“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.” Matthew 5:8 (MSG)
Phew. Thank goodness when I became a mom I had all my shitake together!
My baggage was neatly unpacked and I greeted my first born son with a deer in the Friday Night Lights mentality: clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.
Truth be told, my inside world was a tangled mess when motherhood found me. My heart and mind needed more cleanups than a toddler in her glory. Just when I thought I’d swept out the last crumb, a new age or stage would present new messes and reasons to 409 the inner me.
Our mom hearts overflow with love of course. But not everything stemming from the heart is pure gold. Anger, impatience, selfishness, neediness, fear, anxiety, insecurity bubbled up and out of my ticker – all fruits of a broken spirit.
My mind also needed a thorough disinfecting. The germs of worry, despair, low self-worth, and shame festered – byproducts of toxic childhood experiences.
Raising kids has a way of stirring the pot of cellular unrest. Learning to see and acknowledge the clutter inside us takes hard work. Which is why God invented S.O.S. pads I guess. Clever guy.
And his cleverness goes toe-to-toe with the wisdom instilled in his son. Jesus tells us, “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right.”
Sounds wonderful on paper. Problem lies in the execution. Our mom world ticks and tocks at blazing speed. How are we to find time to scour our spirit when running around like chickens missing a body part?
Becoming a mom changes us deeply. Our core comes into the light, revealing emotions and reactions we never saw coming. The transformation can be positive or negative.
In my case, what I learned about myself weighed heavier on the scale of for the worse. Turns out I (had) have a big ego needing a thorough wash-up. Sacks of garbage in my heart formed walls preventing abundant love to flow from and towards my family.
One such bag of waste accumulated after foregoing my career as a professional at a Big 6 accounting firm. Walking away felt amazing at first because leaving my kids with a full-time caregiver tore me up at night. Transitioning to a smaller company and working part-time created precious time with my kids during the week. After my second son was born, my company allowed me to work from home. While being around the kids everyday was a blessing, trying to find quiet time to actually do the work was a challenge.
When number three came along, daughter, I hung up the accounting pen and paper for good and became a full-time stay at home mom. God graciously provided all we needed.
At some point, the honeymoon of staying home wore off. The little foxes of insecurity and low self-worth crept into my heart. Questions like, “What is a smart woman like you staying home?” festered in my psyche.
Every time I’d hear the inevitable, “So, what do you do?” my neck muscles would tighten. An energetic, “Well, I used to be an accountant at Arthur Andersen…” always preceded a subdued, “…and now I stay home with the kids.”
Sounds shallow and pathetic on paper, but I’m daring to be honest. Please don’t get me wrong. I loved my kids with every fiber, but a piece of my heart felt lost, empty, unappreciated. My value in the world was secretly tethered to outside perceptions of my abilities.
The drudgery of endless housework washed away the prestige of working in corporate America. And webs of guilt and shame entangled my emotions every time I imagined the grass being greener on the other side of my stay at home role.
My heart and mind needed a makeover and God delivered. He didn’t speak to me through burning bushes or dirty diapers, but used beautiful, Godly friends to transform my heart.
One of my girlfriends was a self-assured stay at home mom. She showed me with actions and encouraged me with words the high calling and beautiful vocation of motherhood. She reminded me my worth and confidence comes from knowing who I am in Christ – a beloved daughter deemed worthy to be a mom.
My mindset changed from I need to be out in the world using my brain to there is no greater gift than staying home with my children. Once I convinced my brain that my intelligence as an accountant paled in comparison to my ability to love and provide as a parent, my heart transformed.
The truth is, we can’t take a career to Heaven. But we can take a healthy heart and leave a joyful footprint behind. Staying home is the greatest choice I ever made – for me. I have the utmost respect for those who manage a career and raise amazing kids – the best choice for them.
Getting right in my heart and mind opened my eyes to the outside world. And Jesus tells us the clearing out actually fills us up because, “Then you can see God in the outside world.”
A blessing much needed in our world today, help us, Jesus…
Read more from Shelby at all of her Beatitudes for Parents below:
The Reward Of Caring – (5th mantra)
Emotional Eating Vs. Spiritual Snacking – (4th mantra)
The Importance of Self Love in Mothering – (3rd mantra)
Why Emotional Losses Mean Motherhood Gain – (2nd mantra)
To The Mom Who Is At The End Of Her Rope – (1st mantra)