Sunday, June 03, 2007

I Still Haven't Recovered From Mother's Day...

This might be too personal for the blog, not to mention too long, but what the heck, it is my blog and I’ve already warned that I don’t keep a diary, so if you don’t want this level of info, just check back in a few days.

So I just realized that Amelle graduates from Kindergarten on Thursday morning. I’m sure I just realized this because I’m not really on top of the kids stuff. You know people who live “paycheck to paycheck”, well that’s kind of how I am with the kid’s school stuff, I live “week to week” with the school commitments. I didn’t think about Kindergarten graduation before reading the weekly update tonight. Last week I missed Avery's Dolphin presentation and I paid for one of his school projects a second time because I forgot that I had already sent a check in a few weeks prior. I’m not on top of it. The kids are my second job.

On Mother’s day I received news that shook my core. It was the message in church. The pastor pointed to scripture that I hadn’t stumbled across yet, and I haven’t been the same since. The sermon was appropriately on “the biblical woman”. I thought I knew the biblical woman, at one point I had even printed Proverbs 31 and posted it on my refrigerator for inspiration. But this sermon didn’t reference Proverbs. We were instructed to open our bibles to Titus. It was one sentence, and it rocked my world:

Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

The pastor elaborated on that sentence for 30 painful minutes. Not painful like migraine painful, but like exercise pain, you know it’s good for you if you can just get through it. My eyes were filled up and I wanted to escape, for a moment I even thought about walking out. Jermaine was in the lobby with a fussy Maya while Amelle and I sat in the sanctuary, so I couldn’t just leave Amelle there; I had to be brave and stick it out without breaking down, even though everything inside me told me that I couldn’t sit there for another minute.

The whole thing got me, but I was particuarly convicted by the part about being busy at home. This pastor interpreted this as taking care of home/kids ect. He even expressed that he believed that it was ideal for the woman to be able to "stay at home" to take care of the household and children.

Because I felt so convicted by this message, I decided to get a second opinion. The very next morning I listed to Pastor Joe Focht describe Titus 2:4-6, and his opinions were consistent with the message by our local pastor.

It became clear to me that I was missing the mark. I am not the woman that God designed me to be.

Not only was I not interested in the priorities that God had for me, but all the thoughts about those who were doing what God had wanted them to do came flooding into my brain at once. I called people “wimps”, in fact, I generalized most Christian women as weak because those that I had been exposed to stopped working the moment they got pregnant and then never went back – even when their kids went to school (which literally boggled my mind). Meanwhile I was working full time, pregnant, in an accelerated graduate program, moving, and managing the lives of three kids (ages 5, 6, 32). Yes, I was busy, but wasn’t I supposed to be?

She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. Proverbs 31:17-18

It would bother me to hear Christian women tell me how busy I was, they would look sad for me, but I didn’t understand it, I honestly thought they were just lazy. The women in my bible study would pray for me to be able to stay home with Amaya, but I didn’t join them in that request, I just wasn’t “there yet”.

A few weeks ago I even pondered how a friend of mine who had three children under 2 got herself out of bed every morning, because she had to stay home with those three kids all day. I literally couldn’t fathom a fate worse than that. I’m ashamed to admit it, but that was my thinking.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a desire to slow down and spend more time being mom, because I did. At one time I was even determined to home school. I read every home schooling book that I could get my hands on, researched laws, charter schools, curriculums, the whole 9 yards, only to realize that I wasn’t courageous enough to actually do it.

So this week my daughter graduates from Kindergarten and I am just realizing that on the same day that my daughter graduates, I planned a big luncheon at work and my boss is coming to town for that and a meeting with me. I can do both, just barely. I’ll be rushing from the graduation to the work luncheon and there is a tear rolling down my cheek as I e-mail my boss telling her that I’ll be at work late that day because Amelle is graduating. But what I really want to do is tell her that I won’t be at work at all, because I’m going to spend the day with my daughter.

The Lord is at work in me.