The disgruntled, disapproving look hurt my overwhelmed heart and made me sink deeper into my shoes. I smiled a “thanks” and called Josiah over to me. We were at the grocery store and, in a moment while I was filling a bag of fruit, Josiah had gone to an aisle with wine and was clanging two bottles together on the shelf.
An old man growled at him at the same moment I called out his name to stop. Wide-eyed, Josiah stopped and ran over to me. It was then that this man gave me a look that, struggling with anxiety and emotion, made me feel the absolute pits.
Couldn’t he see that I have two little ones under two-and-a-half on my hands?

Couldn’t he see that, in my heart, I was doing my absolute best?
That look stayed with me the whole day, eating at my heart, as I battled a bout of anxiety that was leaving me feeling overwhelmed and insecure as a mother {thanks, sleep deprivation!}. Thankfully, Tim came to the rescue, and helped me put that man and his disapproving look where it belonged. 
But still. Someone out there thought I was a bad mother. It’s hard not to store that away and remember in the recesses of your mind.
Becoming a wife and mother opens you up to criticism. People have thoughts, opinions and a say over how you are doing, how you should behave, what choices you should or shouldn’t make. Even among good friends, differences in couples and parenting styles can cause awkward moments and times when it’s difficult not to have an opinion or when you yourself feel under scrutiny.
I think this is especially so when you feel a particular burden that the Lord has placed on your heart for your family. Even among Christians, there is a mainstream, and some people – usually by a particular call from the Lord – live a part from that flow.
It is so easy to worry about what others think of you. When I was a stay-at-home wife, I was very different and no-one seemed to understand why I wasn’t out earning lots of money before we had children. We’re not selling our house in our poorer neighbourhood and going up in the world. As a mother, I am seeking to live a quiet life for my children and I hope, when the time comes, to homeschool our children. No-one homeschools in our church of several hundred people.
It’s hard not to feel lonely sometimes and it’s hard for people you care about not to understand. Offense can be taken, without ever meaning to, and misunderstandings can occur when families are lived from afar instead of coming along side of. Even in the day-to-day, complete strangers – like the grumpy old man in the supermarket – add to the feeling of difference.
But when there is a pull on your heart, when certain Scriptures {taken with the whole of the Gospel in view} cannot be shaken from your spirit, when both husband and wife are in agreement, when it just seems clear God is leading your family in a particular direction…No matter how different this will make you, you must follow. Trust and obey.

“When we walk with the Lord,
In the light of his Word,
What a glory he sheds on our way;
While we do his good will,
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.”
~John Henry Sammis
Trust God with the calling. Trust God with the particulars. Trust God with your friends and strangers and conversations. Trust God with your responses and have a ready word prepared in your heart {1 Peter 3:15}. Trust God with the direction of your marriage and family. And obey.

“The home is where a woman provides the expressions of love for her husband and her children. The home is where she leads and guides and teaches and raises the godly generation. The home is where she is protected and secured from other men and potentially wicked relationships and abuses. The home is where she lodges strangers, washes saints’ feet. shows hospitality and devotes herself to every good work. That’s her sphere. And whatever of that home and whatever of the goodness of her life she can take outside and not sacrifice the home is between her and the Lord and her husband.”
~John MacArther.

12 Replies to “What God Lays on Your Heart: Following When It Makes You Different.”

  1. That must have been so hard to get that man's looks out of your mind. I've been there myself and we let it eat at us. I had to learn that these isolated incidents is not what defines us as a good/bad mother. It is the whole package and from the sounds of it, you are a good mother. Don't give the power to others and let them steal you of the joy of motherhood. From Tuesday Talk and glad you linked up.

  2. Oh dear Sarah, I feel your pain and yet unfortunately I have been on the other side, maybe not giving the mean look but wondering why that parent couldn't get their child under control. We are such judgemental creatures… I have learned that not only do I need to have Grace for myself when my kids are acting up but for those who don't have patience for children. They might not understand what we are going through but we can choose to have a graciuos response and yes we have trust God with choices he leads us to make for our family. I love that quote!

  3. Don't worry, in my worst moments, I have been on the other side too – but that was before I had two children! Lol. I just try and think, “Who knows their whole story?” Motherhood is a universal language.

  4. Absolutely beautiful post! Trusting and obeying God is what we need to do. It is a special calling to be a Christian mom and possibly a future homeschool mom! The reason it feels lonely is because we do not conform to this world. We conform to God's calling in our hearts. It is hard to have the disapproving looks or criticism, but knowing you are obeying your calling will give you peace. Thanks for sharing on #SocialButterflySunday this week. Hope you will link up again this Sunday 🙂

  5. Sarah, as a pastor's wife, I've often felt the loneliness of being called to things that others may not be. I don't homeschool, but in our current church we are definitely the conservative family. And it can be lonely at times! But you are so right in saying we must trust and obey! And we must remember that the approval of our Father God is what matters, whether others agree with us or not. So, take heart! Be encouraged that you are doing what is right! Thank you for sharing this good word at Grace and Truth last week! 🙂
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

  6. Jen, with most of my husband's family in ministry as evangelical's in a denomination that is very liberal in NZ. I totally get you. Ministry is a very lonely place. And very difficult. You're doing an amazing thing, so keep going. Keep the comment “Well done, my good and faithful servant” in your heart when the going is tough.

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