A friend recently came over to talk with me about a new book we are reading together, but we never really made it to the topic of the book ... instead we started talking about life. Being a mom of little people is HARD. Contentment? What's that? Nothing seems to be going like I want it to in my life right now. I feel completely out of control and chaotic all the time. After awhile she brought up something that she was once told when her kids were young: God gently leads those with young. It's true! You can look it up!
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
Sometimes I really wish God would put up a big flashing neon sign in my front yard so that when I woke up in the morning I could look out and I would know exactly what I was supposed to do with my day. He doesn't do that of course, but that doesn't mean he isn't leading me - showing me what to do.
Let me give you an example: I teach private lessons out of my home studio. And it's not an easy job like some might think. Sure, I go to work by stepping out of my house into my renovated garage and my children are just a closed door away. And yes, I get to set my own schedule and my own fees. And of course, I adore music, so it's pretty awesome that I can do it for living... but it's not just those things... it's also really hard to be away from my kids when they get home from school and need help with homework and a snack and chores. I am not always able to know what my week's schedule will be because students have their own scheduling problems. And I work so hard to build a solid studio, but I can't control who signs up and who stays for the long-haul. And it can be really discouraging at times... especially when my enrollments aren't where I want them to be! This year has been a lot of that last part: discontentment with my enrollments. Last week I had a brand new student - who hadn't even attended her first lesson - quit!
But you know what?
That very same day I received an email from a current parent, thanking me for being an amazing teacher to her daughter! So... what's the take-away from that? Well... maybe it's that I AM NOT IN CHARGE of who comes through that studio door. And maybe the amount of students that I have is exactly the amount that I should have. Because maybe the key to contentment is to not be stressed out! The way things are now, I can still be with my kids several days of the week to read to them and bake muffins for them and help them vacuum the carpet.
It's not a flashing neon sign but I think I have finally "seen the light!" God is gently leading. He guides the circumstances, closing some doors and opening others. He is reminding me that this is just a chapter of my life. Right now my children are young. They need me too. Maybe someday I will have a huge studio with tons of students. But right now I have been given the gift of still doing what I love, while being able to easily continue in my roll of stay-at-home mom! Working and being a Mom doesn't have to be hard. If God is being gentle with me ... maybe he doesn't want me to be stressed out. Maybe he wants me right where he has me. Doing this. And being okay with it.
So if you are someone with young and you feel out of control and frustrated with what you are doing day-to-day, look for the ways that God is gently leading you. I truly believe that he is putting you in the places you need to be to help you focus on the important stuff.
Just yesterday (one of my non-teaching days!), while working on canning applesauce, I looked out my window and saw my oldest (12) with my youngest (1) taking a walk with a buddy and the stroller. I didn't ask him to do it. He loves his baby brother and he has learned how to make him happy when mom is busy (like when I am teaching!) and he is able to take care of him for me. What more could I ask for? I can be a teacher. I can be a mom. And our family is learning how to make it work.
Thank you, God, for gently leading me to the students I should have, to the schedule I need, and for showing my children how they can love each other and help me and Daddy do what needs to be done. Thank you for being gentle with me. And thank you for helping my children to be gentle with each other. You're a good, good Father.
Make me a good Mother.