My life's theme right now is "surrender." The season I find myself in has little room for much outside of the very real, very present, very pressing priorities of my home and family.
Raising six children takes up a lot of time. Being a good wife requires concentrated attention. Keeping a house clean doesn't happen unless you work at it. Homeschooling is no "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" endeavor.
So I'm feeling a little stretched. That's where surrender comes in. I've opened my heart before God, prayed, talked with my husband, searched Scripture, waited for answers. I promised myself that when they came, I'd listen. Not in that "looking in the mirror and then forgetting your own face" kind of way ... but in the real hearing variety of listening. Tuning in. Taking it to heart. Doing it.
Then the truth started rolling in, and the "Yes, I Can!" part of me kind of wished I had never asked in the first place.
Truth: There is only so much Mary Grace ... and there are so many good thing vying for a piece of what I have available. My husband, my children, my friends, my church, the stories that clatter through my head, the reviews, the extended family, the laundry, the projects I want to complete.
Truth: The world may want me to believe that I can have it all, but I'm wise enough to know that I can't. Or am I?
So, quietly, humbled, I listened. I started shedding the weight that I was no longer meant to bear. I scaled back. Resigned from this and that. Cancelled get togethers. Informed folks that my phone time has been pared to virtually zero. Let my husband pick up the library books.
I felt free.
It lasted about three days before a well-meaning acquaintance cornered me in the grocery store and invited me--relentlessly--to her Bible study.
"I'm not committing to anything right now," I smiled, trying to back away.
"But this isn't a commitment. It's fellowship. Besides, it's imperative to be in the Word," she continued.
"I am," I assured her, "with my husband. Daily."
"But you need the mentoring of other women. It's Biblical."
"I'm fine right now," I answered.
"The only way you can contribute to other believers is by being in community."
Clearly, she didn't realize that my family's Bible studies involve more than the required two or more. She implored me to reconsider, yet again, before I lost her near the orange juice.
I returned home to an emailed invitation from a fellow mother at my church, asking me to come to a fundraiser highlighting the evils of human trafficking. It was, the email promised, a chance for us moms to "do something of value for the Kingdom." I was instantly offended ... and saddened. I realized that several of the things I had just let go were probably, in the eyes of many, of more "value for the Kingdom" than what I had held on to. What good is changing diapers? Where is the glory in teaching math? Who will remember that I pack my husband's lunch each day?
In this season, I am doing Kingdom work with every lesson I plan, every nose I wipe, every dish I wash. Keeping my eyes centered on my home allows me the freedom of not rushing, not overextending, and not burning out. The days will come again when I have more time to dedicate to outside pursuits. But not now. Right now I'm just too busy. Too busy adding value to my own family.