14 Mar 2017

You are the best parents for your child(ren): the real reason why I stay home

The real reason for things isn't always at first clear.

I always thought I chose to stay home because I grew up missing my mom who was busy with making ends meet and tending to a rambunctious brood of eleven.

Then of course, I thought it's about my vision for family life that was cultivated over the years, reflecting on what I lacked and what God speaks of in His Word about a new order and a new way.

Later, I felt strongly that the choice, not hard at first, but harder as the years go by (due to tiredness, seeing friends move so much 'ahead', not quite using some of my gifts), was about learning to live the cost of my convictions.

But today, the real reason suddenly presented itself to me.

God was making His home in me as He journeyed with me to make a home for my small family.

I am not sure what you feel as you read this. Maybe read it again?

Did you get that? Staying still, being small, all those feelings of insignificance, seemingly missed opportunities, living with less, trying to be true to my calling and gifts... all of what feels like loss has led to my greatest gain.

I am at home with God my Father, I know the experience of His being present, alive, living in me. I feel a security that no one else can assure me of. There is a largeness and largesse that no success or rank can offer. 

"The very credentials.. I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash - along with everything else I use to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I thought i had going for me is insignificant...so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him" ~ Philippians 3v7-9  The Message Bible

Contrary to popular notions that says the SAHM is a frustrated woman with a dour, shriveled existence, I have grown large and deep, enough to welcome the Maker. He is not a rare visitor, the A&E (or ER) paramedic that comes running. He is not an ethereal sensation. He is right here, right now, happy to be at home in and with me. I have harvested the fruit of persistence, patience and resilience through the many repetitive, humdrum days and nights. I have seen the fruit of wisdom grow in my life.

It takes a special grace to see that God is with us in the mundane (we are so silly to always connect the Divine with the spectacular, I mean, earth is exciting, but God has the entire Universe people!). He chose to come live among us didn't He, and said He would always be with us.

It takes a special Grace to sense God's working in what seems to be so little, so simple, so slow.

It takes a special Grace to fight the trends and voices all around, and eventually get to the place that you recognize the Voice that really matters.

And staying home, where there seems so little stimulation, where you may be craving better food and conversation, is like an extended time of solitude for God to come by, if we would invite Him to. 
Some of us are called to bear heavy crosses: finances are thin, we have many dependents, there may be chronic illness, special needs. But so many of us take upon ourselves crosses the world hand to us: a certain lifestyle, rank and reputation, title and titillation.

What if God gave us children to ask us to break away and enter a new way of life with Him?

What if it's about learning to see God's smiles in our children's?
What if it's about enlarging us as we pray desperate prayers when those tears don't stop and the night drags on?
What if counting pennies creates in us contentment and generosity?
What if walking at the pace of a distracted two-year-old and answering the endless 'why's?" is how God is walking with us?

When the days are long, and I recall that there is no retirement or exit clause in parenting, my heart goes out to those mothers who have to work 100% and parent 100%. The work ethic is Singapore is so punishing at times, I see parents everywhere not really attentive, present or engaged with their children, or with their own souls. What losses are we suffering, in our lives, our homes and as a society?

The world has recently been reeling from violence, first, from terror, then from horror. The latter is seeing unfit leaders assume office and perpetuate unwholesome ways of leadership, which will become the subtext of how societies do life in time. What is going on? I talked with my Filipino helper who lives with me, her two daughters still back home in the Philippines. While most employers want to get a good deal out of their worker, and I do expect good work, I am even more concerned for her daughters. I wondered if the generations of absent mothers and fathers have led to so much crime in their society. Sadly, even educated Filipinos don't see that the solution is not a hacksaw that perpetuates the language and habits of violence. Lives are treated with such disdain, what a travesty of God's Will, in a land that claims to be religious no less.

We know that we live in an inter-dependent world. But we the richer ones are often the takers. I may overstate, but it is crazy if we contribute to another society's breakdown while trying to do good by giving away material things or going on mission trip, boosting our spiritual egos. These are hard and real issues. And no one has time for these deeper things if we are all drowning in our eyeballs with grasping and grabbing.

Suddenly, the reality that the family is the basic unit and building block of a society hits me with fresh force. The question is,

Is anyone home?

1 comment:

  1. I love this Jenni. Spoke straight to my heart, something that my sinful and materialistic heart questions my current ‘job’ as a stay home mum now. There are days when I thought of the holidays we can go, things we can buy etc if I were working. But I think there is so much more He has taught me (and is teaching me) from staying home. Thanks for this wonderful article!


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