Faith · Motherhood

A follow up to “I want to quit my job, by a SHM”.

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…

This is the overflow pile from the double sinks filled with dishes. The struggle is real. 

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.


5 thoughts on “A follow up to “I want to quit my job, by a SHM”.

  1. Thank you for being so real in your responses. As a woman who is much older than you, I’ve been where you are. I’ve been with the dishes stacked tire in my head, the trash cans overflowing, the laundry and piles everywhere, and the noses needing to be wiped. Today as I sit in my tiny house with my laundry all done and just my schoolwork waiting, things are very quiet. The little ones are grown and had have or will have babies themselves. And I need Jesus just as much today as I needed him back when my life was crazy. My life is crazy just in different ways and my need for God is great. I long for more dancing in the kitchen, squeezing my eyes shut experiences. I find that usually come when I am least expecting them. When the weight of the world seems that it is about to crush me. That’s when his release is the sweetest.

    These crazy days with busy family will quickly pass, but your need for God will never diminish. Perhaps the felt needs will change, but the desperation, never.

    1. Thank you for this beautiful reply Priscilla. I am encouraged by your wisdom of experience! And that last idea, “the felt needs will change, but the desperation, never”, how powerful. I just watched a video where a worship leader shared a similar idea, she said “I realized I shouldn’t despise my desperate need for God”. It is desperate but in God’s kingdom that is a beautiful, holy thing that leads back to Him! Upside down God logic =)

  2. The destination is important, and so is the trip. Anticipate what’s coming, and enjoy the ride today. I think that’s what you did in the dishes-piled-high kitchen. 🙂

    Seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness
    . . .
    And then everything else will be given to you as well.
    Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
    Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Amen to that, eh?!)

  3. Hi Ash, In Matthew 7:6, Jesus says, ““Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” This is right after he talks about not judging. I just happened to read this passage in my personal devotions this morning. One thing I noticed is that is comes right after, almost “with”, the teaching about not judging. So, is it a juxtaposition, or a mystery, or a call to case-by-case discernment? Of course, it’s most probably, all 3.  🙂 Anyways, as I was reading your “worrying” about how your blog might affect your non-Christian friends, I recalled the “throwing pearls to pigs” verse. I felt a bit uneasy as I read your blog, because it really did seem like you were totally letting people into your “inner sanctum”. However, I remembered that I am a coward when it comes to this stuff; I have battled most of my life against an odious default reaction to desperately do anything I can to avoid possibly offending people. I tried to take that into account as I was processing my uneasiness, and I know some of this is “my problem”, so please keep that in mind as you read this. However, I wanted to mention this to you as something to consider when you write about deeply personal stuff. An example of what I’m thinking is that perhaps in an email, or a blog with restricted circulation, you could share the really intimate details, the “pearls”, and then in your public blog, you could share something less detailed. For example, in a public blog, you could write something like, “It was a deeply spiritual experience, a time of singing to God and praying and being in His presence, and it changed the kitchen time from drudgery to joy.” That would still probably be offensive or annoying to some people, but at least it wouldn’t be sharing your precious, intimate pearls with people who cannot, or will not, appreciate them for what they are. I loved the blog, and I loved reading about your experience. I’ve had a few of those over the years. In fact, I had a “mini one” as I was going to bed a few nights ago, I was complaining to God that I was so busy I had forgotten a really important point that had come to me during my devotions and now I was in danger of not remembering it and not getting it written down in my journal. Instantly, the idea came back to me, and I lay down laughing and thanking the Lord and pointing up to Heaven to say, “Yah, You’re the One! Thank you, Father!” (Rather hilariously, I still haven’t written it down in my journal, and I can’t remember right now what the point was. But at the moment it was very significant that God dealt with my complaining by graciously answering my unspoken prayer to help me remember.)  :-)) Tons of love,Dad

    From: There is enough and we are capable of nuance To: Sent: Sunday, January 24, 2016 4:15 AM Subject: [New post] A follow up to “I want to quit my job, by a SHM”. #yiv9831764030 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv9831764030 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv9831764030 a.yiv9831764030primaryactionlink:link, #yiv9831764030 a.yiv9831764030primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv9831764030 a.yiv9831764030primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv9831764030 a.yiv9831764030primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv9831764030 | Ashlee C. posted: “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 alienat” | |

    1. Hey dad,

      You made me ponder! I appreciate both your wanting to protect me and your reminder about Jesus’ teaching on the tension between not judging and not over sharing. As I mulled over what you wrote I wondered why I sometimes also react that way to other people’s sharing. Sometimes reading or hearing someone’s deeply personal stories can be lovely and create intimacy, other times it can be incredibly uncomfortable for the listener, and make us feel worried for the person sharing. Aside from context (is the situation appropriate for sharing?), I think it has to do with the sharer’s own confidence and peace with what they are sharing. If I were to write about my Holy Spirit encounter with God from a place of feeling defensive, or feeling unsure about it, I think that would be throwing my pearls away. And when people publicly share intimate things but they want to control the reactions of their audience, if they will be really wounded if people don’t react how they want them to, I think that is an indicator that they should not have shared in the first place. They should’ve kept what was precious closer to themselves.

      But when I wrote about caring how non-Christians would react, it wasn’t because I thought their reactions could affect me (someone’s mocking or disbelieving my encounter would not diminish it to me, I am confident in what happened between me and God, I am confident in my faith being a real thing, and I am mostly at peace with a world that would call me foolish for such things). My concern was more that people who I love having as a part of my online community would suddenly feel unwelcome because I was sharing more “out there”, inexplicable, leap-of-faith kinds of things. And I wanted to make it clear that I don’t just want people who agree with me or believe the same things as me to be my friends. That even if someone wanted to disprove what I was writing, that is ok with me because I am choosing to put it out there and I am confident in it and I don’t think people need to agree to be friends. Now if someone were to be abusive I wouldn’t be a doormat either, I would put up a healthy boundary.

      I do agree with you that sharing intimate details needs to be carefully thought out, there needs to be prayerful wisdom. I also think there needs to be a reason for sharing (outside of the context of close friendship, like marriage or counselling or with your best friend, when sharing for the sake of processing and keeping abreast of each other’s lives is great!). I don’t intend to blog about every intimate encounter with God, but this time it was salient to something I had previously written and describing the meeting of the mundane and the holy seemed important to illustrating who God revealed himself to be in that instance.

      I am still learning but I am already very intentional about what I do and do not share on social media, whether my blog or Facebook. I only share heart-things if I am prepared to deal with the full range of responses that people can have, and if I can be at peace with what I know to be true even if others disagree. As a writer and a storyteller I think I am also called to be share more publicly than others would be. I have a deep respect for private people but I am not a private person. I am also learning to be ok with who God made me to be, which is someone who openly, where people can see it all; someone who wants to bring people along on my journey – I think it’s the compulsion of a writer and a pastor’s heart mixed together. Please keep praying wisdom over me as I grow into these roles, that I would be so wise in each sharing situation and that I would protect myself from needless hurt and discouragement.

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