Following His Lead
by Mandi Phagan
"You'll be back in a year."
"You'll hate staying at home."
"A waste of a perfectly good teacher."
My co-workers gave me no encouragement when I told them my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. Instead of supporting my decision, they belittled the choice I felt was best for my family and made me second guess what the Lord was leading me to do.
I thought, Ha! I'll show them! I am going to love staying at home full time with my little one! Who needs them? I don't need them. I don't need anyone but God and my family to see me through! I certainly don't need "friends."
Fast forward to eighteen months after my son's birth. I loved staying at home, but I was miserable with myself. I had once been a vital, confident, respected professional. Now, I was content to stay in my nightgown until noon, only to shower and change into a fresh one.
I called my husband four and five times a day while he was at work — to talk about the weather, to debate what we'd have for dinner, to fuss at him for getting toothpaste on the mirror. I wasn't living life to the fullest. I was so wrapped up in what was happening in the walls of my home that I missed the bigger picture of what I could be doing in the world around me.
After honestly assessing myself and the complacency I'd grown accustomed to, I realized that I loved my life. God had blessed me immeasurably. I also realized that what I was missing was community: a sense of belonging and purpose (outside of having the toughest job on earth — being a mom).
My husband strongly encouraged me to find a play group, a moms' group — anything to get me out of my nightgown, out of my home, and into the world. He even offered to drive me there! When I met another mother at a local children's museum who invited me to MOPS, he said, "You're going. You need this." So, at his prompting and overcoming my fears of re-entering the world, I decided to give MOPS a try.
At my first MOPS meeting I realized that this is what I had been missing: friendship, camaraderie and understanding. In just a few weeks, I formed strong friendships and bonded with wonderful women who were struggling with the same issues I was: Who am I now that I'm a mom? What is my purpose? Where is my family headed?
My new friends have helped me realize that I am who I was before the birth of my child, and, because of motherhood, now I'm so much more. My purpose is to love and serve God in every season of my life, no matter the calling. I don't know where my family is headed; we're following God's lead. And, in the end, following God's lead is the best path to follow. Because in following His lead, I have found "sisters" that I will have to fall back on the rest of my life.