Earlier this week I wrote about wanting to quit my job as a stay at home mom. Some stuff has happened since then that has changed me a little bit, and I hope will change me more as the days go by.
But I hesitate to share because I’m worried about alienating my readers who aren’t Christian or religious or spiritual, because I am about to share the most Christian-y story ever. I’m talking Holy Spirit dancing and Bible words and upside down God-logic.
I’m worried because I love you, and I value your voices and feedback as I try to be me, Christian me (which isn’t just a part of the whole me, it tints and paints and overwhelms all the other parts) while not existing in a Christian echo chamber. So even if what I’m about to share seems wild, crazy, false, fake, naive, dangerous…you are welcome here. You are welcome as you are, in your agreement or disagreement, in your acceptance or rejection or indifference to what I write (what I live).
I posted my super honest blog about feeling trapped as a stay at home mom Tuesday afternoon. There was a wonderful release of writing the feelings down and for once NOT trying to tie it all up with a pretty bow. I just left the feelings and fears out there, as they were.
An hour later we had friends over for dinner and regular life was trucking along. After our guests left and the kids were finally asleep I went to tackle the dishes. Some background: I have a long and storied relationship with dishes, in that I hate doing them. Sometime last year, as I dragged my self-pitying butt into the kitchen for the millionth time, I decided something had to change. In a petulant tone I told God, “Fine, I’ll make this miserable task my time with you instead of watching Friends on Netflix”, hoping that would make it easier AND ease my guilt about not having a consistent devotional/Bible reading time. It’s a nightly internal battle to choose to put on worship music and pray instead of TV vegging while I clean the kitchen. When I choose God it is ALWAYS good, makes my soul expand and find rest, fills me up for the next day’s challenges. Even so, it’s a nightly battle. The spirit is willing guys, the flesh is so weak and addicted to Netflix…
Tuesday night was no different. After the emotionally exhausting confessional blog post I wrote, which included some researched Biblical references!, I felt justified in wanting to just watch TV. But God met me in that moment and helped me go to youtube instead and search for my standby, the Bethel “You Make Me Brave” album playlist. Somewhat (very) reluctantly I hummed along to a few songs, the day’s tension releasing from my body despite myself. Then Jenn Johnson came on (Lord, give me a stronger singing voice and let me dance barefoot and shout verses as my full time job please….like seriously, please…) a spontaneous worship song based on the verse from Nehemiah, “the joy of the Lord is my strength”.
The Holy Spirit took over me and there I stood, gangly arms raised, eyes squeezed shut, signing so loudly my kids should’ve woken up, flat notes echoing the perfect ones bleating faintly from my phone speaker. I sang out, “THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH”, I felt the truth of it so strongly that I stamped my feet and tripped over into the garbage can. When I feel the Spirit moving in me, not just the quiet voice in my everyday, but the uncommon encounter of the supernatural with the created world, I get this shivering inside and I want to throw my arms wide. My eyes closed I saw bright light flooding over me. I prayed words I didn’t know needed to be prayed until I heard them coming out of my mouth. I prayed for freedom, I cried out “I know you love me Lord, YOU LOVE ME!”, I prayed for the small group for mom’s that I lead, I was praying over all our children, I prayed for curses to be broken and for freedom over all of us in this new year. I wanted to stay in that moment. Me in the kitchen, sing-crying, encountering the enormity of God’s love and hearing the Spirit’s rushing truth prayed out loud through me. The moment, that love gift from God, did end and I was standing in my teeny tiny galley kitchen with counters still to wipe. At peace, I finished cleaning, knowing what God had responded to what I had written earlier that day.
God’s response to my fear and feeling trapped was this: He will not change my circumstances (this time), but He can and will change me. Change hurts, I know this from experience, so a big part of me was bummed out when I heard this. But it’s so good, and I believe that deeply too.
Another thing about spending that time in worship and prayer was that I received a word for my small group. As someone who wants to be a pastor one day, who wants to learn to preach, that was REALLY exciting and cool. The best part is that it was a lesson I desperately needed to hear myself. And when I shared it with my group the next morning it was this amazingly relevant message to the struggles we were each having as moms. I want to write a whole other post about it, about the crazy God-logic that we don’t have to add time with Him to our already busy lives, but that we have to let go of everything except being with Him (so many ways to do that…) and the rest will be a beautiful overflow from that, and it will be so much better than when we are trying to keep all the plates spinning on our own. It was a whole thing and there were Bible verses and something Jen Hatmaker wrote and the Spirit dealing so gently with all our tired hearts. It was exciting and I think this post is already too long to do it justice. Ask me about it! Ask someone from our small group!
I’m tempted to put some kind of catchy conclusion here, but again, there isn’t one. This stuff happened, it changed me a little. A lot is still the same. It’s a day by day thing.