Church free up! And finally I am able to fellowship with people I haven’t seen in over a year. There were lots of teeny ones that I hadn’t seen since the pandemic and I even got to hold the sweetest little one. A friend of mine took a picture of me feeding her and sent it to me. When I looked at the picture, I smiled in my heart because of all the recent work God had started in the area of family and homemaking.
A few weeks ago my mentor and I were talking. At the beginning of the session I was asked to state the pillars of my life. As I listed things, family came to mind but I shoved it back and told myself not to say it. As we continued to discuss other things I was asked to define success. I stated all the things I wanted to accomplish and ended with, “but of course, not at the detriment of my family.” At this statement my mentor reflected on the dissonance.
Not knowing what transpired in my head, he highlighted how interesting it was that I stated not wanting to accomplish things at the detriment of my family but when I stated the pillars of my life he observed and even mentally noted that I hadn’t said family.
He was right, I didn’t and I couldn’t. But why? I pondered on it all evening. What was this incongruence on the insides of my own heart. As usual I went to talk to God about it. I told him I wanted to have a family but something hard on the insides of my heart had demanded that I steel myself off from the prospect of it. I was made to feel I couldn’t and so I decided I wouldn’t.
I love serving at church, being around my friends and being out of my house. Most of my life that was me. I was active, involved in everything. I thrived in the spaces God placed me and was constantly out. This was what I was told to do as a single Christian – serve. The truth was outside of that mandate, my extravert-self wanted that lifestyle.
Because I was constantly out I was made to feel that I cared more for those things than home. I had been told that my outside accomplishments and friend involvements were way more important than my home commitments and that I probably wouldn’t be able to do homemaking well. Plus, I didn’t cook as much as others, and I didn’t feel free to experiment. A caricature of myself was being created with each pronouncement. The storyline was you can’t do outside and inside; one or the other. This combined with disappointments with family I had began to develop a narrative – “I can’t do homemaking”.
It Is WORK
In addition to all of this was the reality that doing family -like everything in life – took work. It could be satisfying but also grueling. The challenge I had was that I had become used to prioritizing work and serving. With a super busy week, I would be fine with a bowl of cereal at the end of the day for dinner. In my mind family meant having a full meal ready for breakfast lunch and dinner. That seemed impossible with my present life.
I had also seen so many successful black women struggle with both. If they were driven, then they were single or divorced (not every one of course). Every time I heard of a successful black woman getting divorced I shuddered. One research site stated that black women in the States have a higher divorce rate than any other demographic and a person with a first degree gets divorced at a higher rate than those without a degree. While I was a Caribbean girl these numbers and my observations impacted me. I am a black, Caribbean woman with two degrees.
I laid out all of this in journal and wept. I had closed out a God given desire in my life because of the narratives, examples and words spoken over me. That entire weekend I was either crying or praying.
God began to heal, reminding me of truths and dispelling fears. He reminded me that I was not what was said about me. He reminded me that as the author of family He was the person to look to and not my fears. He was the one that gave me all I needed for salvation, He would do the same in all areas of my life. My responsibility was to trust and obey Him.
Little changes happened after that. I began cooking more, sheepishly calling my “wife” friends to teach me over the phone. I realized I loved learning new recipes and seeing the final product. I researched décor for my space and made adjustments as I could. I began taking weekends off and signing off completely by Friday afternoon unless I had something pressing. I sought out mentorship and books to learn more and renew my mind. I released the toxicity that I had allowed in my heart that came from fear and lies and it felt more like the authentic me.
When I held the little one that Sunday I smiled at the journey. I stared at the picture with joy that God had begun a work in my heart ? One day, God willing I could be a wife, mother, Director and writer and He would guide the balance needed. He continues the work and I continue to stay steadfast.
- a Heart Committed