I am so thankful to be sitting down at my antique writing desk in our new home writing this post. This is the first blog post I’m writing in this new precious space of mine (that has a beautiful view by the way), and I’m so thankful. And I’m so excited that after a long, busy month full of change and stress, to finally sit down, have a special place carved out for me to pause and breathe, and have my longing to write be fulfilled. It feels like a glorious thing actually. A sacred thing even.
So yes, my family and I moved (just locally), and over the course of this past month I have faced changes and stressor upon stressor. Have you ever had one of those days or weeks or even month where things just seem to keep going wrong? Me too. That’s where I’ve been instead of writing. And I must admit that during this time, I became a bit of a frantic mother and wife as one thing went wrong after another (complete with a trip to an ER while we were out of state for my littlest one to have his chin stitched up, a lost paci running errands that led to unplanned paci weaning, our dog escaping out of the back gate a few times, and my crashing our van into the side of our new house trying to chase down our lost dog, and more… of just… life).
Sometimes I have to make time for writing, and sometimes I have to put it aside and just make time to deal with life.
All of this to say, that in the midst of this change and chaos happening around me, the urge to write never stopped itching at me. But there simply was no time and no way, and I had to find a peace about that, and I did. And then the Lord showed me a little of how this all played into something that’s been on my mind and heart for the past 6 months or so, and I felt led to share it with you all.
How to face the struggle of being a mom and chasing a dream.
As though they are two opposing forces pulling us in different directions where we feel it has to be one or the other, and we don’t know how to do both. (I’m not necessarily talking the whole stay-at-home mom versus working mom thing, but it certainly could apply here I suppose. And for the sake of this post, this is written for the moms out there reading this; I do not intend to be insensitive to women whose dream is motherhood and there is a void or struggle or brokenness there. If that is you, I sympathize with you more than you could ever know, I love you, and there is a different post to be written for you for another time). Really, I’m here just generally speaking about being a full time mom and having a dream placed in your heart.
Recently I’ve had several revelations in this area as I’ve learned and heard from other wise women, studied scripture, and experienced God’s voice and direction in my own life as I’ve struggled and prayed over these very things. I think it’s safe to say, based on my own experiences, shared stories and struggles with friends and women in my life, half the viral blog posts I come across, the plethora of new non-fiction books for moms… that this is a very common struggle. One that can bring with it discontentment, anxiety, and a real wrestling in our hearts. And one that if left unattended to could lead to missing out on something God has in store for us.
So. You’re a mom, in the thick of motherhood, 24/7 mothering, barely having time to shower and take care of yourself… And God breathes this dream, this calling, this idea into your heart. To write a book. To start a non-profit. To become a foster parent. To get a degree in something else. To start a ministry at your church. To go across the globe. To <insert your scenario here>. And you’re thinking, What in the world Lord? How can I possibly do that? And right now? How? That dream sounds amazing. But me? I’d love to, but what about my calling to stay at home with my children? What about <x, y, z>? How is this possible? And the questions just abound, and we wrestle and struggle.
When we first hear the Lord whispering a dream or calling into our hearts, and we feel that nudging from the Holy Spirit towards something, I’ve found that it’s common to experience guilt that what we’re feeling means that we aren’t thankful for what we currently have, as though it’s not good enough for us so we want more. But that isn’t the case, and we know that. But we may experience a sense of discontentment. We may question and doubt and wrestle.
Then when the Lord has clearly revealed this dream or calling, or steps to start taking towards it, we may struggle with a sense of frustration like there’s no time, or trying to juggle responsibilities, or even over the approval/disapproval of others. We may feel selfish, inadequate, or insecure, and do some more questioning, doubting. The whole thing can be a little overwhelming, and so often we just don’t know what to do or how to do it. And that’s okay.
I don’t claim to have all of the answers by any means, but here’s what I’ve found helps when these two great callings collide, motherhood and another God-sized dream. How do we pursue the dream as mothers?
