Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Community and Anchor Points- Finding Grace in the Tension of being a Christian Working Mama

Sometimes being a CWM hurts- like gut-deep hurting. Like- I feel it in my soul. Sometimes-I feel like I am running on a treadmill that is going nowhere, while my kids skip by with me and I am grasping for them and I want so desperately for someone to say to me- "Liz, you are okay. It is okay that you work full-time. Your kids are awesome. They know you love them. You teach them about Christ.

You share with them about your job and how God is there in it. You are a good Mom, you are a good Mom, YOU.ARE.A.GOOD.MOM."

I hurt in my heart some days because I feel like I am never enough. Never
enough in my job, never enough at home, never enough at church. I have God-sized dreams that are about to explode in me and I have a schedule that says- YOU.HAVE.NO.TIME. Sometimes I feel trapped in this season and I wonder- just as my friend says to me over coffee last weekend- "Is it really God's design for me to be a working Mom?" And I cannot confidently answer her right away, because that is the little question that haunts me as well.

We look at each other and smile because although we struggle, we are both strong in Christ and we move on in our conversation- knowing that it is okay to have these questions and also okay to not have the answers. We talk about how funny our boys are, how much joy they bring us, how we are trying to make the most of our mornings, evening and weekend Mommy time but sometimes feel like we are drowning. BUT- we keep laughing, encouraging and sharing what is in our hearts. We look into each other's eyes and SEE each other and LOVE each other and ACCEPT each other- JUST.AS.WE.ARE. I leave feeling full and ready to tackle the sink full of dishes, the boys waiting up for me, the lunches to be packed and the work to plan for.

I come home and my little guy says- "Yay! Mommy is home! I am SO HAPPY!" My six year old tackles me with his gangly legs and almost knocks me over and says- "Mommy- can I have some Skittles! Are you gonna read to us? I want to show you what I made while you were gone!" And there it is- that message I need to hear- "You. Are. A. Good. Mother"- right there in those little boys and their welcoming arms.

And that night- my 6 year old wants to hear more of my "client stories" (I work with people with disabilities and he likes to learn about them) and then they both want to learn the Lord's prayer and even though it is almost 10pm and I have let bedtime stretch WAY too late, I am at peace in my world and my role.
And- IN.GOD'S.DESIGN for me at this moment. God answered that question for me in that moment. And when the house was quiet and I was still prepping for the week- I felt peace and joy and it was enough for that moment.

Ladies- we cannot give up on each other. We need each other. In community and in the body of Christ, THIS is where we can find the grace we need to handle this tension of working and mothering.

And- we need to look for what I am going to call Anchor Points. Moments in our days, where we see clearly or CHOOSE to see God's fingerprints, love and reassurance. We need to BANK our emotions and our peace of mind on those moments and FRAME them with thanksgiving and praising God- these are moments to worship and we can build little altars where we die to the lies that we are not enough, IN. THESE. MOMENTS.

And we can look back and we can see the beautiful masterpiece that God is skillfully and mysteriously painting on our lives as CWM's. Being a Mother and Working- these two can cause some tension- but let's stay connected in the Body of Christ and let's Look for and Honor those Anchor Points where God reminds us that He is here and enough and let's Worship God and Glorify God IN THOSE MOMENTS...

I love you ladies! Don't be discouraged!

And just in case you need something to make you smile- check out this little ham:


MBC said...

Thank you. I needed to read this today. Being a CWM leaves me filled with self-doubt - is this God's plan? Am I short-changing my kids? Will my children know how loved they are? Will they know Jesus? I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. Thank you for the encouragement.

Elizabeth Jones said...

You are most definitely NOT the only one feeling this way. Self-doubt is tough but it can also lead us to a more desperate need for Jesus which is an amazing example to our children. You show your children you love them in each and every moment you have with them. Quality is heavier than quantity- not everyday, but most days. They will know Jesus if you know Jesus and live the Gospel in front of them in the good, the bad and the ugly days. Be encouraged sweet friend! You are doing an amazing job!

Tanya said...

I've been on both sides of this issue, and I've had doubts about each one. Many of the ladies at my church stay at home and homeschool their children (God bless them for that kind of patience), and I often felt guilty that I worked because they made it seem like I was shortchanging my children. But I really felt that we had a good balance in our house. I got time to use the brain and abilities God gave me, and my kids and husband seemed happy.
Then I got laid off and had to stay at home. No one was happy for a bit because I was miserable. I did not know how to be a stay at home wife and mother. It took quite some time to adjust but then I realized how happy my kids were that I was able to be there for them for everything and it made me happy. My first grader loved that I had time to make goodie bags for her class during Christmas and Valentine's day.
Eventually I needed to go back to work, and I have had so many doubts over the last year about whether I should be doing it. For me, I realize it is not my place now. There is no longer any balance, my kids' behavior has changed drastically, I constantly feel like a failure, and I get zero satisfaction from my job (the same one I was laid off from before). I realize that I will be leaving our financial comfort zone, but I gave my resignation to my boss and cannot wait to spend my days with my children. I have peace knowing that I am going to be where it is right for my family. I know God will provide what we need, and I will be creative for the things we want.
I still think that women can work full-time and be great mothers, but I also think that sometimes some of us aren't meant to. Us mommies have to just realize what our path is and embrace it, and support others who are doing what's right for their family. God bless you and your family!