..."popsicles on the porch"...what a great afternoon treat and our favorite way to spend time together! These are simple and precious moments! Princess #1 and Princess #2 along with Little Man #1 and #2 are my inspiration for most of these writings.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's Your Definition of Success?

What is your typical stereotype of being a stay-at-home-mom? The above photo pretty much summed up mine.

Over the years, I have met many women who knew from the start that they wanted to stay at home full time. Their dream was simply to be a wife and mother. I remember meeting some of these gals back in college and thinking to myself, “If that’s all you want to do, then why are you here?  Seriously, why are you wasting your money…or worse, your parents money.

I just didn’t get it. If I’m being real, my honest thoughts were, “man, what a waste of time, talent and money.”

There was something in me that just wanted “more.” I guess if I’m real honest, I had a lot of the world in me that simply did not esteem the stay-at-home-mom. My pride made me believe that I had more “ambition, more drive.” I had more to offer than changing diapers, wiping snotty noses and being a full time maid.

However, after the birth of my second child, God really began challenging my heart to use my time and the gifts that “He” gave me to better serve the members of my own family; to give them my focused attention…not just my leftovers.

That’s such a strong word, but in my story, it’s the truth. My attention, my heart was divided. I wanted to give 100% of myself as a mom and 100% of myself to my work. I wanted to offer the best of "me" in both worlds.
 How is that even possible? The math just doesn't add up.

Scripture says, "you cannot serve two masters." (Matthew 6:24). 

I know many might not agree and would simply assume it's just a matter of prioritizing and balancing. 
I know because I fed myself that same lie for years. 

But inevitably, one will make a choice. 

Matthew 6:24 goes on to say... “Either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” 

Sadly, in our culture today, we are all too willing to lay our families down on the altar of our success, egos, pride, greed and all of the STUFF we think we need...you name it!

As I felt God stirring my heart to stay home, I even began rationalizing the work I was doing.  Not only did I LOVE my job, but I was involved in ministry. How could that be a bad thing…right? Why would He ask me to give that up? It seemed like a God thing to me.

However, when we begin to put "every" area of our life underneath the complete authority of scripture, God has a way of really shaking things up! This is where I have been in the last several years concerning my work outside of the home and my family. He's really been shaking my world, my ideals, and etc....

In each season of my Journey, be it a student, a new bride, a new mom, a servant in God's Kingdom, and now a stay-at-home-mom and homeschooler, God continues to whisper to my heart one simple question... "Melanie, what is your definition of success?"

And just when I think I'm there, another season of life causes me to dig deeper and another layer of my heart is peeled back, exposing my sin and beckoning me into deeper waters. And again, another whisper...."Melanie, what's your definition of success, where are your affections?

As hard as it was to let go of a job that I absolutely loved, it was the best decision for my family. God has reconfirmed that over and over again. However, making this decision didn’t come without sacrifice. We had to learn to live on a tighter budget and fight the “me” mentality of bigger, better, more. 

It’s not always comfortable and I might not have all the cute home décor I want or all the clothes and shoes my heart desires.  However, as I keep my eyes on the “bigger picture,” I am able to live with a kingdom perspective and keep Him in view in all things.

In the grand scheme of things, the time we have with our children is so short. The seasons in your life will come and go. Right now is the season for me to be at home. How long you ask? I don’t know. But, I know when I step back and look at the bigger picture, this season of my life will be a blip, a moment (God willing) when compared to the rest of my life.

James 4:14 says it like this...
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
I’m am learning to stop living in the tomorrow and to seize the blessings right here before me. 

Today is the day! 

God has burned this reality in my heart and has given me such a passion and a vision for my home and family. I want to seize every opportunity I have with them to influence them and teach them to know, love and obey God.

I know many are not as fortunate to be able to stay home, particularly single parents. If you are a single parent, know that God has not forgotten about you and is first and foremost faithful and able to meet all of your needs. 

We all have different stories. God knows your story and will give you the strength to meet the demands for each season of your journey as you seek and call upon him.  For others, maybe your story is like mine. My question for you would be one I asked myself….what are you chasing? What is your definition of success? Are you fighting the bigger, better more mentality? Here is an interesting article I found online. It's worth the read!  

Today, my definition and worth in life is not defined by the position I have, the number of zeros on my paycheck or the title I hold. While great for my ego they did nothing for my soul.
I am not saying that one that has these things cannot love God. I am simply sharing my story and how God peeled back the layers of my heart to help me see my deepest desires. At the root of it all was a heart that believed I was not really anything until I had achieved all the things above. When in reality, I am everything in my maker’s eyes. So, much so that he sent His only son to die for me. 

I cared about making a name for myself and let’s face it, I desired the esteem that comes with those things. When in reality, I bare the name of my heavenly father, a daughter of the King who calls me His beloved and is preparing a place for me. I’m already royalty and it is His name I want to esteem and proclaim!

As I filter every season, every opportunity, every decision in light of scripture, my perspective has been challenged, sharpened and redefined.

Darrel Billups said, "The greatest danger in life is to succeed at things that do not matter."

How about you, what are the things you are succeeding at? And do they matter? 


The Vann's said...

Thanks, Mel! It's definitely something God is whispering in my heart as well lately as well!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I just made a comment to my husband last night that "I will never find my calling in life"...(as I pulled a botched dozen of nasty homemade cupcakes out of the oven). He said "What are you talking about? This is it!" and motioned to the house. Then he proceeded to tell me all the ways I am needed, appreciated, and gifted as a stay at home Mom. Success is about God's perspective, not the world's. Thanks again!

Terri said...

Great article Mel. I totally understand and relate :-)

popsiclesontheporch said...

Anonymous~ Sounds like you are blessed with a wonderful husband.I too am thankful for my husband who can help remind me of these wonderful truths and for the Holy Spirit that constantly challenges me. There is just so much opposition against the home these days. We moms need to know our worth, value and the important roles we play. I have never been more convinced of this truth. : ) Thanks for dropping by! ; )

Carissa and Terri~glad ya'll can relate too. Miss you girls! ; )

Jennifer said...

Stopping by from Seeds of Faith - glad I found your blog. This post really resonated with me because I have dealt with these same issues as a SAHM. One verse that has really spoken to me is this: "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Col. 3:2-3). I definitely have felt like my life is "hidden" because I'm certainly not setting the world on fire with myself, like I once thought I would do when I had more worldly ambitions. Instead, as moms, we are faithfully carrying out the greatest task we could ever have been given! Thank you sharing your heart about this!