I had the privilege of going to watch one of my best childhood friends in a movie this weekend. She stared in a local film a couple years ago and I was able to view it as part of a flashback cinema event. My husband gave up the evening of his father’s day so I could support my friend, because he really is the sweetest.
This got me thinking about the spotlight’s I have been doing on my Facebook page, the women in my circle who are working hard to achieve their dreams and how proud I am of them. I love supporting these business owners, actresses, chefs, dreamers, and all my people who are chasing their passions. It is an honor to get to encourage them, and it is an honor I have missed out on for a lot of my life.
I am a behind the scenes woman, that is where my talent resides. I can cook, clean, watch children, and organize piles like nobody’s business. I am good at the stuff that gets overlooked and I have wrestled with that calling a lot in my life.
I’ve been jealous of the friends in my life who sing out beautifully on church worship teams, or who have a powerful stage presence. I’ve felt small and lacking next to talent and beauty in these women that I surround myself with…and it hurt. Not just me, it hurt them.
My own prideful insecurities made it hard for me to encourage them. The jealousy that tangled up my heart fanned out into theirs as well by not allowing me to cheer them on as effectively.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but jealousy rots the bones.”Proverbs 13:40
I was so eager to become a mother. It had been what I wanted since I was old enough to comprehend the possibility. The majority of my work experience has been around children and they completely fascinate me. I love their honesty and curiosity, the way they brush off fear and shame in pursuit of the truth. Children have taught me some of the deepest, most eye-opening things in my life, simply by being themselves. I was so ready to immerse myself in the lessons my children would learn and to grow along side them. On another, more selfish, level I was ready to finally stand out.
My natural gifting’s had kept me in the background most of my life and I felt that it was finally my turn to stand out. The “servant’s heart” in me was perfectly equipped for motherhood and I couldn’t wait to shine. Honestly, I wasn’t just interested in being good enough, I wanted to be the best. The competitive spirit that had laid dormant in me all these years reared it’s ugly head and pulled me into a loop of pride and anxiety.
What I hadn’t fully grasped is that a “Servant’s heart” stops operating effectively the instant it begins seeking it’s own glory.
“But it must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you, a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life-a ransom for many.”Mark 10: 43-45
I stumbled through that first year of motherhood with a colicky baby and with challenging friendships. There was anxiety, pride, and ugliness in my own heart that would bump up against friends of mine who were struggling with depression, fear, and attachment in their own hearts.
My desire to prove myself and have my time in the sun, came off as shaming at times. I had to offer apologies and lift friends out of the dirt. I realized that this competitive spirit did not belong in my motherhood. My obsession with being “better than”, meant someone else had to fail…and that is the last thing on this earth I want.
There is room for thousands of different types of good mothers and women. I can still believe that I am doing well and I am so grateful for the calling that Christ put on my life, I’m thankful for the giftings that allow me to connect with my children on a natural level. I’m honored with the title of “Mother” and I champion my friends who carry their own titles.
“I, therefore, the prisoner in the LORD, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. “Ephesians 4:1
The understanding of walking in the calling that I, personally, have received freed me to be a woman who empowers other women.
I believe, with fullness and sincerity, that I am exactly where God needs me to be right now. I am a stay-at-home-mother to two beautiful and curious children, I am involved in my church, and just stepping into the world of supplementary income. I am doing my best to support my spouse and my children in the season God has placed me. I am learning about the world and asking questions, I’m striving to be a better friend and advocate, and I’m growing deeper in my faith. I’m where I am meant to be and so are; my single friends, my friends without children, my working mother friends, etc.
The root of so much shaming in our culture is based on a desire to prove your own worth. I’ve felt it, I’ve participated. I want the world to know the value of staying home with my children and the work that I put in, that I’m not watching soap operas and lounging all day. I’m scrubbing floors, disciplining, teaching, directing, folding, cooking, supporting, serving. I’m working behind the scenes and it is glorious and worthy work, but it isn’t the only work.
God has placed a beautiful diversity in this world and our callings work together to showcase His spirit. I’m thankful for the ways He continually teaches me and softens me so that I can be a better friend, a better wife, a better mother. I’m thankful for the women in my circle with different dreams who can teach me more about Him and about myself. I’m thankful for the grace to cover all of our shortcomings and for the way he silences shame, when we open our hearts to listen.