Embrace The Gift

We do our very best to share our story & all that we are learning. This is not to toot our own horn but to hopefully make others feel that they are not alone in their dream or endeavor they are working towards.

Here’s what I want to share with you today: How the Lord softened my heart & opened my eyes to the idol “BEING BUSY”. Small back story – for 5 years (until this past May), I worked as a school teacher & business owner, while taking continuing ed classes, & then in 2017 became pregnant with our first baby!

I loved the rush of being busy, in demand, & having a full calendar.

It was late April & the school I was working for needed an answer. “Take your time, JP, but it would be great to know if I need to hire another teacher for next year!” my headmaster said. I felt the knot in my throat. I knew what I needed to do, but wasn’t sure that I had the strength. I love that sweet school with my whole heart. The dear women that I taught alongside are my sweetest friends & sincerest community. I couldn’t imagine life without this place!

That same night, Ryland took me to Brick Street Cafe. He knew I needed time to process & talk this through. When I sat down, I had it all worked out:

Ok, love. I am going to each on Tuesday/Thursdays. Get up at 5:00 am to grade, read, & do lesson plans. I’ll stay up late on those evenings to get a head start on working on photography emails & be in the office on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays. We only need to do shoots on select nights so that we can have family time…

Ryland looked at the napkin where I had drawn out my perfect plan. “This looks great on paper, but let’s see. When will you take Kerr to the zoo? Or when will you be able to walk with your other mama friends? What if Kerr gets sick? Can you really take a whole office day off to love & care for him? When will you be able to sit & read? Or truly enjoy Kerr? Your days are stacked!”

Ryland would NEVER tell me WHAT to do. He only asks questions, guides me, takes my hand & sincerely loves me in the moment. What a dear husband. But in this moment, I was fuming, mad, angry at him. How dare he! How could he say that to me after I decided to work my hardest for our dream? I mean, my dream? I mean – whoa. What is happening?

It hit me right there. I need to slow down & be a mom. I have to put on this identity fully. Embrace this gift. No matter how hard or strange it feels – it’s here & not changing.

I lost it right there. I cried so hard into my German chocolate cake that I think our waiter thought we were getting a divorce. It was so incredibly ugly. I’ve never lost it like that in public.

The writing was on the wall: stay home with your baby & enjoy these years because life is fleeting & short. Grow a business that you LOVE while showing your child the world. So why was it so hard for me? Why did I wrestle with contentment in staying home & being a full time mom & business owner?

PRIDE. If I were to be completely honest with you, this is the driving force in most of my decisions.

Can you relate? Do you feel it too?

The bottom line is – I didn’t want to sit in the quiet. I didn’t want to wrestle with myself, my heart, my identity. I didn’t want to wonder, “Who am I?” I wanted my identity to have a nice little bow wrapped around it: My name is JP: wife, teacher, mother, business owner …

My identity was in all of these THINGS! How could I strip myself & put on one simple, small title: “Mom”? Don’t you see me? I can rise to a challenge! Push me. Try me! I’ve always been a fighter.

But that’s not what the Lord REQUIRED of me. I was called to be quiet. I was called to stay home with our baby.

But what about my identity? Loved by my Heavenly Father. Period. What else matters? Now I can go out, love my baby, embrace our office work, text my neighbor, “Hey, Kerr is awake! Want to have a glass of wine on the porch?” & look our couples in the eyes & say “Dear friends – how can we love you?”

I am still learning how to be content & still wrestle with my identity. Some days are harder than others. Please don’t think I have it all together. That’s far from true. I look forward to sharing more on this in the coming months …

Oh friends, thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming alongside of us & loving us for who we are! We serve a mighty, generous, steadfast & faithful Father. To Him be the glory, honor & praise!

Love, JP

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