To the working mom at church

to the working mom at church

Dear Working Mom,

I see you waking in the early fringe hours of the morning for self care – claiming a few precious moments of solitude for bible study and prayer, or for exercising and meditation. I know how tired you feel throughout the day because of the lack of sleep, but those wee hours of the morning are the only time you feel you can spend on just you.

I see you swallow back tears when your toddler looks in your eyes over breakfast and says, “But mama, I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home with you.” I know how hard it is to hear those words, to try to make your little one understand how you wish you could stay home with her too and why you have to work.

I see you running errands on your lunch break, so as not to consume precious evening time. I see you grabbing a quick bite to eat in your car in the midst of grocery shopping or paying bills, or munching on a snack at your desk because you used your lunch hour to get a haircut or go to the doctor.

I see you missing group bible studies and/or moms groups, because they’re all in the mornings and you have to work. Or, when there is an evening option, the guilt you feel from sacrificing more time with your kids prohibits you from feeling the freedom to join. I know you wish there was another way, because you miss the fellowship with other women, and you know you need it.

I see you talking with other moms before and after service on Sunday, feeling out of place as they talk about homeschool curriculum or play dates. I know you feel like it’s hard for you to have friends. Most of the other church women are SAHMs, which is fine but you live in an opposite world. I know it’s lonely there.

I see you downcast during Mother’s Day sermons, when your well-meaning pastor extols the virtuous wife and mother who keeps the tidy home, raises the well-mannered children and serves her family joyfully. I know you feel less than. I know you feel like your brothers and sisters around you turn their nose up at you because you choose to work, as if your decision was made without regard for your children’s well-being or the good of your marriage.

I see all of these things because I’m a working mom, too. I know how hard it is to find a kindred spirit, to feel out of place among the family of God, to wish there were more bible studies or blogs written from the working mom’s perspective or to us.

I pray you can find friendships with fellow Christian sisters who encourage you, edify you, and empower you.

I pray you can find church family who support you and love you.

I pray your husband appreciates you and strengthens you.

I pray you know that your sacrifice is not in vain. I pray that you can have confidence that, though you work outside the home, you are motivated by what’s best for your children and family at this time.

I pray you can find rest for your weariness in Jesus. I pray you can believe him when he says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

I pray you know that, no matter who cares for your child during the day, there is no replacement or substitute for you. There is no one like you in your child’s life.

I know you’re lonely, but you’re not alone. I know you’re weary, and though you can’t see it, I know you’re strong, because Jesus has you. Jesus is with you. He is with your children when you can’t be with them.

With you in Him,

Rachel

Behind the Scenes

behind the scenes

Have you ever watched behind the scenes footage of a movie or tv show? It always fascinates me to see the actors candidly, to hear their raw voice. To observe the setting around the staged scene, all of the crew members and production staff that make it happen. To see real life.

It is easier to be impressive to strangers than it is to be consistently kind behind the scenes.

Shauna Niequist

As I scrolled through my Instagram feed this morning, I came upon this quote shared by Crystal Paine/The Money Saving Mom. Though I’ve never read any of Shauna Niequist’s works personally, I was struck by the truth declared in these few words. We live in a social media world – I don’t think it was unintentional that Crystal shared this on a social media feed – and so much of our lives on social media is packaged. Like a movie set, our social media lives are posed, styled, edited and filtered. Our feeds are meant to highlight the best moments of each day – those that make the final cut.

Our real lives aren’t styled, though. We’re not posed and edited. Life is raw, unfiltered, often messy and frequently mundane. And though our instastories might be eye-catching and attractive, who we are behind the scenes is who we really are. Though current politics might try to declare otherwise, who you are when nobody’s watching (or recording) is your true character. As Dwight L. Moody put it, “Character is who you are in the dark.”

My kids and I were watching Finding Dory last night, and we were on the scene when Hank gets frustrated with Dory and yells at her. My girl said, “Mama, he’s being mean! He’s not nice!” To which I replied, “Well, he’s frustrated and angry with Dory. That happens, sometimes.”

And my daughter responded, “yeah….like you get.”

I was shaken to my core. In her fairly benign response, my little 3-year-old revealed what you won’t see in my Instagram feed: my quick temper, the moments where I speak out in frenzied frustration instead of pressing in with calm control. It was an opportunity to offer repentance and ask forgiveness from her, and a necessary reminder that the number of likes on our family photos is not the measure of my motherhood.

It’s easy for me to make the world think I’m a good mom. I post the pictures of my cute kids in their perfect poses, and it looks like all is well. But would my kids say I’m consistently kind? Would my husband? Outside of the 4×4 frame, am I revealing Jesus to them? Am I loving them well? Are there areas I can improve?

I love to look through my social media feeds and admire the beautiful homes and the breathtaking views. But, I think it’s better to see life behind the scenes, because that’s where the real living is.

