Yep, I’m a mom. I’m a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). I’m a h.o.m.e.s.c.h.o.o.l.i.n.g. mom. I’m also a Pastor’s Wife: newbie (under 5 years) pastor’s wife.
Every time I say or write these “labels” I experience a dichotomy. In one sense, I feel a host of mostly negative emotions. There are SO many stereotypes attached to these labels and I am well aware of that. I’m even guilty of placing these stereotypes on others (eek, sometimes even myself). I am just a stay at home mom who is either too proud or too unaware to utilize our public school system. *Ouch* I am probably out of touch with reality, over-concerned about the well-being of my children, and not self-actualized enough to pursue my dream job. *Ouch-ouch* I am probably ultra conservative and closed minded because I’m immersed in church world, after all I also went to Christian College. I am most likely quite naive about most things. I am sheltered and more sensitive to the moral gauge of choices before me. I am unrelatable and closed off. *Ouch-ouch-ouch*
Let me be clear. I do not nor will I chose to believe that these kinds of stereotypical phrases are true. These labels do not define me. They are merely descriptions of what my life is like right now. That’s all they are. But if I’m brutally honest, there are definitely moments that I fear what other people think, how I appear to others, and how I really measure up to the stereotypes that are out there. After all, I’m human too.
The other end of the dichotomy is joy, wonder, astonishment, excitement, and hope! There’s your positivity vibe for the day. I AM a mother, I DO stay at home and homeschool. I am actually doing it. I’m a bit surprised it’s been going pretty well too! What can I attribute my “success” to? Maybe not to what…but who? God has placed a uniqure calling in my heart. God has brought me on this journey to where I am today. I am only doing this because HE lead me here and has equipped me to fulfill this calling. The “success” is His, not mine.
I am nobody special! I am pretty average. I’m just another sinner like everyone else. I’m just another mom blogger (shout to other mom bloggers! Let’s be friends – no really I mean it!). I have no spectacular achievements, no unusual giftings, no talents that other people lack. No formal education that the average Jane doesn’t already have (I really did love my college experience though, so no regrets!). I am simply ordinary. And you probably are too. And if I start to think I am some special person who has lots of special things to offer, I’m probably getting ahead of God and not following in Jesus Christ’s HUMILITY. I need to remind myself of this often, because the sin nature in me wants me to believe I am someone special when in reality I’m not. And that’s okay! I think that’s where God wants us.
My husband once said in a sermon (YEP…I’m quoting my pastor hubby in a blog post for the first time, stereotype me all you want), “God uses ordinary people. If you’re just ordinary, that’s good! Would you rather be special or be used by God?” He was preaching on Matthew 4:18 on the Call of Christ. Jesus called plain old fishermen to drop their nets and come! His disciples were average guys. All throughout Biblical history we see God choosing to work in and through people who are average, ordinary, unaccomplished, unqualified, and unprepared. What made these people extraordinary is that God used them in His beautiful redemptive story.
So, average and ordinary Jessica can be a mom, and homeschool, and be a pastor’s wife! If I can do this, so can you. I can be a stay-at-home mom and a homeschooling mom who breaks some of those stereotypes. I don’t really know what I’m doing, I didn’t feel as prepared as I would have liked, I do not believe I am qualified for these roles whatsoever! But it’s not about me! I am empowered by Christ to fulfill my calling. Right now, my calling is to be a pastor’s wife and to homeschool our children. How do I know that’s my calling? Because that’s where I am right now. Maybe my calling will look a little different 5 to 10 years from now, but right now this is where God has placed me and I can do it because He is the one who placed me here. And you know what, so far, it’s been working out just fine, I even still have my sanity. I believe that is God’s blessing for stepping out in faith and responding to His call.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20
I need to remember that the little people who call me mom are the ones I am primarily discipling right now. Of course I want to fish for other people too, but their little hearts are the ones I get to be with everyday. Oh, how I continually need God’s help and reminding to drop my nets and follow Him. I need to forget about the stereotypes and labels, forget about the fears, forget about the things I might be attached to, forget about the ideas or dreams that don’t help me make disciples, and I need to follow Him. I hope that by calling out these stereotypes and labels I can be used by God to build His kingdom. I want God to use me in the lives of our children and in the lives of others for good. That is my hope and prayer. I want my legacy not to be about me or the roles or labels I carry, but about Jesus.
Do you feel like you are sometimes pressured (whether internally or externally) to measure up to a certain stereotype or label? Let me know in the comments below.