1). First, we have understand who God created us to be and what He designed us to do (both as women and as individuals). I have looked at three examples of Biblical women in scripture found in Genesis (Eve!), Proverbs 31 (that infamous wife and mother), and in Titus 2. Scripture shows us that a woman is designed to be her husband’s helpmate, and her primary responsibility is managing her home. Truly this topic is much too large and deep for this blog post’s sake, but I encourage you to study these women and see for yourself if you’re curious or interested.
One of the things I loved about restudying the Proverbs 31 woman, who seems to just be it all and have it all and can tempt to annoy you with her perfection…. is that she has help!! Y’all she had servants helping her. There is no shame in hiring a cleaning service to clean your home if that is affordable to you and works for your family and opens up time to fulfill God’s calling in your life. Confession: this was news to me! Also, she does work outside the home my friends! She makes and sells things. But you’ll notice it’s not at the expense of her family. She still fulfills her roles in her home as a wife and mother. The real blessing of studying her is looking at the character attributes she possesses, and seeing how her family, her husband, and children respond to her. But more on that all for another time!
Also, don’t forget, God gave you unique gifts and talents… TO BE USED! And used for His glory. Do not let your gifts sit idle. Be a good steward of them. Pray about how He would have you use them! If you’ve been given a dream in your heart, I’m going to bet some of that calling will enable you to use those gifts for that very kingdom purpose. Some of what your calling requires may frighten you and challenge you to grow you and sharpen you and change you. With all that said, spend time learning about who God created you to be, as a woman, as a mom, and as His unique creation.
2). Understand and embrace your season. Are you a mother of infants and toddlers or of teenagers or adult children? Be aware of your season in motherhood, seek to understand it, and gratefully accept it and embrace it. The Lord has you in this particular season with this dream for a reason. And the thing with seasons is that they change, you will not stay in this season forever. So if you feel like you’re up to the neck in motherhood and you’re the mother of young children in survival mode, and there just seems to be no time for a dream outside of the home let alone time for sleep or a shower… Realize that maybe you don’t have time to pursue your dream in the way you might want to right now and that’s okay. Your time may not be now. But in a few years when the kids are off at school full time, maybe that’s when your time will be. Remember the seasons, and trust God’s timing for them and where your dream fits in with motherhood.
For instance, for me, I feel the Lord calling me to write, and write for His glory. And I have a big, picture of a big dream that I feel the Lord pulling me to, but I can also hear Him saying not yet very clearly. He may have given you a glimpse towards something He has in store for you… But He might have you go on a journey first before you get there. For me, I was shown that God is weaving together my journey towards this dream through my motherhood and being a stay-at-home mom over the past several years, maybe even decade if I want to get real. But rest assured, He will make a way for your season of mothering and your dream, but it may look different to each of us with different timing and different stages and different seasons.
3). Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize – and say no. So you have this dream, you’re learning who God created you to be, you’re understanding your season, and now you’re left with the problem as to how exactly this is going to happen. I sort of laugh when I think about this because we have a God who is known for making a way when we don’t see one – remember when He parted that sea? Oh yeah. Me too. If He wants you to follow Him somewhere, He will make a way, you just need to find it with Him. And I’ve found that the best way to help facilitate that is by getting our priorities straight and learning to say no. Our first priority should always be following Him and staying true to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our hearts. Our second priority should be to our husbands and our homes (this goes back to point 1). And everything else falls after. As we all know, we are a busy, over committed society. So most of us probably need to learn to say no to some things in our lives and schedules if we want to follow and make room for a dream so that we can say yes to God.
