I’m realizing these days just how brainwashed by the culture at large we can become. Although in many ways I have practiced the renewing of my mind by the Word of God (Romans 12:1), I’ve been challenged recently to do that even more. To give up ideas that are practically force-fed us by the culture we grow up in, and embrace thoughts that may run counter-culture, but line up with Scripture.
Both in China and “back home” in Canada, I often run into women who say they envy me that I “can stay home with my children.” They go on to tell me how they simply couldn’t afford to do the same. Others tell me they admire my patience. They smile and say they wouldn’t possibly have the patience to do what I do–as though they could never aspire to the sort of sainthood it must take to stay at home and school my children. I bite my tongue.
I will tell you now what I’ve wished I could tell them. Staying at home with my children was never about what we could afford or about an overabundance of resources or patience. Certainly there are days when my patience has been spread thin, when my voice is hoarse at the end of the day from trying to talk over three noisy children on the chance something I say might penetrate some way somehow. There are days–hold onto your seat–when I’ve failed.
And as far as being able to afford it, we have made what some would call sacrifices. We made the decision that I would stay at home when my husband’s salary hovered somewhere close to $20,000 annually. He worked for a charitable organization, and we lived in one of the most expensive cities in Canada.
We do not own our own home. We currently don’t even have a car–we use public transit all over our city here in China.
But we have never been without. We have always had more than enough food on the table, friends close at hand, love, laughter, understanding, grace. God has always provided.
We have made what some would call sacrifices. We could have taken the safe path, followed the road most traveled, done what we could “afford,” and not spent these years instilling values in our children, making memories and helping to forge character, but in the end, in our books, that was the greater sacrifice. One we weren’t willing to make.