First of all- thank you Tammy for inspiring me to find joy. I have not felt the joy of writing in some time. I have been busy and started feeling bogged down. My beautiful friend Tammy reminded me to be grateful and to find my joy. I thought about my blog and remembered how much I loved to write and then I thought about how much I love MY PEOPLE. So here it is...
I have not posted in awhile. I have been immersed in life, ministry, and ALL THE STUFF. But today I wanted to check in and just give a shout out to my people. I could NEVER.EVER. do this CWM thing without you...
Aaron, Lincoln, Benjamin-you are my rocks and my heart beat. I could write pages upon pages about you but for now just know that you make ALL THE MOMENTS worth it.
For my Mom- My first example of a working Mama. You rocked it Mom. I will never forget the joy I had seeing you drive up at the end of the day. I never ever doubted your love for me whether you worked part-time, full-time or stayed home. I still hang onto that when I struggle with the guilt of working. Your dedication to getting dinner on the table, answering ALL THE QUESTIONS and listening to ALL THE DETAILS of EVERYDAY, when I am certain what you needed most was to soak in the tub and put your feet up- is still inspiring as I am now living this out as a Mama. You dinner-prepped like a beast (I did not inherit that from you unfortunately!). You signed the forms, you made the lunches, you helped with the outfit choices, you cleaned out the backpacks, you did the hair, you drove me to and from ALL THE PLACES. You LOVED in all the moments.
For my Dad- You are more than you know. You take the time to make my life easier as a working Mom. You are the one who notices the needs in my home and fixes things I would never get to. You make the ice. You hang up the picture that is crooked. You hang up the iron so it has a place. I will never forget the surprise gift on my front step- the gorgeous maternity sweater and necklace you left for me because you heard me talking about feeling frumpy. You are always present and available. You also have the ability to make me laugh and we all know that laughter is an essential ingredient in the crazy balancing act of working and parenting.
My brother Rob Steinbach, Daddy of four plus foster babies, pastor of the broken and redeemed from the east all the way to the west coach. You are amazing. You inspire me with your adventurous heart and how you unashamedly preach the Gospel. With you the words- Gospel Freedom- tattoed on your arms, you are a walking testimony. You are my TWIN. Although we don't connect as much as I know we should- our connection will always be a part of who I am and who God is making me to become.
For Laura...I went to a local park a few years ago at the end of a busy workday. I fortunately had time to change, eat some dinner and was ready to play with my boys for a bit before baths and bed. I had been at this local park several times and never run into any young Moms, but today was different. I saw her coming down the street, pushing her youngest in a stroller and her older was following along. She was dressed in business attire, ponytail loosened, likely from a combination of commute, rushing to get the kids and running to the park. I looked at her and I literally exhaled.
She looked like me...I knew her even though I did not.
I watched her curiously. She looked a bit frazzled (which made me feel normal because most days I LIVE in FRAZZLED), she was so beautiful as she pushed one kiddo on the swing and watched the other one slide down the slide. I could tell she was, like me, trying to be all in the moment, both boys wanting her attention. "She probably hasn't eaten yet", I thought. "At least I have time to change and eat before I get moving with the kids", I thought.
She smiled a lot and she hugged her boys and I stepped towards her and introduced myself. I was kind of nervous. She was not. She immediately started talking to me and we clicked. We talked about everything. From work to kid stuff, to marriage to community, and again, I exhaled, I could relate to this Mama. We connected every few weeks whether it be at the park, over ice cream, or at each other's homes. She asked me a lot about my work. Not too many people did that.
She seemed truly interested in who I was and what kind of career interests I had. She encouraged me when I was thinking about expanding in my career and she hugged me when I told her I felt like a failure as bills piled up and nothing seemed to be enough. I began my blog and I told her about it. She, graciously, SO graciously, offered to help me put it together.
My on-line friend Laurie Wallin- I e-mailed you and you responded. To me, you were a major Christian Mama Blogger and I was shocked that you responded. I reached out again and you asked me for my phone number. You called me and you encouraged me and your engagement in my life confirmed that I was going in the right direction. I admire you more than you know. You are real and your words bring all of your readers closer to the light of Christ. You coined the statement to me- "Liz, the Christian church has yet to come up with a life-giving message for the Christian Working Mom." Your statement is what this blog is all about.
My on-line Working Mama BFF- Lisa-Jo Baker- you took my story and you spoke it out loud for an audience I was not able to reach- you gave my voice a platform. My small blogpost that turned viral...you took it and my story of how my church supported me and you shared it with the world. It made me cry and filled me with hope and excitement for what God is doing for Moms who struggle with balancing work and family. You were the one who put that first post out there- "Grace for the Working Mama and her Guilt" which acted as a virtual life preserver at the time as I was drowning in the tension of working and mommying.
Hannah Kallio- You are this unexpected jewel of a friend who could not be more different than me. YET- you invited me to speak in your world, to share my writing, you gave me tools to help me grow. You took my phone call and coached me for free and helped me to see that I could make space in my busy life. Your questions challenged me and you gave me courage to be ME. Thank you for your wisdom and friendship.
Sarah Johnson- you are my fellow traveler, I would not thrive in this journey without your humor, honesty and compassion. You were my first Christian Working Mama BFF and you coined the phrase- “The ground is level at the foot of the Cross, both for the Stay at Home Mama and the Working Mama.” Your friendship and wisdom certainly are woven in many of my blogposts.
Lissette O’Neal- you are my Stay at Home Mama soul sister. Thank you for doing life with me and making me see how important the bond, connection and support between Stay at Home Moms and Working Moms truly IS. You never judged, you always loved, you cared for my kiddos, you never tried to take my place but you always loved my boys as your own. You became a second mama to my little Benny and I would never change that for the world. Your light and love welcomed be at every morning drop-off and every evening pick-up.
Loretta Faulkner- My second Stay at Home Mama soul sister. You took care of my big boy. Before and After Care was your ministry to this frazzled mama. Girl- you even got my kiddo ready for picture day when I forgot! You reminded me of field trips, you sent me pics of lost spelling lists, you instilled in my son the disciple of doing homework first and doing it WELL. You provided gloves on days I couldn’t find any, snacks when I forgot to pack them, oh my WORD, the list goes on and on. You also welcomed me with light and love at every morning drop-off and every evening pick-up.
To Edgewater Bible Church- You gave me the gift of ministry. Pastor Ben O’Neil- you let me lead when I was convinced I did not have time and was not ready. You believed in the work that God was doing in my life and you made room for this Christian Working Mama to do her part in the body of Christ.
For all my readers- where did you all come from? I thought I was on an island and was afraid even if I kept shouting, no one would hear and come on over. And then you came! You stopped by, you listened to my ramblings and you heard encouragement and love and kept coming back. I can only thank you for sticking by me and give God all the glory for anything good that has come from my little space in social media for my amazing, wonderful, superhero working Mama friends.