going out to a play date with some friends. I really should have know better than to expect that this tidy little plan would hold amidst the lure of the beautiful books that welcomed us at the Children’s floor of the library. The books called to my kids much like the Pied Piper and they immediately stepped in line and raced to find their reading treasures. Before long they had found their stash of great books and were delving right into them, with joy and focus. I love to see their love for books and for reading. I watched them read contently for a while and was tempted to interrupt them in order to execute original idea for coming, but I refrained from diverting their attention from something I knew they were loving.
I decided to let go and allow the time and space to be what it is: A valuable and rich time for them to read and relish the books they had chosen for themselves. There was life in the moment. I saw it and chose to yield to it. There was light in their eyes and I stepped into the moment with them, instead of casting a shadow with my amazing plan.
Lately, I have been reflecting on my role as a restful home-maker and homeschooling mom. I do not deny the importance of creating clear structure and daily rhythms for our homeschool days. However, structures, routines and plans do not produce restful living. I believe that staying in a moment, being present in it and allowing it to be what it flows into can do far more than a well laid out plan can. Letting a moment simply be, invites “be still and know and know that I am God”, Psalm 46:10. For a person like me who loves to make things better and loves to “fix things”, this is easier said than done. Today’s letting go moment, is another celebration for someone like me. I am learning to trust and yield….learning!
Your children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be their peace. Isaiah 54:13
I have held this verse in Isaiah really close to my heart since the very beginning of our homeschooling journey . And I honestly cannot tell you just how much of a relief it has been for me lately, to know that this education thing is not all up to me…phew!
Moms, we are not the authors and perfectors of our children’s lives. We have the privilege of stewarding an atmosphere within our daily lives at home that affirms our children as unique individuals with great value and worth. They are neither our badges of success, nor are they symptoms of our failures. They belong to their Creator and we partner with Him to make room for life, love and truth to flow freely from His heart to theirs.
I cherish our homeschool days, and choose to see the gifts hidden within our moments, even when plans change and ideas never go as planned. Each day that we spend together is time well spent. Each moment carries its own wings, which can be unclipped and allowed to fly.