Tuesday, January 15, 2013

No 2nd Rate Ministry. No 2nd Class Citizen

Yesterday was a Monday.
Mondays by definition.... have difficulties.
I encountered a few....
But I also
received a much needed reminder for my sore heart when I went to post my continuing gratitude list and read Ann's post. 
She spoke right to the down deep of me.

I pondered on this very specific quote from her while I did laundry and then I sat at my keyboard, opened up my Facebook and typed out the following:

Mothering is no second-rate ministry for the spiritually and intellectually mediocre. 
Mothering is a Christ-rated ministry for soul and mind sculptors 
and what could ever be substandard about passing on Christ’s standard?
- Ann Voskamp

.... writing this down for those moments when I don't think I do enough, don't matter enough... for when I feel the world has stamped me as less than because I don't cash a paycheck, for when well-meaning friends ask me for favors "because I'm not really doing anything but staying home", for when I turn down a ministry or a ministry event at church for more time with my family, for those times when I growl because I am sick and tired of having to check the box "homemaker" when my reality is a lot bigger than that and yeah, it's a volunteer position as I don't make a cash salary but it sure doesn't mean I sit home on my butt all day eating bon-bons. 
You cannot tote up the dividends or calculate a true salary of doing the hard, difficult, demanding work of raising children into godly young people with character and integrity.
And yes, oh my yes- my hat is off and my heart swells big for the great mamas who work a full time job and come home to this demanding work. It never stops.
But I refuse to be made to feel less than, to be called a non-productive member of society because I choose to stay home.
There is nothing substandard here.

I reread it, pondered a bit more, said a little prayer and hit "post". I felt a bit raw and a little bit inside out when I saw it pop up on my page. I don't make a habit of soap box posting on my FB but the whole thing was pinging around in my head and heart and I felt a real need to share. The post was only up a few moments when friends started posting in the comments asking if they could borrow and share what I wrote. It resonated with more than just me.

It was never my intention to be a stay at home mom, but it's obvious that it was God's intention all along. I kept up with my part time freelance reporting until Ms. Books was a year old-- when I realized I just didn't want to be gone from her. I planned on going back to work when the kiddos were all in school.... it was always the plan. I held a part time youth ministry position for almost eight years and it was during that time that God called us to homeschool. It was never my intention to homeschool. I thought homeschoolers were weird and antisocial... and then I actually met a bunch of homeschoolers and that thought was turned on its head.
For almost three years, I homeschooled, raised my kiddos and did youth ministry (which could be summed up in- part time pay, full time hours) and then I didn't.
Now I have a highschooler, a middle schooler and a 3rd grader and my days are full to the brim with homeschooling and all the extras that we call living life.
There is no real put the money in the bank paycheck with this gig.
Some days, I will admit, I wish I did have a job to go away to and leave all this behind for some hours.
Yes, I wish I contributed to the household income and didn't have to finagle budgets. I wonder what we'd spend all that money on if it wasn't used for homeschooling....
But those thoughts are mostly fleeting because I know
that this is exactly where I'm suppose to be
and I'm doing exactly what I'm suppose to be doing.

Yes, it hurts when people poke at me. When the well-meaning murmur at me about wasting my degree, about my failure to continue my education, how we'd be able to afford so much more if I worked "an actual job". But this thought hit me when I snuggled under the covers last night and thought again on this quote and where it took my heart:

I'd rather buck the system and stay home then buck God's choice for my life.

So.... I think I'll hold my head high, smile big and be reminded of this right here when life shoves at me- that God chose me for this.
Mothering is no second-rate ministry.


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