“Oh, you work outside the home? Who takes care of your kids while you’re gone?”
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked this question, I may not need to work anymore.
But whether you work outside the home, work from home, or stay home with your kids (I’ve done each of these at various points), as moms, we often feel guilty for having needs, emotions and especially dreams and goals of our own.
The Transforming Power of Motherhood
Something happens when you enter motherhood. You rise to a new level of capability that you didn’t know was possible.
When I was a single, young adult, I was terrified of throwing up. It was the biggest phobia in my life and I would run the opposite way of anything or anyone even suggesting it.
Then, I became a mom. And suddenly, I had to face my fear head-on, because kids get sick a lot. It could be their developing immune systems, or maybe just the fact that they have no qualms about crawling on public restroom floors or licking the grocery cart handle.
One day, when my child started throwing up, I found myself running TOWARDS her instead of away and I realized just what motherhood had done to me. I had become seriously hardcore.
Is It All About Sacrifice?
When you become a mother, your natural instinct is to sacrifice your own wants, needs, and desires for the sake of your children. That’s a good thing. It enables you to get through the sleepless nights and putrid-smelling diapers and the thousands of times you hear your name called on a daily basis.
But at some point, we moms find ourselves asking…what about my dreams? Didn’t I used to have some? Is it selfish for me to even think about that before my kids graduate high school?
Let me tell you something, Mama, you were created for greatness. The dreams that God has placed on your heart are not a joke. They’re not meant to taunt you or tease you or even distract you. They are gifts that God has given you because he loves you.
Our culture can be very polarizing. Sometimes it feels like we have to choose either our children or our dreams, and yet neither of those choices leaves us feeling fully satisfied.
What if there’s another option?
What if moms can dream big and set goals and influence the world WHILE we are raising our kids?
A Mom Who Dreamed
I love Susanna Wesley. You may have heard of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist revival that massively influenced British society in the 1700’s, or his brother Charles, who wrote amazing hymns like “And Can It Be” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that still point our attention to the greatness of God. Susanna Wesley was their mother.
But don’t be fooled. Susanna Wesley was more than *just* a mom. (p.s. there is no *just* about motherhood….I’ll save that for another day, though.) She was the 25th child of 25 children born to her parents. She was a pastor’s kid and then went on to marry a pastor, Samuel Wesley.
Susanna gave birth to 19 children, but only 10 of them lived to adulthood. Another 3 died as adults. Her family struggled with debt and poverty. She battled depression. Her house burned down not once, but twice. And she kept going.
Susanna’s husband, a minister, struggled as well and would periodically be gone for months at a time, leaving her to care for their 10 children alone.
One time, in her husband’s absence, another minister was brought in to preach at their church. Susanna realized that her children were not getting a solid foundation of Scripture under this man’s leadership, so she started doing a weekly Bible study to help her kids encounter & understand God in a deeper way.
The Bible Study was so good that, before long, over 200 people were coming to hear her teach…more than the number of people who attended the church! She intentionally led hundreds into the presence of God through Scripture.
Susanna’s faith was the strength of her life. Her children were a huge priority to her. She even made sure to educate all her daughters in a time in which many girls did not have the opportunity to attend school.
But she wasn’t afraid to dream bigger. She used her faith and her motherhood to disciple hundreds of people, all while fostering an environment in her own family that led her children to their own relationship with Jesus and awakened dreams inside them to transform the world.
At age 73, when Susanna was on her death bed, her children gathered around her and worshiped God together. In her life, and even in her death, God was glorified and her family…and so many others…encountered him. Long after she was gone, her grown children continued to massively influence the world around them, just like she did.
Can I Do Both?
When you surrender yourself to Jesus, he will awaken dreams within you and open doors for you to walk in those things he has called you to do.
Your dreams don’t have to come at the expense of your children. Instead, you can dream WITH your children! Invite them into the process. Let them see your relationship with God. Share your heart with them about the dreams God has given you and let them watch you burn with the fire of his presence.
When I was a kid, my mom made the choice to stay at home with my brother and me. It was an incredible gift and a choice that she and my dad made together. But my mom never stopped dreaming with God. She was an entrepreneur. My mom taught piano lessons, sold books, and had a variety of creative side hustles throughout my childhood. She taught Bible studies and preached and published articles and reached out to people in need. And never for a second did we doubt her love for us or feel like we weren’t a top priority for her.
