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March 12, 2015

I choose motherhood.

I did not choose motherhood because I was "just a teacher". I did not choose motherhood because we felt we could "make it" on my husband's salary.
I chose motherhood, because God gave me children.

I choose motherhood.

When the doctor handed me my first newborn baby, there was no longer room for a career. I had been given a brand new that would require complete commitment on my part.

From the beginning, I understood that the time I have to invest in my children is [in the grand scheme of things] very short. This was not a task to be passed on to someone else. This was the beginning of a new season of in which I had been called to live wholeheartedly focused in my new role. It would not be about simply 'keeping everyone alive' (although some days that feels like an accomplishment). It would be about creating a life-giving environment that fosters well-rounded growth in each member of the family. I chose motherhood, and each day, I continue to do so. 

Mothers are intended to be mothers, but in our culture, this is such a foreign concept.
Why should I have to give up my career?
Why would I waste those degrees that I earned?
How can we possibly make it on one income? 
My husband insists that I have a 'real job'.
I simply have no desire to stay home with my children. 

At weeks old, children are handed off to caretakers in order for mothers to return to roles that they suggest are necessary for survival or simply more fulfilling. However, in many cases, the children are the price that is paid for this extra income or this liberation from one's responsibilities.

Even for full-time moms, the distractions can be great.
I miss the affirmation I received when I was working.
Does my family have any understanding of what I do all day?
My career-minded friends appear to have it all.
What am I really accomplishing at home? 
Is this worth the financial sacrifice?

As we struggle with these questions, many mothers begin to long for more.. Their social media interactions result in feelings of insecurity and inadequacy....Other people's thoughts and expectations begin to create questions and confusion. They may even start to feel pressure to do something more such as create a home business.

Where does this pressure come from? It comes from the one who is a master at planting seeds of discontentment in to our hearts. We were not meant to do it all...or to "have it all". We were called to be find fulfillment in the role that the Creator has assigned.  No career...No hobby...No exciting new venture should take priority over the calling that we were granted when our little one was placed in our arms.

We need to keep God's wishes at the center of our desires. We can strategize and plan, but we need to run our plans through the grid of God's plan. Having this mind-set is part of what sets us apart from the world. People in the world make plans according to what they feel is best for them, what will bring the most financial gain, or what will bring them notoriety and success. God invites us to make our plans according to what will be in line with His desire for us and what will bring glory to Him, not ourselves. - Karen Ehman

What does this look like for me? If you've been following along for very long, then you know that I find it very important for moms to find time to refresh and recharge. In order for us to be the very best we can be for our family, we must be intentional about not ignoring our spiritual, physical, and emotional tanks. It is wonderful for everyone - Yes, even full-time moms - to find enjoyment in personal hobbies and activities. It is during these times when I enjoy taking time to a variety of different ways.

For example, I love this blogging space. It is a creative outlet that yes, generates additional income for our family. However, I have shared my heart about how important it has been for me to keep this particular hobby in its rightful place. In addition to blogging, I have shared other ideas for making extra cash from home - things that I have always enjoyed doing...on the side...but not at the expense of my home.

Can You Afford to Stay Home with your Babies?

Friends, simply staying home with your children is not the point - it is important to actually be present in their moments. Motherhood is challenging enough without adding other allegiances...whether they be in our heart, our head, or our hands.

When we respond to the high calling of motherhood with passion, the rewards are far greater than any we could ever gain outside of that calling. - Ginger Hubbard

Maybe you are struggling with your role as mommy...Maybe you have recognized feelings of resentment, frustration, apathy, lack of focus, etc. It is important to ask the Lord to help you examine your heart in order to understand the root of these feelings. Are you simply exhausted? Do you need to take better care of YOU? When I experience feelings of overwhelm or frustration, it is always because I am tired...or distracted...or suffering the consequences of taking my eyes off of my Source of Strength. If I have learned one thing in my journey so far it is that while I am not enough...He is. This is a reminder that I know I will continue to need. My strength is made perfect in your weakness...Is there any promise more reassuring for us as moms?

Do you need your soul restored? Get in God's Word - Nothing gives life like God's Word. Nothing will replenish your tired and exhausted self like God's Word. Nothing is going to provide you with the strength you need to keep walking in your calling like God's Word.

The overall decision of choosing motherhood was not a difficult one for me. Where I struggle is choosing motherhood in the small moments...

...when the baby starts to cry and I have JUST started to attack my to-do list
...when my children aren't feeling well and I was really looking forward to a specific social outing
...when it's time to put the laundry away
...when I'm tired...oh, when I am tired! 

Friends, I am right there in the throes of this journey with you. It is by no means easy - but Why would God want to give us tasks for which we didn't need Him? (CBS) 
Wow! What a powerful thought!

As we demonstrate - before our children - God's design for the family, those little eyes are watching...They are observing God's power in our lives...They are gaining an understanding of what it means to have our priorities aligned with the heart of God. 

The day-to-day of this approach to life will look very different for each family...It may vary depending on the ages of your children...There will be adjustments as your family unit walks through different seasons of life together. There is no set formula to walking this out, so if you are struggling with a decision related to your life as mom, may I encourage you to take some time to gain God's perspective in your specific life situation? He understands your family's financial needs; He is walking with you in the misunderstandings you may be having with your spouse; He is there in those moments when you are doubting your ability to mother well; and He will honor your desire to seek Him and His very best for your family.

Motherhood is a beautiful choice - one that was never intended to be diminished, discounted, or discarded altogether. It is a gift to be celebrated and held in the highest esteem. Anything less is from the Father of Lies.

More Encouragement for Your Mama Heart: 

Sarah Mae - The Hidden Years

Recommended Books:
Sally Clarkson has a lot to say on God's design for motherhood, and I know you will be encouraged by her!