I wrote this over a year ago, but stumbled across it today. Here’s a piece of my heart for you to read. This is why I stay, even as everybody around me goes.
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I want to be a stay-at-home mom. And I don’t mean that being a stay-at-home mom is my back-up career for when I’m done working in the office or traveling the world or pursuing my dreams. No, being a stay-at-home is my dream. It’s not my back-up plan; it’s my plan A. And not only do I want to be a stay-at-home mom, but I also want to be a stay-at-home mom who stays.
Unlike the adventurous-types who pack their bags for Europe after finishing college and have a bucket list consisting of thirty-nine countries to see before they die, I don’t want to go anywhere. I have no post-graduation traveling plans. I don’t have a long list of places to see and things to do. I’m getting ready to plan a wedding with the man I love in the city I love, and we want to build our home here even while knowing many around us are getting ready to leave.
Honestly, a part of me does want to see the world, but not as much as I want to make roots. I know this desire of mine isn’t glamorous or popular, particularly within this young generation that is busy planning study abroad trips, road trips, and mission trips. But this desire of mine… is mine.
When you’re the one who stays while everyone else goes, they’ll make it seem like you’re missing out on a grand adventure. But sometimes making roots in one place is where you feel led, and that is a grand adventure, too.
Traveling is scary and freeing and breathtaking, but sometimes so is waving everyone goodbye as you keep your feet on the ground and return to the home you’re building. Following your dreams can be the journey that changes everything, but sometimes so is letting God move through you and around you in one place and under one roof.
What a humbling act staying can be, to sit back and watch others fight lines at the airport while you fight battles within the home. You know your life won’t be as popular on Instagram as the cups of tea in India and the chapels in Italy. You’ll be buying diapers and insurance as your friends buy tickets and handwoven scarves. Staying is a humbling act that often comes with doubt and heartache when you know you won’t get the same cheers and encouragement for chasing your dreams as they do.
But when you want to make those roots as I do, you still make those roots because you know in your heart where you belong. And when the world tells you that you’re wrong and there are things waiting to be discovered, you will fight to hold on to the peace that comes from knowing you have a home too good to leave. It’d just be waiting for you to come back. You will fight to remind yourself that they might have a calling to go, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have a calling to stay.
Faithfulness to who you are is a beautiful adventure, no matter where it takes (or doesn’t take) you. You are still on a mission, an arduous journey that is filled with bumps and bruises and beautiful blessings.
For those who want to leave, you have my blessing. I understand the deep longing to see and taste the world. I know that as you step foot in foreign lands and breathe in foreign air, you may very well find a second home that brings tears to your eyes when you know you have to leave. You’ll meet people you will never forget and your heart will ache every time you remember. You’ll come home and tell the ones who stayed all about the trip and you’ll feel like they just can’t relate or don’t really care. You’ll plan to leave again and count down the days until you do, yearning for that adventure just as you yearn to live.
For those who want to stay, you have my blessing. I understand the deep longing to settle down and make roots where you are. I know that as you build a routine and pass the same sights, you may very well discover a feeling of belonging that brings tears to your eyes when you think about leaving. You’ll form relationships with people you will never forget and hopefully keep them through the years through tears and trials and pain. The ones who left will come home and you’ll tell them about your family and your fulfilling job and you’ll feel like they just can’t relate or don’t really care. But you’ll plan to stay and count all the sweet memories you’re making at home, continuing to yearn for the adventure you wake up to each day just as you yearn to live.
We both had things to say as we sat in that corner booth of Waffle House, and I found divine questions dancing behind my tongue, eager for ears to listen.
How do I know what to keep praying boldly for and persevering in? How do I know what to remain faithful to if I can’t see where God wants to do the greatest work? I asked her.
Isaiah didn’t see a single convert as he did God’s will, but did that make him any less faithful? She asked me.
. . . . . .
I don’t know many things. I hardly know anything, I should say.
I know what I desire, what I wish God would do. But I don’t know for sure if those desires are His. I don’t know for sure if big results will be reaped from my big dreams.
All I know is I keep praying and hoping. I keep thinking that holding onto these dreams says something. Look, God. I’m not giving up. I want to be faithful with this.
Will you bless me if I remain faithful? Will you let these things come to pass if I don’t cease believing and praying?
I thought maybe she would bring me divine answers in that Waffle House, but I instead walked away with a question.
Isaiah didn’t see a single convert as he did God’s will, but did that make him any less faithful?
Any less faithful than the pastors of the largest church congregations in the world, she was referring to. Any less faithful than the person with the longest list of people brought to faith by their ministry.
No, Isaiah was not any less faithful. He was obedient and bold in prayer without seeing the numbers. He knew the numbers weren’t what mattered. He knew what he had to do, whether there were visible results or no results at all.
Can I say the same thing about myself?
. . . . . .
God is calling me to be faithful.
What am I going to do with that? With just this one piece of information, this one glimpse of His plan for my life?
I’m going to be faithful. I’m going to be faithful with where I’m at and with what I have.
My life isn’t meant to be a numbers-based journey comprised of me hopping around from one success to another, looking for the greatest product of my efforts.
I’m called to a faith-based journey comprised of me trusting in God’s sovereignty and grace over each decision I make and every step I take.
It doesn’t matter how many fights we have, how many obstacles and temptations we face, how many late nights of tearful miscommunications we have — I will remain faithful to the man I believe God has brought into my life, the man I have promised to love daily and intentionally.
It doesn’t matter how many kids raise their hands during the prayer of salvation, how many attendees we have at our church events, how many things I could complain about or find fault in — I will remain faithful to this ministry with middle schoolers that God has given me a passion for.
It doesn’t matter how few people read my writing or how many followers this blog has — I will remain faithful to the burdens God has placed on my heart and the gift He has given me to share them.
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been ignored by people, how many communities I’ve been hurt by — I will remain faithful to the pursuit of others, striving to show them the same love that Christ has for me.
It doesn’t matter how many things have not yet been healed, how many prayers have not yet been answered — I will remain faithful in prayer, faithful to God and trusting in His faithfulness to me.
How long will I remain faithful to these things? Until God shows me a different way.
This is the long, arduous walk of faithfulness that is bound to take me through thorns and thistles. And this is the long, arduous walk of faithfulness that God has revealed Himself in as I find His hand ever reaching for mine in the dark.
Make me into an Isaiah, I pray. Let me be faithful, too.
You are, my child, He says. Persevere and walk on.