Every day I seem to notice a new opportunity to choose my individual goals and achievements over my family. There are volunteer opportunities, opportunities for career development like Clinton School of Public Service, and plans for income that would require realigning my family focus to the side of the spotlight. I am always weighing the impact on my family of opportunities to serve and work outside of my home. It can feel like a battle of what is best for them and what is best for me. I have to reconcile my will for my life with what is needed by them that I can fulfill with my life.
What is God’s will for my life and what is mine?
Are we in agreement?
Christ died for the church.
A supreme sacrifice in the human form. Giving up any future, any marriage, any children, wealth, extended human life, power, career of his choosing. A total submission to God’s will. He did not pursue what he wanted. He pursued what God wanted/needed him to do. He made that his mission.
When I was blessed with a child, I was given a form of God’s will on my life. I can not imagine that God was thinking, “Here, take this child and spend as little time as possible with him/her. Be sure to always assume nothing matters ans assume you have nothing to offer. Assume others know better than you with how to raise this child. Be sure to doubt yourself and what you have to offer him/her.” Many moms live every day thinking that. We doubt our decisions and choices daily, almost constantly. There is not a lot of outside praise to help us recognize when we are doing a good job as a mom. It can be hard to feel successful on the challenging days when we perceive challenge as failure and ease as success. It can be tempting to give up on our families.
Temptations are around us daily, trying to tell us that what is important is fulfilling the self rather than fulfilling our service. There is a battle inside many of us to choose between the rout that provides us with time and attention for those we love and the choice to push forward with what we individually want – what we think will make us happy.
Happiness is a choice to be joyful in our present situation no matter what it involves.
I spent some time getting IV treatments for anemia when I was in college. Another way Crohn’s disease altered my life. My treatments were held in the same unit as people with cancer receiving chemo. Most of them smiled at me as I walked in to take my less-potent IV fluids than what they were receiving. They smiled…they were sharing joy yet they were fighting for their lives! They assumed I was there for the same reason as them – to beat cancer. I remember their kind smiles always, especially on the challenging days when I want a break.
You can have a disease and be joyful. You can be poor and be joyful. I was a poor newlywed, and my husband and I, although stress about finances at times, were happy to have each other and the chance to develop our relationship despite the financial challenges. There are still financial challenges today while we balance living on one income. It is our choice to be joyful in it knowing we are balancing family and serving the needs of our family first.
Challenge is a blessing in disguise.
We can be joyful in the moments of cleaning up poop, spilled milk, and crumbs that seem to breed when no food is even present because many women incapable of conceiving would trade us in a heartbeat. I know it sounds silly and this message is not popular, because we are taught to favor ‘ease’, ‘pretty’, ‘power’, and ‘worldly reward’.
The path we are on is a blessing to our families even when it does not feel nice. “Blessing” often means: challenge, learning experience, not what I expected, frustrating, life-altering. We can allow the blessing of being a mom change our lives so we can be more in line with what God need from us. Let it adjust our visions for our lives in this season. Let God’s will become your will, joy, and contentment, and peace will never be missing.
Jaimie Erickson is a military wife, mom to two with twins on the way, former teacher and author of the blog, The Stay-at-Home-Mom Survival Guide. She shares faith-based motivation for moms, tips related to homemaking, and developmentally appropriate (and simple to create) learning activities for infants through early elementary-aged children, all to help moms find the joy despite the challenges of motherhood. Connect with her via: Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.
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