I was excited. I had been asked to speak to a group of women about being a mom, my faith, running a business...and I would be provided two hours without anyone calling my name or telling me they had to go potty. I was looking forward to sitting alongside other women I admire and respect and listen to their stories. But then, inevitably, it happened. My girls got sick. Like really sick. Not the kind that can be ignored for two hours.
So, a few hours before the event, I cancelled.
To say I was frustrated, disappointed, had FOMO, etc. is an understatement. In the grand scheme of things it's not really a big deal, but I was just looking forward to the break and a time to reflect on this crazy season of motherhood.
I had prepared my remarks and shared those below, but I've come to the realization that what I'm really learning in this season is that I need to slow down, adjust my expectations and breath in these toddler snuggles while I still can. It's not glamorous (anyone who has lived through their kiddos getting hand, foot and mouth will tell you that) but it's a reason to pause, be present and know that opportunities will always be around the corner, so don't worry about those you have to say no too.
Do you ever just feel overwhelmed and unprepared from the moment you wake up? I definitely do- more than I would care to admit. I'm Stefani Drake. A mom to twin toddlers, a wife, a business owner and oh so grateful for the peace that our Creator has given me. (Does that sound cheesy? Maybe it's a good thing I didn't say this out loud.)
I used to think I had all the answers and could multi-task with the best of them. Then God stripped me of my identity when I moved from Washington, DC to Charleston, South Carolina four years ago. He was desperately trying to teach me what it meant to be His, instead of the persona I clung to. Thanks to leaders like Sue and Cassie, who have been kind and patient and full of grace, I have slowly started to learn that my best days are the ones that start and end with His purpose.
Most days for me are mundane. I work from home so I frantically try to accomplish a few work projects before my twin daughters wake up. Those days never go well and I end up stressed and less present then I would like to be for my children, husband and clients. But on the days that I'm discipled and wake up early to spend time in the word- even when I have a work deadline looming- I'm by far more relaxed, and happy and present and engaged.
It's a funny thing owning a business and being a mom. I think that motherhood has taught me more than I could ever have learned elsewhere- but society doesn't always see it that way. I'm thankful for the days that are ordinary, where I can sit and read books to my girls and spend a little quiet time in prayer. I'm also thankful for the opportunity God has worked out in my life to be able to work from home- His provision is evident in my life and it has strengthened my faith beyond my wildest dreams.
And, if you're in a season of little ones or mundane work tasks, I would just encourage you to persist and look for the small things that God is doing in your life to reach you and those around you.
1. When and how did you realize that your life/work is ministry?
I hate to admit it, but I can be unapproachable at times. There are a million things swirling in my brain at any given moment, and I'm an introvert, so I tend to get lost in my thoughts and not be aware of those around me.
Then, as a mom, I became painfully aware of how closely my children pay attention to all that I do, say and how I respond to various situations. The last two years of motherhood have been a refinery, and made me realize that I need to get out of my head and into the present. Whether that is how I react to a negative email when my twins are watching me, or how I interact with the cashier at Target, I'm much more cognizant of the situations God is placing me in. My ministry, if you will, is to demonstrate kindness and value to every person I interact with. That's it. Nothing fancy, nothing profound- just doing my best to treat others as though God is watching.
2. What has been one of the most life-defining experiences in your walk with the Lord that equipped you?
One of my daughters wasn't able to walk until just before 18 months. We had all sorts of specialists tell us scary worst-case scenarios and send us into full panic mode. But our little one is a fighter- we actually have nicknamed her our pterodactyl.
Being shuffled through the medical system with so many unknowns, trying our best to care for our girls, was daunting. But God gave us peace and encouragement the whole way through the process. And on the day she took her first steps, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Even her twin sister squealed in excitement and walked by her side the whole way.
That experience has shown me God's love for me. It has shown me His patience, His grace and His constant encouragement. At the end of the day, I'm always going to be there cheering on my girls- and He has been doing the same for me the past 36 years.