We had a fantastic 2009. DH finally… finally… saw God move and bring him to a place of ministry that is a perfect fit for him. And when God did that for DH, he also did it for me. You see, I love the church as much as my husband does. Did you hear that? I long to love on her people, serve them, walk alongside them, teach them and see them grow as much as he does. But because I was born in the skin I’m in and because of the tradition I grew up in, I went 32 years before I thought a woman could do those things and still be hanging out in God’s will.
Skipping the long story of all that.
After moving 1300 miles to do this thing that God finally gave us a green light to do, I found myself in a bit of an identity crisis. Because when all was said and done and the boxes were unpacked, dh was finding his groove, and we’d plugged into various places, I still found myself to be the same thing I was when this all started… a homeschooling mom.
Wait! What happened to “becoming myself?” Is this what “myself” looks like? I’ve been doing this for 8 years. Through the entire ordeal of wandering through life, I have been this identity to the core. When it comes to creating learning objectives for my boys, I can fly by the seat of my pants flawlessly. “Well-oiled” describes my prep and planning exactly. I can homeschool in my sleep.
The thing is, I prepped for something more. I’ve prayed for something more. I am one of those pastor’s wives that shares her husband’s ministry 90% (because I don’t know anything about his private counseling times). But I’m not doing the thing that I want to be doing… not even 10%.
Thus, my identity crisis. It’s not been a negative experience. It’s been a time of soul searching and that has been good. It’s been a time of figuring out who God created me to be from the beginning, not just since I had these three perfect little men.
Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneira’s book Mama’s Got a Fake I.D. is the plumb line that helped me find my balance. I’ve always known I could be more than just a homeschooling mom but because the hs’ing world really does teach us to forsake everything save our children I didn’t want to rock the boat. (I already wasn’t your typical home educator.) Now, I’m focused on meeting the needs of my family, rather than just my children. In this new equation I get to be included! It may mean looking into other educational options. That's okay. I'm still open to God's best for my family.
“All of us, at one time or another, beat ourselves up because we don’t match some stereotype – instead of focusing on the gifts God gave us to raise our kids as he wants them raised.” I feel that as a home educator I have been using those gifts, but I’ve also let other gifts go unpracticed -- like the one I spent 5 years and all my money to major on in college...and the ones I fostered in 5 years of seminary. I’m not satisfied to let it go anymore. Caryn’s book gave me permission to be who I am, but be it fully. That’s freeing stuff. “Giving up our identities isn’t doing anything for our kids. In fact it does them a disservice.”
Mamas, go buy this. Read it. Chew on it. And let your frustration turn a corner to feed your own personhood and perspective.