Often times prioritizing is where good scheduling and planning come into the picture. For instance, my husband voiced a concern to me that what I’ve been feeling called to do was taking away quality time in our relationship. I wrestled with that and prayed over it. And then we practically came up with a plan that if this calling truly is from the Lord that I will continue to pursue it, but I need to be wise with my time and mindful of my relationships with my husband and children. So I do my best to write during nap times to not take away from my children and to not interfere with quality time and connecting with my husband in the evening when he’s home from work and the kids are in bed. Of course, if you’re a mom you know this isn’t much time, but I feel God telling me that’s okay. I’m in the baby step process. He will make time when there needs to be more. For example, in the fall, my husband and I made the decision for both of our kids to be in a few hours of care at a local church two mornings a week, and that time will be used for me to more seriously pursue writing.
4). Be patient and trust in God’s perfect timing. We’ve got this God-sized dream in our heart… and we have to wait. We often cannot see that dream fulfilled immediately. Boy is patience hard! If the time is not now, then the time is not now, but that doesn’t meant give up or forget about the dream entirely! Seek God in finding out what you’re supposed to do in the now. It’s most likely time to grow. Even though the dream may not be happening just yet, I’m sure that there is work to do. So ask yourself, What baby steps can I take now? What kind of work do I need to or can I put in now? What do I need to learn? I’ve heard from women who have completely ignored the God-sized dream put on their heart, and they have actually debilitated themselves ignoring God’s calling and been left with anxiety in their hearts and lives, for years even as they ignored and resisted. Sometimes we need to plant before we sow. Be patient for as your dream to blossom. Also, despite the lie the media likes to sell, dreams don’t come to fruition over night. Be patient. And the next point will help a little with this too.
5). Be present. Do not miss what is going on around you to focus on the dream ahead. Don’t do it. As expressed already, it is about a journey. Yes God is calling your towards something, but that journey is part of the calling. The present moments are being used to shape you, grow you, change you, prune you, and prepare you for whatever lies ahead. And in these moments, the dream still exists – sometimes God will give you glimpses at how the present may open a path for that dream to be realized. Sometimes the present feels full of small, insignificant things and that can make us lose perspective if we aren’t careful.
For instance, your present may be full of poopy diapers, and that can be really un-glamorous and can lead to some negative thinking and even that dangerous comparison game as we look at the lives of others. I know because I’ve been there… But really, you’re mothering your child. And that is part of one of the greatest callings God has ever given mankind. And even if it is diaper changes and runny noses that day, do your best as a mom. Remember, if you’re a good steward over the small things He gives you, think of how He will see that faithfulness and then will give you responsibility over the big things. In Matthew 25:23, Jesus shares the parable of the talents in which the master says, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” And in Luke 6:10 the Bible says, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” The present may be full of those small seemingly insignificant things that are actually trying to prepare you for the big things. Also, the present is where pruning and growth occur. The present is where our character is developed, perspective applied, gratitude cultivated. Are you missing the opportunities now that He’s giving you to be faithful in them? I missed them for a long time! And boy did it hurt my heart and warp my purpose and perspective.
6). Most importantly, continually turn to the Lord regarding your calling or dream and seek PEACE and have FAITH. If you do not have an inner peace about this dream, then I would be that there’s something God is trying to tell you or show you where you may be not be following Him. And this is different from discomfort. Now this is a bit of a gray area where generalization has to happen because each woman and calling and situation is unique and specific to her, but if your “dream” is costing your family and hurting them or not allowing you to be your husband’s helpmate or the manager of your home as discussed in point 1, I would suggest re-evaluating the calling, praying, and seeking the Holy Spirit to guide you. Perhaps it is not God’s desires for you at all, but that old deceitful heart of ours.
On the other hand, if you feel a little uncomfortable or overwhelmed regarding your God-sized dream, that can be a good sign. Some times that happens when we are growing and stretching ourselves and leaning into the Lord to trust Him with some big dreams and tasks, to even do the impossible. It may be an overwhelming, scary, seemingly impossible dream, like, Who are you talking to Lord? Surely, not I... Well yes, my friend, He may in fact be talking to you. Listen to Him. And then find comfort and take courage from scripture and all of the accounts of God making the impossible possible with Him. Think the classic David versus Goliath. Think Jesus walking on the water asking Peter to walk with Him. Step out in faith my friend. Jesus is there. Satan wants to paralyze us with fears and doubts, but we serve a God who does the impossible and is faithful.
