Several people have asked me over the last month how I’m liking my new role as a stay-at-home mom. My response? It is such a blessing. There’s really no other way to describe the last two months. Psalm 103:2 reminds us to “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits”. In an effort not to forget those benefits, I decided to spend some time reflecting on the blessings of being at home. I could write several pages as I count my blessings, but I’ll start with five.
1. God provides when you are faithful and obedient.
Before I decided to resign from teaching, my husband and I repeatedly reassured each other that God would take care of us as we jumped to one income. He has! In so many ways big and small, God has provided. Sacrifices have been necessary, but never once have we thought that a second paycheck would be better for our family than my presence at home. It is evident that God has a unique plan for each of us. For some, obedience is a career; for others, it is serving in the mission field. For me, right now, it is to be home and be available to serve the Lord and others. (Though I do miss my kids at Nemaha Central and the chance to be a part of their lives, I’m no longer missing my own kiddos at home.) God calls each of us for a unique purpose and when we follow his calling in obedience, he will provide for our needs.
2. Alayna, Camden, Kemper, and Jayla.
My children are repeatedly blessing me. Life with four kiddos eight and under definitely has its challenges, but even when chaos strikes, the calm follows. With a newborn in the house, I’ve watched Alayna become more responsible and thrive in her role as a big sister. Camden has been playing soccer; we’ve seen him grow and get better with every game loving the chance to compete. I’m looking forward to many more years watching him on the field and court. Kemper often knows just the right thing to say and can always bring a smile to my face when I most need it. His little brain soaks in so much. I love being with him every day and watching him learn. Snuggles from Jayla bless me countless times every day and in the middle of the night. I’ll take them whenever I can get them, no matter the time. It is no wonder that Jesus said let the little children come to me. They truly are gifts.
The overwhelming and immediate love that Jayla has added to our family is a blessing. Several times each day I hear a chorus of, “Can I hold Jayla?” Of course, Alayna adores her little sister and takes advantage of any opportunity to love on her. Grandmas have to fight for their turn when Alayna’s around. It makes my heart swell when Camden walks through the door after school, goes straight over to Jayla, and plants a sweet kiss on her cheek. I don’t think I could count the number of kisses Kemper gives her in a day. He is such a big helper. When I’m working on something, Kemper will run to Jayla’s crib and say, “I keep an eye on her mommy.” Jayla does not lack for hugs, kisses, or love.
4. God’s love.
When I think about the love we all feel for Jayla, I think about the love our heavenly Father feels for us. How amazing to think that our love for this sweet little baby pales in comparison to the Father’s love for us. He was willing to give up his Son, to watch him suffer a miserable death on the cross so that we can be called his children. Amazing love!
How do you know that you are doing what the Lord asks? You feel at peace. There’s no better way to describe this feeling in my soul. Daily walks with Kemper and Jayla in the wagon behind me, the smell of fresh-baked bread filling the house, greeting my kids when they get off the bus so that I can be the first to hear about their day, conversations with my husband without a computer or gradebook on my lap – these are the moments I missed when teaching full time. It’s peace, not perfection. I still have a to-do list that never seems to get done, I still don’t get eight hours of sleep (though I much prefer Jayla being the cause rather than grading or lesson-planning), and my house still isn’t as clean as it could be. We still have chaos, but inside that chaos is the peace of knowing, without a doubt, that this is what God wants for us. I pray that I continue to feel that peace as he reveals each step of his plan for me moving forward.
Lord, thank you for the many blessings you have provided. Help me not to take them for granted. Thank you for the way you take care of us. I pray, Lord, that others are able to find peace by being obedient and following your will for them.