Full Time

I'm starting back to work full time this week. It's hard to believe that 11 weeks have passed since we left to get Judah and Addise in Ethiopia.

I have to say, I have mixed feelings about being a full-time pastor and a full-time mom. I grew up with a stay-at-home mom. She was ever-present to my needs, always available, packed my lunch before school, was always home after school. My mom is present in my best childhood memories. In many ways, my mom's life revolved around her three offspring. Most of the women I knew growing up were stay-at-home moms. That was my normal. That was the picture I was presented of what a wife and mom did. Period. Several of my best friends today are stay-at-home moms.

Conflict. So you can understand my conflict that that will not be the picture my kids grow up with. I will most likely never be a full time stay-at-home mom. I don't think I'm wired that way. I also whole-heartedly believe that I'm called to this work of next generation and orphan advocacy. I love it. Beyond words. During my 10 weeks of maternity leave, I found myself longing for leadership challenges, meetings, lunch appointments, budget problem solving, event planning, and the like. Yet I also loved staying at home in my pjs and loving on my babies.

Tension. I will forever live in that tension of being a working mom. I've chosen to embrace that tension.

Choice. I'm grateful for the choices we have today as women to do whatever we want. My good friend and mentor, Kara Powell, has privately told me, "I believe you can have it all, but you can't have it all, all the time. Some days you'll be a great mom and a less-than-ideal employee, and other days the opposite will be true." I've found great comfort in that reality. I've already felt that on both sides of the coin. I'm grateful that I'm surrounded by a broad range of womens' working and parenting choices. I've learned what I want from each of them. It's deeply informed the kind of family and life Brian and I have agreed to to live.

Nancy Ortberg has also said something to the effect that "a child cannot find their dreams without seeing their mother live their dream." She's also more poignantly said what kids most need is an obedient mommy. It would be disobedient for me not to do what I do.

This past weekend I left my kids for the first time. For 30 hours. I spoke at an event in Dallas to about 500+ youth workers on what makes faith stick in kids beyond high school. As I traveled and spoke, I felt even more strongly about living in this tension of obediently being the best mom and best pastor I can be. I have to do both. And I believe God will enable me to do it...with lots of grace. Grace for me. Grace for our kids.

I think I'll need to post more on this subject matter. I'm getting LOTS of questions from women who love Jesus deeply and love their kids fully, but are caught in this tension. I'd love to share more of what I've learned, and as I move forward mistakes I'll undoubtedly make. Stay tuned...

So on the days when I can't be with my kids,
I'm grateful to receive pictures from Brian, such as this one,
which include me on the moments that I miss
.