But if you’re following the Lord, even if it seems scary and uncomfortable, He will give you a peace. Find the peace. If at any time, you feel that just not right feeling, ask the Lord to help you examine your heart. The Lord has been so faithful to me in this area. He will be faithful for you too.
Right now my baby steps towards my dream involve things like writing blog posts, learning about social media and writing, learning about platform building, learning from others’ writing and experiences, and well just a whole lot of learning and practice. And some days for me, one blog post takes an entire week to write. Which can be annoying yes, but I’ve learned that’s okay for me right now. I might wish I had the time to write it in one sitting, or have the time to post multiple times a week, but more often than not I don’t. And that’s okay. I’ve learned to be at peace with that. I understand my season, I see this as a journey. I am focused on being present and being faithful day to day with what the Lord is asking of me. But I am still writing. I am still following what Jesus is putting on my heart. But I’m seeing the whole picture of the God-sized dream I have because I see Him putting my family on my heart, serving them first, remembering they are not the distraction, they are my primary calling and ministry. I truly believe He will make time for me to write what He calls me to write, if I am a wise steward of what He’s given me.
And moms, let us remember this truth expressed by my favorite, C. S. Lewis:
Children are not a distraction from the more important work. They are the most important work.
Lastly, if you’re a mom, and you don’t have a calling in your heart to do something else, but you want that, or if you wrestle with a little jealousy over the mom who has already accomplished this great big dream with little kids running around her feet, or if you struggle with feeling like motherhood is great, but you want more, let me speak these words to you. Give yourself grace, but guard your heart. God has you right where you are doing what you’re meant to do right now for a reason. As corny as it often sounds, He does have a plan for you. And sometimes, we need to adjust our dreams and focuses to match what His might be for our lives. They may look different, they may match up, but we need to get with God on that. For you stay-at-home moms of littles like myself, my heart goes out to you. My prayer is for you to see your home as your mission field and ministry first and foremost. Embrace your season. Raising children is the most important role in our world, and it is so overlooked and under-appreciated. You have tremendous value in your work. Tremendous.
When I first transitioned from having a full time career that I loved and was meant for to a stay-at-home mom (which I wanted), it was hard. Harder than I ever could have imagined in ways I could not have imagined. It took me a few years to embrace being called to stay-at-home with our children and see the beauty and glory and purpose in it. At the time, I struggled a lot with discontentment. In fact, I might say I kept trying to put myself on the throne and God needed to keep telling me to get off, that’s His place. But seriously, God needed to do a lot of work in me during this time. A lot of pruning. A lot of perspective changing. And I am so grateful for that time. God wasn’t ready to reveal another calling to me at that time. My calling was motherhood and that was plenty! It is enough! But He needed to reveal certain things to my heart before another dream ever could have room to be spoken there.
Let me end this insanely long post, which probably could be the start of another book on motherhood, by saying God’s purpose and timing looks different in each of our lives. It truly, truly does. But we can be sure, He wants to use each of us to further His kingdom and show others His glory and love. Some days or years this may be as a mother and wife, some days or years this may be as a working mom, some days or years this may be pursuing motherhood and multiple dreams that are intertwined together in a beautiful puzzling fashion in which He gives you eyes to see the whole picture, some days or years this may be in your home, your town, or across the world.
At the end of the day, if you’re struggling with motherhood and purpose and dreams and callings, having none, having one, having too many, seek the Lord for clarity and guidance. Come to Him over and over again. He will guide your paths. Have no doubt. But open yourselves up to those things I’ve been learning, seasons, priorities, wisdom, perspective, patience, growth, being present. God is using you my friend and will continue to use you if you let Him for all the days of your lives. Have an expectant heart in this too!