finding faith: part iii (the works of my hands)

this december, i will be 33 years old–and i’m quite sure that i still have no idea what i want to be when i grow up.

i’ve lived many lives up until this point, and i believe i’ve lived them well (to the best of my ability, anyway). something about this new one, though; it feels different somehow.

i’ve worked since i was fourteen years old, even earlier if you count all those under-the-table babysitting gigs i did for neighbors. i’ve been a fry cook in a fast food joint, a motel housekeeper, a gas station attendant, a telemarketer, a bank teller and then, somehow, i stumbled my way into the field of education. for ten years, i was a teacher, sometimes stateside, others overseas. during that time, i have educated literally hundreds of young minds. what a staggering thought.

then one day, i decided i wanted to leave the field but still work with young people, which is when i enrolled in graduate school for a degree in urban studies with a concentration in youth development. i figured maybe i’d make the switch over to social services, or maybe do ministry in a church somewhere. and perhaps i still will, one day.

but then my son was born, and all my prior notions of work were interrupted. for these days, my work is done at home, within the confines, most often, of these four walls. i receive no paycheck, no benefits, no vacation days or sick leave. for the first time in almost twenty years, i have nowhere that i need to be most days, nor anyone other than Atticus i need to be with. it’s only he and i in a sea of plastic toys and bottles, and diapers and nap times and laundry and dishes, and cups of cold coffee and some afternoons when we are still in pajamas, and baby carriers and “shush”ing and rocking and tasks finished in what Jessica Turner calls the “fringe hours”, and sometimes giggling but sometimes screaming and above all else, love, love, love.

the older i get, the more eager i am to obey the call to a quiet and holy life, in which i give of myself wholly to the works of my hands. whether they’re warm and soapy from scrubbing dishes or gently stroking my son’s fuzzy hair as i rock him to sleep, i remind myself that this is holy work; it is challenging, but good work, and that i have been called to it. maybe i’ll never set foot in another classroom. maybe i’ll change career paths after all. maybe i’ll have more babies and repeat the cycle over again. right now, it is none of my concern. right now, my work is raising a strong son with a strong name, teaching him to be faith-full and honest, gentle and kind, brave and compassionate, respectful and true. one day, my hands will have to let go and release him out into the world, and i pray with all my might i will mother him well until that time comes. for now, however, my hands cradle a baby boy with auburn hair, who looks at me with bright eyes that appear mossy and gold-flecked in the light, and knows me as mama.

i will forever remember the works of your hands, O Lord (Psalm 143:5); please bless and take delight in mine.

//

finding faith is a short collection of vignettes that i am writing this fall as i live out marriage, motherhood, + my relationship with Jesus and reflect on what i’ve learned through it all. if you missed part i or ii, you can read them here and here.

you may also want to join me on instagram for my #diaryofaSAHM (stay-at-home-mama) photo project. whether you stay at home or go back to your career, motherhood is a hard and holy work. as for me, this is where i find myself, so i am #takingbacktheSAHM narrative.

2 Comments
  • Libby
    October 20, 2016

    This is beautiful. I’ve always felt like the holiest moments were the most mundane.

    • Elena
      October 20, 2016

      Thank you, sweetness! xo
      And I agree – the ordinary can be oh-so-beautiful.

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