 

 

 

A Harvest of Righteousness

A Harvest of Righteousness

The autumn sun cast a warm glow across the living room floor, where I sat in the midst of a group of 10 strangers. We were visiting a small group from a new church for the first time, and we were going around the room, taking turns reading as we worked through the book of James. As my turn approached, I felt apprehensive. I am a natural introvert, and though I’m a good reader, the thought of fumbling words in front of a room of people I’d just met had me on edge. Still, I bucked up and began to read.

My portion was from James 3, the wisdom that comes from above. I read over the familiar words about jealousy and selfish ambition, not giving much thought as I worked my way through carefully (so as not to embarrass myself). Then I came to the last verse, a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:18 ESV).

Peace. What did I know of peace? Here I was in a group of strangers. Again. You see, we have recently moved to a new town – our 7th move in my husband and I’s five years of marriage. Seven moves – some across town, some cross country. Add to that mix two babies. From the moment we said “I do,” it’s felt like a whirlwind of change, so peace sometimes fell between the cracks of chaos and mayhem.

I don’t know about you, but seasons of sudden change bring out the worst in this Type-A, planner of a gal. I get anxious, overbearing, irritable. Yet, the words of that verse stuck with me the rest of that day. And the next day. And the one after that. They would emerge at random moments, and I would roll them over in my mind. Since it was the beginning of fall, messages of harvest were everywhere. I was at my local crafts store, browsing the fall home décor, when it struck me: A harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

God met me right there in the 40% off section to open my eyes to an area of sin in my life. I had not been making peace with the recent changes. Though my mind trusts in God’s sovereignty, including this move, my heart was still striving against it. Why? I think James explains it: worldliness. My attachment to my world was sowing discord in my heart. You see, James says that as we seek friendship with this world, we move further and further away from sowing peace with God. In fact, loving the world makes us enemies of God himself. This isn’t a harvest of righteousness – it’s spiritual drought.

We all do this – we all chase stuff. We all choose between the love of God and love of the world, and left on our own, we would choose the world every time. But God gives more grace. He seeks us, woos us, and draws near to us as we come to him humbly – cleansing us and purifying our hearts through the gift of repentance. So that, a harvest of righteousness is sown in in our lives by God himself, who in his grace makes peace with us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

So what season are you in right now? Are you reaping a harvest of righteousness, or are you thirsting in a spiritual drought? Are you sowing peace, or is discord uprooting your heart? 

Someone You Raise | WMU

Someone You Raise

 

“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”—Andy Stanley

I know it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I plan/hope to begin writing regularly again soon. The past couple of months have been crazy, with moving and job transitions and all that entails. So, blogging hasn’t been a priority, but I have been writing regularly over at the WMU myMISSION Mom Blog! Why don’t you head over there and check out my most recent post? You can find it here: Someone You Raise.

 

Someone You Raise

30 Things I’d Tell My 20-year-old Self: Guest Submissions

30 Things I'd Tell My 20-year-old Self

Well, it’s been two weeks since I contributed to this series, so clearly I’m on top of all things blog-related. Our personal lives are in a bit of an upheaval at the moment, so blogging has been at the very bottom of things that sounded like fun. Not that blogging is a chore usually, but when things are a little bit chaotic in the other areas of my life, blogging can tend to feel like yet another demand on my time and mental faculties, to which I promptly respond with “NOPE.”

So, I apologize for the radio silence, dear faithful readers. I hope to find a consistent rhythm again soon, during which I will probably share some of the things that have kept me away recently. Until then, thanks for staying with me through the quiet times.

I reached out to some fellow bloggers in a Facebook blog group I participate in and asked for their thoughts on things they’d tell their 20-year-old selves. Their words of advice resonated with things I’ve felt or thought as well, so I wanted to share them with you. If you have a moment, go check out their blogs. Share the blog love, people.

So, here are some thoughts on 30 Things I’d Tell My 20-year-old Self from guest bloggers:

1. Chelsey from Chelsey Lynne Mead

“You don’t have to have your entire life figured out at 20. No one else does either, and if they say they do, they’re totally faking it. Take it a day at a time and do the next thing in front of you, the rest will fall into place.” ❤️

2. Kimberley from Life As Me

“Things aren’t always going to go the way you plan. That’s ok. God is in control and His plans are way better than your own.”

3. Kelly from I Do and Adieu

“Don’t settle for a life you think you’re suppose to live if it doesn’t make you happy. Live the life that will make you happy. All the things that are suppose to happen according to God’s plan will click into place along the way.”

4. Reeve from Girl on the Verge

“The little things that you freak out over (and that keep you up at night) aren’t going to be important in a year, two, or five. Have a little faith and realize that you are stronger than you think.”

One of the things I’m learning from this series is that, for many of us, our 20s all looked the same in terms of what we’ve learned and what we’d tell our 20-something selves in retrospect. Though our paths all vary, the life lessons are pretty similar. What about you? What is something you wished you knew at 20 that you know now?