When given the opportunity to read and review Move Toward the Mess by John Hambrick I volunteered quickly. You see, John is on staff with North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia at Buckhead Church (my husband and I have followed North Point Online for years) and that affiliation was enough to peak my interest. And, a forward by Andy Stanley, one of my favorite Pastors and authors, was better than the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.
Move Toward the Mess is a practical guide for the person that believes and wants, or feels called to something more. It’s for the person that believes being a Christ follower requires something beyond Sunday morning attendance and serves as a guide for those next steps. John’s words were timely as I consider the Holy Spirit nudge I’ve been experiencing the last several years.
Like most kids in their late teens I followed the path of college prepatory classes, onto undergraduate and graduate programs, and then finally a career. Never once did I consider what God’s will or plan for my life might be beyond getting a job, making my student loan payments, and moving that next step up the career ladder.
And then I got married, and became a stepmother and mother all in the course of a year. It was then I discovered the thing that, as Andy Stanley says, “breaks my heart”. At 33, I was the overnight stepmother to 3 girls, would later become a foster mother to 1 baby girl, and eventually the mother to two daughters of my own. As I traveled over the years through my motherhood journey, I realized that I was passionate about the importance and significance of parenting, and more specifically of being the best version of the mother God created me to be. I realized that from an early age I had bought into the belief that “motherhood” wasn’t enough and most certainly wasn’t something to aspire to. Motherhood as a profession is neither championed nor celebrated in our culture. For many years, I foolishly believed it was a title without influence.
As my understanding of parenting and motherhood evolved, so did my attitude towards it. And, after a few years of trying to decipher when it meant to be a mother, what it meant to be a godly mother, and how not to be consumed by guilt for all my shortcomings (still working on this – I have my days) I started to feel a nudge. I felt the need to talk about this – especially in the midst of all the high profile conversations encouraging women to “lean in.” As a woman, a mother (in executive level management) I couldn’t understand why God had allowed my career to take off after after I had discovered a passion for this other calling in and on my life.
As the nudging continued, I decided I wanted to encourage women that were in the midst of the motherhood journey. I wanted to affirm them and their choices. I wanted to affirm their calling. I wanted to remind them how significant and influential they were to the young charges in their care. And so I began this blog about a year ago, consistently posting on a weekly basis about my own journey and what God was teaching me. When I compare my progress here to what I’ve seen in my professional career it feels like slow going and at times I wonder if I’ve understood God correctly. But each time I feel the twinge of doubt God affirms my efforts.
Merely weeks into 2017, I am continuing to walk towards the mess that is motherhood, reaching out equally to the mommas at home in their yoga pants (stretched out from their second wear) and the mommas in their suit fresh from the dry cleaners, strung out by mommy guilt because they’re picking up the store bought cookies for the Valentine’s Day Party.
And while one day I’d love to encourage these women on a much larger scale, I’ll start with leading a spiritual parenting class in a youth auditorium full of moms and dads on a Monday night, all struggling to figure out this messy parenting thing together. This is how I continue to Move Toward the Mess.
I am excited to be able to give away a copy of John Hambrick’s Move Toward the Mess comment below here on my blog or on Facebook below the shared post. The winner will be selected at random.