By Melissa Teten
Being a mother is all-consuming. My days are filled with drop-offs and potty accidents and endless lullabies. While my day is full, I’m finding my mind is not. My arms are busy, but my giftings lie dormant. Some days I can’t find time to fit in a shower, and yet I am still longing to learn and grow and stretch myself.
I have been trying to identify this quiet restlessness. Is it that my contribution on campus has shifted so much that I don’t feel useful? Is it that our growing family needs more grocery money that I consider my employment options as a stay at home mother? Do I feel trapped when I want to help others but can’t offer much with kids in tow?
I work hard to not feel guilty about the tension in my life between the two little gifts right in front of me and the ones that are on hold for this season. But as I wrestle with these questions and sit with the Lord, two things have come to mind:
First, I have so much to learn about mothering. And my girls are my primary ministry! Not only are there many examples to study in scripture and books to read from saints who have gone before me, but there are specifics I want to research to help my very verbal, imaginative and emotionally-driven six-year old and her quick-witted, strong-willed two-year old sister.
So I enrolled myself in a class. Motherhood. It is entirely tailored to me, aren’t I lucky? God is my professor and my Bible is the textbook. He is so kind to work around my schedule and will take the classroom anywhere I am! He uses guest lecturers in the form of books, sermons, and the wisdom of friends (and disciplemaker moms!). Creativity and experimenting are welcome because frequent failures are expected.
The second thing that has come to mind is that no matter what my contribution or commitments look like, I can always grow in my convictions. So, I also signed up for a class on Justice. It is a passion that continues to grow. This class allows me to ask my questions, listen to activists, weep with those who weep and consider God’s view of people, pain and policy.
These classes don’t relieve all the tension I feel during this season. But they receive my angsty energy when I want to skip to the next new thing or commit to something outside of my boundaries that have fallen in pleasant places. It will pay dividends for me to use my pockets of time at home to study and learn and pray and wonder. Some of what I learn can be applied immediately, some will take flight when I have more time. Both classes are teaching me that these days are anything but unimportant. And my heart can make room for it all.
Melissa and her husband John serve the Florida Collegiate region. God has given her a passion to raise up the foundations of many generations and while she delights in meeting with women, these days she is pouring herself out for her hungry little girls. Being a mommy is a long-awaited dream that God answered after years of infertility. Lucille (6) and Rosie (2) are her most precious disciples to date. Drinking coffee and continual snacking are her spiritual gifts.