The itch was becoming too strong to scratch.
Almost as if I had been bitten by various mosquitoes over the years, but instead of the bite marks going away they chose to stay and linger. Some didn’t cause much fuss but others have latched on and are vying for attention.
Just when they were beginning to become unbearable, the realization of 10 years dawned on me. A whole decade had past. It has been ten years since I have been out of the workforce. I never envisioned myself to be a stay-at-home mom. My own mother and my mother-in-law raised three children each while both working full-time jobs well until into their 60s. When I became a mother, I always thought I would be working part-time doing something. But God had other plans for my life and He called me to serve in my physical home when a job I loved became eliminated nearly ten years ago this month.
Many would consider the opportunity to stay home and raise children to be an invaluable gift and rightly so, because that precious time is incredibly short and truly an irreplaceable gift. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as another hit to my already low self-esteem while restricting my role to provide purpose and worth to my family. I tried a few different ventures over the years as a way to buy myself time while attempting to contribute some sort of income to my household, but in the end nothing stuck. I was left with a familiar feeling of not being enough.
It’s a story as old as time. One that people can relate to whether they openly admit it or not. The story of questioning your purpose, of not acknowledging or accepting your role in this world, of doubting your worth and contributions, and of wondering why the heck you are even a part of this planet.
I fell into that space nearly ten years ago but didn’t really realize I was there until the beginning of this year. When my first-born daughter turned nine in January, I was hit with the reality that I had been a mom, and much more, a stay-at-home-mom, for almost ten years. Like I had mentioned above, I lost a job I enjoyed when I was pregnant with my oldest child and had struggled to find my calling ever since. Being called “mom” 24/7 made me feel like I wasn’t able to have any other calling. I never knew how much I resented my beloved position of being a stay-at-home mom until earlier this year. I know now that the reason I resented the opportunity to stay home was because I always saw myself pursuing my own dreams outside of the home. Honestly, I feel as if my time to live out my personal dreams and God-ordained passions got cut short.
In reality, my dreams got put on hold so my passions could mature and develop.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
Over the last ten years, those tiny itches have not gone away. They’ve gotten stronger and more visible. They are begging to be scratched so they can experience the redeeming power that comes with receiving a greater purpose.
But they have to heal first. Well, at least some of them do. The others may leave some scars behind while the healthy ones progress to their next purpose. They have to understand how they got to where they are so they can discover the direction in which they should be going.
This is where I find myself today – in the space between. I used to be wrestling the itches with a restless soul but time has brought me to a place of rest. Residing in a place of gratitude, I fully accept and welcome the beautiful opportunity to stay home and raise my babies as I excitedly anticipate what God has in store. I know He has something in store for my unique life because I believe He holds the future in His hands and trust He has created me for more than anything I could ever imagine. After all, these itches had to come from somewhere. I choose to believe God allowed His Spirit to “poke” and “bite” me to see if He could provoke any interest or light any fire within me.
He most certainly has.
And because those itches are growing in number, strength and intensity, I know my time to step out of the “between” and into the unknown is coming near. But for now, I will enjoy the gift of living in the space between right now and what lies ahead.
There is purpose in every space we find ourselves occupying.
“As a prisoer for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” ~ Ephesians 4:1 (NIV)