You see her.
In your Instagram feed. Writing another book. Up on a stage. Traveling the globe and doing work that seems to be changing the world.
Meanwhile, you are stuck paying bills and budgeting. Carpooling and folding laundry. Hustling but not getting anywhere fast.
Your life feels far from extraordinary. Yours lacks influence, and your work seems unimportant in comparison to what she, and others like her, are doing.
People all around you seem to have megaphones and microphones, and you are simply standing among the masses: a speck in a sea of insignificance.
If you didn’t get paid, would you still go to work every day?
I’m sure that made you laugh just a bit, and that’s completely alright. Most of us have jobs that are just that: jobs. We show up because we need the money, not because we are passionate about the work.
Which, I believe, leads us to live the lie that we only work because we get paid. If we didn’t need the money, then we wouldn’t need a job. And life would be good.
But because we need money, we get up and go to work.
Our country is home to the “American Dream,” the idea that anyone can be anything they want to be, and the opportunity exists for everyone to pursue prosperity and happiness.
As a parent, we often want this same dream for our children. We want to give them a strong foundation, a solid education and an incredible amount of loving support so that they may become all that they were meant to be.
But what if they were made to be a garbage man, a janitor, or a McDonald’s employee?
We were standing in an empty parking lot, the final stragglers from a local meet-up. Continuing our conversation long after the doors closed, we stood by our car doors, and my good friend listened as I grumbled about the overwhelming season of life in which I found myself.
I steadfastly declared that I would simply quit the most taxing endeavor I was a part of because it was all too much and that was the most expendable option. Quitting made obvious sense and I sighed in relief just thinking about the freedom it would bring.
That is until she looked me right in the eye and said, “You’re a quitter. You quit when things get hard.“
“I’m not a quitter,” I replied, with more question than resolve in my voice.
“Yes, you are.”
Before we ever had kids, I mentioned to my husband that I would like to homeschool our children. Not for their entire career but just for middle school. I felt that would be best because middle school is hard and awkward. I thought it would be great to give my kids some extra love, wisdom, and educational adventures during what are typically pretty rough years.
What I did not realize was that my homeschool dream would be bumped up by six years and we would home-educate our oldest son starting in his second semester of kindergarten.
Now, as we prepare to start our fourth full year of home education, I must say, it has been worth the investment and sacrifice. Because, friends, if homeschool moms are honest, there is definitely some sacrificing happening. But it is worth it.
I have this crazy crafty mom friend. Pinterest actually looks to her for creativity and inspiration.
But what is even better than her creative genius and crafty hand is that she is so chill about the whole thing. When you come to her house for her kid’s birthday, her first thoughts are on making sure you have food on your plate and drink in your hand. She couldn’t care less if you noticed the replica TMNT pom poms or life size Lightning McQueen cardboard race cars.
Her kids have been grown-up sized minions for Halloween and her youngest daughter has a homemade teepee in her room. Her stuff is always so well done you know it’s not store bought, but made by hand with lots of love.
You see it, the white line that marks the end of the race. It is looming just ahead. It’s so close.
But your feet hurt, your body aches, and mentally you just don’t know if you can even take one more step. You are ready to be done.
You may be prepping your cap and gown or signing the last permission slips of the school year. You may be the teacher just as ready for summer as your students or the employee who just turned in her two-week notice at the office.
Today was a hard day. Our baby-turning-toddler has been refusing to sleep, both at night and at nap time. The rainy days keep piling on, which, in turn, wear thin the patience and imagination of the big kids. Daddy had an overnight travel and I am attempting to eat better & exercise more (which simply translates into I’m hungry and not happy). I tell you this so you know that I need this reminder too.
Our baby boy turns one in less than a week – and I keep catching myself wondering where on earth those months, those 365 days, went.
Babies don’t keep. I understand that simple statement far better now than I ever did in those early years with our oldest. If I had to do it all over again, this is what I would say to the first-time-mommy version of me (and to you).
My days are filled with broken arms, baby dolls and butt paste. Yup, butt paste. But please hear this: that is neither a complaint nor a banner of glory. It is simply a description of what my life looks like right now, in this moment. Literally, our son has a freshly broken arm, our daughter wanted to play babies today and our baby has a diaper rash!
You see, God has been teaching me about contentment. And apparently it cannot be found in yesterday’s achievement or in tomorrow’s plan – it is something seen and recognized right here, in this breath.
Contentment is quiet and easily missed;