Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free To Be Me

Jack, Emma, and Kate

When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world. - George Washington Carver

Although I had heard that it was possible the more children we decided to have, I had yet to experience it for myself. But now, with my growing belly fully round and three more children trailing after me, I have begun to experience what I will lovingly refer to as the stare. And while most of the stares that have come our way during the past few months have been accompanied by smiles, it still takes me back that people now notice as my family passes by. I see them first notice my belly big with life, and then slowly begin to count my other children. And can I share with you here that the fact that we are beginning to get the stare actually brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with joy? It most certainly does. Because it means that my dream of having a big family is finally coming true. A dream that I was never sure would become a reality. And while I don't personally consider four children to be a large family, it is still one or two more children than the average American family, so it seems that people notice. And they count. And they stare. And mostly they smile.

I feel that I have come to a crossroads in my writing. So often I want to come here to share my thoughts, something deeper than what my children have been up to or how we celebrated a birthday or holiday (though those are all well and good!), but I hold back. And I fear that I hold back because I am worried about being labeled as uncommon. Uncommon in my thoughts, in my beliefs, in the way that Boss and I are choosing to raise our family. It is far more comfortable to be common. To blend in with the rest of the world. Even at thirty years old. But perhaps my growing family, and the stare are going to teach me something. Perhaps God will use this time in my life to teach me, to prepare me to walk the uncommon road, even if I do stand out. Even if I do begin to command the attention of the world. (And by world, I mean the small little world at my fingertips. People I come into contact with on a daily or weekly basis.)

Because the truth is, I am me.

* I am a Christian. And while I will not pretend to understand everything there is to know about faith, I do know that the Bible says that faith is being sure of what we hope for, and I am positively sure of what I hope for (Hebrews 11:1). And though I will admit here that I struggle with the second half of that verse, because I am not certain about what I cannot see, my hope in Christ is so much bigger than than my uncertainty about what I cannot see. I am done hiding my faith simply because I have yet to work it all out in my brain. I am done hiding my faith simply because it might make those around me (even people that I love) feel uncomfortable. And I am done hiding my faith, even if daily walking in it makes me uncommon.

* I am old fashioned in my beliefs about marriage and family. I thrive in my role as being a stay at home mother and caretaker for my children, and I do not in any way feel less than the woman who puts on her heels and heads to the office for the day (though I do appreciate a good pair of heels!).
 I see my children as being blessings from God, and I take my job of growing them up to be Godly people quite seriously. It saddens me to see so many mothers of our generation who simply tolerate their children. They love them, yes, but they do not love being with them. Often people say to me that I am so lucky to have birthed well behaved children! Ha! And while my children usually are well behaved (though my Jack is currently in the middle of quite the biting phase!), it has not been without a lot of work and time spent together. Countless hours of training and correction. And so if my love of spending my time with my children, rather than pursuing outside interests for myself, makes me uncommon, then I think I am becoming okay with that, as well.

* I love home education. And while I do not think less of others who do not keep their children at home (I have known many excellent families who have chosen many different paths of education!), home education is the right choice for our family. So often I pretend that I am indifferent to it all, so as not to make others feel uncomfortable with our choice,  to not appear to be uncommon, but I think I am done with that, too.

I am ready to embrace being me. I am ready to embrace doing the common things of life (faith, marriage, homemaking, home educating) in an uncommon way, even if others begin to take notice. Even if others feel uncomfortable with my choices or disagree.

Our church has a theme for this new year that has really challenged and inspired me: Be Seen in 2013. So for me, that means no more blending in! No more hiding what I think or feel! For me, it means being authentic. Being true to the person God created me to be. It might have taken me thirty years to find the courage, but I think I am finally ready to embrace being me. So bring on the stares.


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