I read Kimberly’s article in Gather, the magazine for Women of the ELCA. I connected with her thoughts about being a stay-at-home mother. How well I remember those days. I was once a stay-at-home Mom. Within the period of a few months I was asked two questions. First: “How will you feel when your little girls calls the babysitter Momma?” This during a job interview, when we really needed additional income to cover all the bills. Then: “How do you feel about wasting your college education?” This while getting my teeth cleaned after informing the dentist I was staying at home to raise my toddlers.
Women can’t win. But we keep trying, because we love our children. We constantly struggle to do the best we can for them. Thank you Kimberly for your insights.
By Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
In high school the sky was the limit.
Some days I was sure I’d be a doctor. Other days a pastor. Perhaps a graduate of the Naval Academy or a Rhodes Scholar. Some days I wanted to be a teacher or a veterinarian or a lobbyist. Other days I dreamed of traveling the world and living overseas as a tour guide.
But being a stay-at-home mom never occurred to me.
Of Course I’d Have Children
Of course I thought I’d have children. That was never in doubt. But I pictured myself firmly established in a career. In my adolescent mind I believed I would have a career and a family. I’d work outside the house and come home to my family.
What little did I know. I have often said about my calling that God has called me to places that I never even knew existed.
I served in the US Peace Corps after graduating college and when I received my assignment, I had never heard of The Gambia, West Africa. A place that would be my home for 2 years.
From Peace Corp to Pastor
I became a pastor after four years of seminary education. My first call serving a church was in Sedalia, MO – a place and state I knew nothing about. A place now that has been my home for 7 years.
After 5 years serving a church as pastor, I now find myself a stay-at-home mom. I’m on leave from call which means I don’t have a full-time position in the church. I do work on occasion supply preaching, leading retreats, and speaking. I also make time to write.
But first and foremost I’m at home with my two children – a toddler and a baby.
Growing up I pushed myself; in academics, awards, and achievements. I looked towards what would come next – always thinking bigger and grander. Always holding myself to a high standard.
Now the Children Are My Focus
Now, here I am at home with my children. Experiencing a time in my life when I am not thinking ahead to what comes next. I have the privilege to be at home with my children. And it is indeed a gift. A time where I’m focused on the here and now. Celebrating the present moments – the joy, the mess, the chaos, and the quiet moments.
But living in the moment doesn’t come easily. For years I was wired to work hard and succeed in the tasks and work in front of me. Yet, now success looks different. It feels different.
Thankfully my teachers for this season of my life are my children. A toddler full of joy and living with a speech delay and a baby curious about this world. Our days are spent marveling at the extraordinary in our midst.
Many days we gather around the table for our meals. Our toddler folds her hands together and bows her head. She tries to get our attention with her shouts and waving her clasped hands. It’s our sign to stop and pray before our meal.
Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.
A Child Leads Us
Our daughter reminds us to pray. She reminds us to stop for a minute. To wait.To give thanks.To breathe.
I almost miss the beauty of the moment. But my toddler keeps bringing me back to now. To the present. To family and friends. To love.
Perhaps this was a lesson I needed to learn all along. To sit and savor the days of my life. To not rush. To not push and always look forward.
For this season I’ve given up wondering what will come next. I’ve stopped rushing ahead to garner more achievements and awards.
For this time, these precious fleeting moments with my children, I am here.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/