We like to put ourselves in boxes, don’t we?
I’m a stay at home mom. I’m an attachment parenting mom. I’m a breastfeeding mom. I’m a clorox wipes mom. I’m a Disney mom. I’m a hot mess mom.
I thought, for a long time, that I belonged squarely in the stay at home mom box. I wasn’t actually a stay at home mom; I was actually a working mom. But if had ever really gotten to the bottom of my heart, I would have found the dusty lie I had shoved out of sight: the only good moms were the stay at home moms. That was the only box worth living in.
You know what? I got my wish. I became a stay at home mom. I lived in that box, but I began to notice something: working hadn’t hurt my kids. And other moms who were called to work? It wasn’t hurting their kids.
Girl, God started doing a Thing in me. A big, scary, hold-on-to-your-seat, audacious kind of thing. As clear as day, no questions asked, no getting around it: He called me to work. He called me to dream some dreams. He chased me down and had to all but corner and hog tie me, but I finally couldn’t escape that he was calling me to work. He called me to step out of the box I’d prescribed for myself, out of the box I thought was right, to a new territory, where there wasn’t a box and there wasn’t a built in tribe or a ready-made identity for me to judge myself against.
Now, I’m a stay at home mom–who works. I’m both things, all the things, not fully any of the things. I can’t hide behind labels anymore, can’t look at my peers doing what I’m doing (because nobody else is doing exactly what I’m doing; nobody else has exactly my calling), can’t rate my success by comparing myself to them. It’s just me and my maker.
Do you trust me? He asks me.
Follow me, He tells me.
Keep your eyes on me.
Walk next to me.
Wear my yoke.
Let me decide our pace.
Let me tell you who you are.
Let me plot our path.
It’s exhilarating–and terrifying. I’ve had dark nights of the soul. Sunshine-filled mornings. Days where I questioned everything.
But here’s the thing. Here’s the truth that’s brought light and fresh air to all those dark basements in my soul: my children don’t need a mom in a box. They don’t need a stay at home mom. They don’t need a mom who pursues her dreams. They don’t need a mom who breastfeeds or attachment parents or homeschools or doesn’t spank. They need a mom who is filled with the gospel truth of who she was and who He has redeemed her to be. They don’t need a mom who has it together; they need a mom who knows who holds it all together. My children don’t need a good mom; they need a mom who knows a good God.
We fool ourselves if we think that fitting in a box will win us any points, but there’s not a person in the bible who wasn’t called to walk in faith. Why do we think we’ll be different? God doesn’t do boxes; He’s far too creative for that. There are mornings where my box-longing is strong and there’s not enough coffee to make me brave enough to walk out this calling. But I find comfort in the Abrahams and Sarahs of the bible, the Joshuas and the Gideons, the Ruths and the Rahabs, the Marys and the Annas–the men and women who walked in faith, and found their reward at last.
I might never fit in the box again, but at least I’m in good company.