Hi, my name’s Rachel – I’m a Christian wife and mother of two beautiful little girls, living in Lancashire in the UK. I love my family (immediate and extended), music, worship, friendship, chocolate, organising, reading, laughing, holidays, Earl Grey tea, colour, sunsets, sunrises, God’s word, my church, baking, eating (!), Radley bags, Erin Condren stationery, Apple products, the Sims (my vice!) and much more. I believe everything in life is a gift, and that my Father has only good gifts for me; yet I’ve not always lived that way – I get grouchy, frustrated, irritated and I have to battle everyday to quell the selfishness within me that takes things for granted.
2013 was a year of huge change for our family – I returned to work in June after my second maternity leave, a move which plunged our family into a chaotic way of life compounded when my eldest began primary school. Even working part time, the impact on our family was too great and my husband and I decided I would leave work in March 2014, once we had our finances in order.
God had another plan though, and at the end of November 2013, a situation arose which saw me resign from work overnight – not in line with MY plan at all! I gave up the trappings of worldly success – status in my career, a rather nice salary, car, private healthcare, bonuses – and became a stay at home mum and housewife. It’s all too tempting to say ‘well, you have something worth far more then – time with your children!’ and expect that to be it, but the reality is that whether we work or not, are married or not, have children or not, it’s all too easy to look at someone’s life and think they have it easy, without seeing the daily sacrifice and striving that goes alongside it.
I love being at home with my girls, yet I have to work to see the everyday ordinary mundane and plain old boring tasks that comes alongside it as beautiful, not just useful. And I have to work to stop assessing the things around me in terms of their use, not their beauty – everything is a gift, right?
At the same time, I’ve been challenged to look for the gifts everyday that God puts into my life – and to be thankful. Not just for the easy things – the things I listed at the start of this are pretty easy to be thankful for! – but also for the difficult things, like the sheer frustration at my inability to get out of the house on time somedays with two children in tow, the necessity of budgeting for every last thing, the sadness at having to say no to my daughter when she would like something, or the grubby reality of having to clean the thing I cleaned just ten minutes ago again. And for the sense of losing part of my identity (whilst feeling guilty that it’s not solely based in Christ as it *should be for a good Christian!) and having to redefine what my life is and how it should be lived.
So that’s me now in April 2014, trying to steer my way through piles of washing, cleaning, refereeing two spirited girls, organising our family’s commitments, serving at church, and going through the rinse-repeat-rinse again routine of the week in such a way that I fulfil God’s purpose for me – to be Christ to those around me, and it starts with seeing this life as beautiful, not just useful – because He is beautiful, not just useful.