What do you want to be when you grow up? This is a question that every child is asked throughout their years of childhood, the answer to which may change from year to year as they develop and mature. I remember the many answers I had to this question during my own growing up years: singer, writer, teacher, actress, veterinarian (only for a short time until I realized I would actually have to do things that involved blood and needles, not just play with animals all day)! While many things from this list still ring true to the passions of my heart, there is one answer that has always been deeply rooted inside of me, unchanging amid the many changes of childhood and adolescence. What do you want to be when you grow up?—a Mommy!
As a teenager I would have told you that my ideal life scenario would be to marry a pastor and be a stay-at-home mom. I envisioned the beauty and romance of being married to a godly man and ministering together, raising adorable and well-behaved children, and being a model homemaker as I spent my days in the bliss of motherhood—reading books, singing songs, baking cookies, making crafts, playing imaginative games, etc…In my mind it was a picture of true contentment, my “happily ever after” if you will.
This was my dream at sixteen. I am now thirty-one, and by most outward appearances I am living my dream. I did marry a wonderful and godly man. In our early years of marriage we were involved in youth ministry together. For the last two years he has been ministering in a pastoral role at the small church we helped to plant. He also has the opportunity to pastor young hearts in his new job as special education teacher at one of our local middle schools. I love him and respect him, proud of the man he is and is becoming. I am privileged to be a stay-at-home mom for our two precious children and believe that in time there will be more to come. I do spend my days reading books, and singing songs, and rocking babies, and cooking meals, and keeping house, and the list goes on and on… Yet in the midst of these blessings, I’ve had to come face to face with the restlessness of my own heart. For one thing, when I was sixteen I didn’t always take into account the amount of hard work and monotony that actually comes with maintaining a marriage, raising a family, and keeping a home. I also didn’t fully take into account that no dream fulfilled, no matter how beautiful or noble, can truly satisfy my heart—only Jesus can.
I was talking with my husband in the car awhile back and sharing with him some of the struggles I was experiencing. I was feeling lonely in my role as a homemaker. I was feeling disappointed that I was limited in the activities I could be involved in, especially at our church. I was feeling discouraged thinking I was missing the mark in almost every area of my life. I felt like I was somehow “missing out.” As is often his advice, Shawn exhorted me that I needed to ask the Lord for His perspective on things and allow Him to change my paradigm. Somewhere in the midst of this I recognized the irony of my own woes and had to laugh at myself. You said you wanted to be a pastor’s wife and homemaker. God has given you the desires of your heart!
Recently the Lord has been bringing me wonderful encouragement concerning my role and calling as a mother. Some of it has been through the heartfelt writing of other moms, some has been through spoken testimonies, and some has been through His own whisperings to my heart. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 19:14). He has been lovingly reminding me of things I’ve known to be true but have sometimes lost sight of in the midst of the busyness and demands of each day. Mothers are given the extraordinary responsibility and privilege of raising up the next generation of world changers. We are called to nurture, teach, and disciple the little ones who are to inherit the Kingdom of God. Our words and actions are forming our children’s earliest framework for how they will view God; we are called to be a representation of His heart! We are entrusted with stewarding, for a season, the lives of the very ones who hold such immense value in His heart. These are the ones He created, the ones He poured out His blood to redeem, the ones who have been in His heart for all eternity. Motherhood is a high calling, but it is a calling that must be walked out in the ordinary, mundane, everyday issues of life. It is also a calling that can only be fulfilled as I set my heart to love and worship Jesus in midst of these very things. This is where true life and contentment is found.
We all have different dreams, but the truth is, no matter how big or small a dream may be, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary it appears, a dream in itself is powerless to bring lasting contentment, and it is ultimately meaningless if it is not rooted in relationship with Jesus Christ. There have been many great accomplishments in the eyes of man throughout history that will be forgotten in eternity. Yet there have been many simple, hidden lives, unnoticed by the world around, loving Jesus wholeheartedly and faithfully serving in the situations of everyday life that will be remembered and celebrated in heaven. This gives me great hope and renewed vision for how I want to live my life in this season and every season. When I focus my heart on Jesus in simple love and worship as I sweep Cheerios off the floor for the second time today, or as I change another dirty diaper, or as I sing “The Wheels on the Bus” for the hundredth time, it is noticed and remembered in heaven. When done in love of Him, no task is insignificant, and it carries the promise of eternal reward. And as I speak words of life and destiny into my children and shower them with love and affection as we go throughout our very natural days, I am helping to paint a portrait for them of a supernatural God Who loves them crazy and has called them to be His own.
Yes, being a wife and mother is a dream come true, but the greatest dream of my heart is to be a whole-hearted lover of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to grow in the knowledge of Him. It is only in the pursuit of this dream that I can be the wife and mother He has called me to be. This is the dream that must consume all other dreams. This is my true dream of happily ever after!