I've been thinking lately about how much I love being a stay-at-home, home schooling mom. I'm sure that many of my readers have guessed this fact about me.I've said it before. I can't hide it, nor would I even want to hide it. I hear people complaining about their jobs, and I cringe. I've been there. I've had more than one job which I disliked, and I've had a couple that I thought I loved until I became a mom. Then I knew that no job could compare to this gig. This is the best gig I've ever had. Most of the time, it doesn't even feel like a job. Oh, there are days when it does. Today was one of those days. Stay-at-home moms don't get sick days, and I could have used one today. Even this fact has not stolen my joy (though my children did spend a little extra quiet time in their rooms today).
I am not one of those moms who can't wait until the kids are gone or grown or away from me. I can't even relate to them when they talk to me. Why did they have children to begin with? I do enjoy time alone, of course. That's probably even an understatement. I crave time alone. I also crave time with my sweet little ones. I have found myself thinking often that they are really terrific people, and I enjoy spending time with them doing all sorts of things. I love cooking, schooling, reading, traveling, going on field trips, taking them to the mall just to play, planning parties and more with them.
Part of me is missing the toddler years when life was slower paced by necessity and we could do more of those things. Little ones require more maintenance and more time at home than bigger kids do. When they were tiny, I had to plan outings to get us out of the house. One of our favorite places was Barnes and Noble. I would get a latte, which was a pretty big treat for me back then, and then I could sip it while the kids played with the Thomas and Friends train table. It was one of our favorite outings. We rarely, if ever, need to actually plan an outing to get us out of the house. The kids are still young, 8 and almost 6 (that almost is very important this month), and it seems like we are always going somewhere or planning for the next thing. Most of the time, I don't mind this. During this season of my life, I should be devoting this time to them. We are blessed that they are able to be so involved in activities which they love. That said, I still feel the need to slow down from time to time. I often feel the need to step back and look at the things we are choosing for our family to make sure that we aren't cluttering our schedule with the wrong things or with too many good things. It's easy to do. We need balance in our lives. If time with the Lord, time for family and time for healthy habits isn't part of your daily routine because your schedule is too cluttered, well, then it's time to do some house cleaning. I believe it is healthy to give yourself this kind of check now and then. Everyone should do it.
This is the topic about which the Lord has been speaking to me lately. It isn't that the kids are over-involved or that we don't get enough family time. We do. We have seasons during which we need to be more deliberate than others, but we are very focused on family time being a top priority. The Lord has been speaking to me about creating a simpler lifestyle when we are at home. Simplicity is highly under-rated in our society, and to simplicity I shall devote myself during this year even if that means not doing some of the things that I want to do or that others in the family want to do.
Last year, the Lord gave me the word submission on which to focus, and I believe that I made great strides in becoming more submissive to both His will (I have gone as far as to tell my husband that I would willingly move to Alaska) and to my husband (not in a barefoot and pregnant kind of way, in a Biblical, God-honoring kind of way). This year, God gave me the word simplicity. Why? I'm not completely sure yet, but I have a few ideas. I think it is because I make things more difficult than they are. Perfectionism haunts my every move. I worry about every tiny detail. Is this meal healthy enough? Did I spend enough time with each child today? Am I studying the Bible correctly or spending enough time with God? Am I praying enough? Are my prayers detailed enough or too detailed? Did I say the right thing? The wrong thing? Should I have said yes (because I feel guilty for saying no) to that opportunity? You get the idea.
I also have this tendency to want to do everything as big as I possibly can. Not everything has to be accomplished in over achiever fashion. Really. It doesn't. I know this. I just can't seem to connect that knowledge with the choices I make. For example, in December I had to let go of a few things. I think God was already trying to teach me about simplicity. Due to some miscommunication and a misunderstanding, we were committed to a few more scheduled events than I would have preferred, but most of these events allowed us ministry opportunities for which I am eternally grateful. I found that the "25 Days of McEvoy Christmas" that we celebrate each year was getting crowded-out, and it really bugged me. At some point, I kind of had to throw my proverbial hands in the air and accept that we couldn't do it all, and that it was okay if we didn't do it all. We kept our commitments. We eliminated what we could. We still did crafts. We still baked too many cookies. We were blessed by each activity we had chosen. The ministry opportunities were nothing short of rewarding. We still read great stories and had wonderful family time together, and after Christmas? Well, that was the best week we've had in ages. God rewarded our diligence in serving Him with a week of rest. It was blissful. It was simple. It was much needed, and for that week, I am so grateful.
There are also those times during which I listen to outside pressures. There are people telling me that my kids need to be involved in every activity, and, once in a while, someone makes sure I know that we run around too much and allow our kids or ourselves to do too many activities. I used to feel pushed and prodded by both kinds of voices, and now I realize that neither has a place in my life. The Lord leads our family. The Lord shows us when we over-commit or when our kids need something else in their lives or when we need to be involved in a certain ministry...or not. As long as we are in tune with our Father, then these voices should not matter to us. Listening to the Father brings about simplicity in all things, does it not? I need to do this more. I need to sit still and simply listen. You know? "Be still and know that I am God." That kind of simplicity is what I need to experience more often.
I guess I didn't realize how complicated I tend to make things. Okay, so I knew I had this tendency, but I didn't realize how much it was impacting my soul and the souls of those around me, my little ones to whom I have been given charge. I don't know exactly where the Lord is going to take me on this journey toward simplicity, but I know that it will be fantastic when I get there. Maybe these things aren't even what He has planned for me to discover. Maybe it's something else entirely. Either way, I'll let you know. God has a journey for me, and I can't wait to discover the next great thing He has in store for my life.