Now that I’m a mom, I realize how easy it can be to simply put our dreams on hold, thinking that’s the only way to truly serve our kids.
But as I became an entrepreneur this year, I’ve seen how powerful it is for our kids to be part of our dreaming. Setting our hearts on big things doesn’t mean we have to isolate ourselves from our kids. We can invite them into the process and model a way of life that empowers them to dream with God as well.
As my 6-year-old daughter watches me write and produce videos about building strong marriages and families, she is already talking about wanting to influence families and use her voice to inspire people. I’m inviting her on this journey with me.
So whether your dream is to travel the world or launch a ministry or start your own business or to be a photographer or to be the kind of mom who is present in the moments and invites others into her home to experience God’s love in a powerful way, you keep dreaming, Mama!
Here are 7 Compelling Reasons to Dream as a Mom:
1. You were created with a purpose and have something to offer the world.
Your family is your #1 ministry. But when you and your family are surrendered to God, you begin to influence others around you in a powerful way. Everything you do becomes an invitation for others to know Jesus. God has given you unique gifts and passions because he wants you to use them to bring hope and life to a broken and hurting world.
2. When you dream, it models a way of life for your children that they can embrace.
God not only wants to partner with you to do great things, but he wants to partner with your kids too! One of the best ways kids learn is through modeling. When you pursue God’s heart and dreams for your life, your kids will be inspired to do the same.
3. Dreaming gives you an outlet for everyday stress.
Motherhood can be exhausting. But one of the best things I’ve done to become a better mother is to dream bigger than the mountain of laundry in my bedroom. When you begin to use your gifts and creativity, you find a fresh sense of purpose, and that can naturally make you a more joyful mom to your kids.
4. It prepares you for an empty nest.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard moms say that, when their youngest child moved out, they didn’t even know who they were anymore. They poured so much into their children that they lost themselves in the process. This doesn’t have to be the case. The more you partner with God to walk in what he’s called you to, even as your children are young, the more clear your next steps will be and the more excited you’ll be about moving into the next season of your life.
5. You break glass ceilings for your kids.
There’s something powerful about being the first. Once someone becomes the first in their family to go to college or start their own business or launch a ministry, it’s like kicking down a door that has been stuck shut and generations after them can boldly run through that same door and reach farther than you ever could. What glass ceilings do you want to shatter for your kids? Don’t wait until they’re grown and gone to conquer strongholds, face your fears and embrace your calling. Do it now so they can reap the fruit of it for years to come.
6. It takes the pressure off your kids.
When moms sacrifice all their own dreams in the name of motherhood, they can begin to project those dreams onto their kids. Then, instead of releasing your kids to dream with God on their own, it creates an unhealthy dynamic in which you look to your kids to fulfill the dreams you couldn’t. But when you walk in your OWN dreams and the things God has called YOU to do along the way, it actually empowers your children to follow God and dream with him for themselves. It even gives you a healthier relationship with your adult children, because there are no strings attached to the choices they are making about their future.
7. You gain an eternal perspective.
When my kids are all I think about, I find myself anxious, angry, and exhausted. Because, as important as my kids are, they are not the source of my fulfillment; God is. The more I focus all my attention and happiness on my children, the less I am focused on the one who holds what I truly need. One of the best gifts you can give your children is to focus your heart on God and let him meet your needs, let him satisfy your soul, and let him show you his perspective in each season of your life. Then, instead of transmitting anxiety and frustration to our kids, we can freely release God’s peace, presence and love to them.
Even during this beautiful, though tiring and sometimes chaotic season of raising kids, God has planted dreams and passions within you. He sees your value and has invited you to live the greatest adventure you’ve ever imagined. It’s not about being famous or making tons of money or meeting somebody else’s expectations for your life.
It’s about fixing your eyes on Jesus and letting him reveal the truth about who he’s created you to be. It’s about letting him use the gifts he’s placed inside you, the beauty he has made from your brokenness, and the story of who you are becoming to bring him glory and reach a broken world. You don’t have to wait until your kids are grown to live the adventure he’s created for you. Now is the time to go all-in with him. And let your kids be part of the journey.
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