A Community Companion: on Influence
We knew when we moved to the apartments that we were signing up to shirk a few expectations laid down for us by our culture, but I had NO IDEA how much this community would be a part of such change in our lives. When I took a break from blogging, I would have laughed my face off to know what I would come back here to share.
The Scene in my Heart: There have always been women in my life who have taken on things like the adoption of older children, multiple childbirths, or an attitude of complete servitude toward their husbands. I want a speck of what they have – but without all the work. These are always the women I wanted to be like in spirit, but I rarely felt “called” to be like them in so much as how they approach the culture. I wanted to live differently than our culture but still acknowledge my place in the culture so I can have relevant conversations with people who have different world-views and so that, GOD FORBID, I won’t ever ever ever have to homeschool my children or give birth so many times that I have to buy a church bus to hall my kids around.
Enter Community (a people tied in a thick knot who seems to take on certain attitudes as a group). These apartments are strange because it is a base for an amazing ministry designed to house and disciple college students through mentorship and intense Bible study. Much more goes into it, but this place mostly draws a certain crowd, though only a few are directly involved with this ministry. To live here is to support the ministry financially.
Enter the desperate feeling that my life is out of control. Moving here has been like buckling my soul into a rollercoaster, white-knuckling at first, and then finally sticking my arms straight into the sky, enjoying the free-fall. Granted, I do freak out from time to time and pitch little fits. I do dearly want to have my life planned out for myself. I usually think my plan is pretty darn good.
Enter Kindergarten, the day that I walked Isaac into a strange room with a bunch of nervous kids and a sweet teacher who gently stepped between me and my son, pulling him away so that we didn’t even hug. Isaac waved goodbye. I cried my way home. I wake my children up in the mornings to take him and wake them up from naps in the afternoon to pick him up. This makes for incredible grumpiness. We would sit like a truck of mad hens for at least an hour a day through traffic, drop-off, and pick-up lines.
Enter the Quiet, Completely Non-Judgmental Women that I watch daily. Their children play outside half the day with their siblings. They learn at home with individual attention to their needs. Their lives are a classroom. They are learning God.
To contrast, Isaac was coming home so exhausted that he would cry, but then he would still beg to play with his friends. If he played with friends, we wouldn’t see him at all. My influence in his life had dwindled to what he would eat through the day.
I did this for two weeks. That’s all it took, and then I remembered that I am a teacher, that I actually love to teach. I decided one evening, and the next day I ordered my curriculum. The next school day, I turned in an “Intent to Homeschool,” and Viola! I became a homeschool mom with not even an ounce of that being a part of my plan.
Oh, how I can’t believe it, and how I never ever ever want anyone here to think that how God is moving me is how you should be moved too. The goal of the women around me is not whatsoever to do with homeschool or community living. I believe, though, that their goal is to magnify God, to desire to see grace poured into the lives of their family members and into the lives of those they influence.
God works it out in different ways, but for now, this is one of the greatest things I’ve learned in this rare place: Christ-centered Community points in one direction, and in that direction, though it scares the poowaddle out of me, is great PEACE and unexplainable freedom.
And yes – surprise – the baby bug has invaded, and I can’t seem to get rid of it. Go figure. 3 plus 1 equals FOUR, probably all boys. Really, Amber? Unbelievable. You can confront me on all this when I start wearing bonnets and/or when TLC asks to follow me around with a camera, but until then, only blessings are in order. I’m too emotional for anything else.
*UPDATE* – I think I wasn’t very clear here in this post, so I just want to clarify that I am NOT pregnant right now that I know of. I simply have the baby bug. There’s not officially a baby bug already growing inside me. Thank you for all the good wishes, though!