Okay, I am going to date myself as an “older”mom of preschoolers. One of the tapes (yes, tapes) I remember listening to often in high school was Michael W. Smith’s album “The Big Picture.” One of my favorite songs was “Pursuit of the Dream.” Here are some of the lines. There are roads to discover/There are stories yet to be told/ As you see the big picture /Just beginning to unfold. I remember listening and feeling full of hope for the future. Many of my dreams have come true. I became a teacher, then a wife and now a mom. This is probably the same for many of us. What do we do dream about when our dreams have already come true? How do we manage to be content in being a mom and REALLY enjoy it while still planning for the “more” that God does intend for us down the road? I know that I will look back and see that mothering was one of the most important parts of my life, but if I do live a long life, I want to know that my journey didn’t stop there. That I continued to dream.
Sometimes we have to figure out where we aren’t supposed to go to clarify what is a realistic dream. When I had only one child, I remember going into a wool shop that was just lovely. I was enamored with the idea of making beautiful projects for my family. Then thankfully I remembered that after taking 4-H and home ec 2 1/4 times, all I can do is sew on a button. Probably wool working would not be a good fit for me. Then I thought about taking cake decorating classes, so I could learn how to make cakes for people. But once I tried to make a lego cake for my oldest as a birthday surprise, and he thought it was an igloo. Taking classes would probably improve my abilities but not enough to turn me into a professional. Especially since details are not really my thing. While neither pursuit would have been wrong, neither pastime really fits in with my skill sets, the way that God wired me. I think that in the age of Pinterest, we can suddenly find ourselves going down lots of bunny trails – getting distracted by what we think that we should be doing, rather than enjoying who God made us to be for His glory and who He made us to be for the sake of our families.
I am a reader. Maybe you guessed this. 🙂 My life has always felt better when I have been in the midst of a good book, with another one waiting on the shelf. (In second grade, I won a free book in my teacher’s monthly reading contest. Then I was no longer allowed to participate, since I read far more than my friends – I would have always won.) I read often to my students as a teacher and had bookshelves crammed with good books. Now that I am no longer in a classroom, I have to take classes to keep up my license. Through this process, I have come to the conclusion that I want to become a reading specialist – to help kids with reading. A natural fit for me.
While my husband has offered to let me go that direction now, I have decided that is a someday dream. Since part of my mothering involves homeschooling right now, I would not be able to keep with taking classes and teaching classes full-time. To really go after becoming a reading specialist would necessitate cutting my mothering dream short. And I am definitely unwilling to do that.
Yet I consider myself to still be pursuing that dream even now. I have decided that this is my research phase. In order to be specialist in reading, you need to be familiar with books. My favorite part of the day is definitely reading with my own kids – my teaching revolves around books and necessitates weekly library trips. After several years of doing this, I already have formed multiple book lists, noting the best books of different themes. Lists that I may be able to use in my “formal” schooling someday, but even if I decide not to pursue becoming a reading specialist, my time has not been wasted. Many of my lists have already been passed on to other moms. But most importantly, my research has been done while reading to the group of 4 kids that will always be my favorite audience. That time spent reading with my kids will always have been worth it!
What can you do today with your kids to pursue a direction you may want to go in the future? Including my kids in my pursuit is easy – pursuing your passion with your kids may be a bit more challenging. But with some creativity and planning, you should be able to find a way. A way to plan for the future while living in today.
One bit of advice that is helpful I discovered in Elizabeth George’s book, Life Management for Busy Women. She encourages women to keep up with “five fat files.” Five areas of service/ life/Bible subjects where you want “to purposefully grow.” Then begin to research. When you have time to read a book, read on one of those subjects. Start collecting information – store it in a paper or online folder, so you can reference it again. Five folders may be too much – maybe pick 2-3 subjects that interest you. By being focused on a few areas, you can become an “expert.” God can use your knowledge to bring blessing as you naturally begin to share your passions with others. For me personally, besides learning more about children’s books, cooking is another interest (especially freezer meals). I also pursue annually reading through the Bible – the more I read the Bible through, the more I understand His Word and can explain it to my children first and possibly to others.
If you have a way that you have been able to continue to pursue your dream while enjoying being a mom, I would love to share your story as well. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Depending on the response, I will write a follow-up blog or post your encouraging thoughts on our Facebook page. Even as moms, we can still find a way to take steps to pursue our dreams. To find a way as Tracy Bianchi puts it to find “where your greatest passion and the world’s greatest needs collide.” During our “just a mom” phase, God can be preparing us just as we are preparing our kids to seek Him even more.
Last week in our school, we learned more about William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions. While beginning to work at a church in England, he also supported his family as a shoemaker, his first trade. Rather than being “stuck” during this time, he continued to strive for personal growth. He discovered he had a propensity for languages and taught himself six different languages over the course of seven years. This led him to speak at a missions board and eventually led to his call to India. Over the course of his time there, he helped to translate the Bible into 40 different languages – 212,000 copies had been sent out to people before his death. His work has impacted the world. All because he continued to pursue God and his passion in the midst of the dailyness of life.
The end of the Michael W. Smith song?
Wake up and dream about
The plans you have in store for you
But keep in mind
It’s not just what you do
But what you do it for-and who
There are choices that build you
Choices that will make you fall
All part of the big picture
One day you will see it all