The best teacher I’ve ever had once said to me, “Sarah Barbre, you are too much of a mother to only be a mother.”
I didn’t get it at age 18 when I was already dreaming of filling a house with a mother’s love. I don’t always get it when I’m fluffing the wedding gowns of my best friends, knowing I am nowhere near such a beautiful milestone and the babies that follow. But as I look back on the last three years of my life, I think he was right. I think he is right.
God knew that the richness of classrooms full of eyes hungry for love and truth was too sweet for my heart not to know. That providing a safe place for kids–a place about which one child wrote “Thank you for letting me come in here after school sometimes. I know I don’t say much, but it’s just that this is the only place in my life I have peace.” –would make my Martha heart much more like Mary’s. He knew that mentoring young girls would challenge me to reach, to listen, to call on His name for guidance. God knew that I needed to create a home I treasured with souls who may not have belonged to me but will always be a part of me before I shared time and space with a family of my own.
Then, after a few years in the classroom and understanding the beauty and importance of my single life stage more and more, He made me move by giving me the most incredible opportunity–a true answer to my heart cry for orphans around the world. God knew that watching His mercy, poured out freely by the hands of Aunties and Uncles and volunteers in Kenya, change children from the inside out would demolish my inaccurate understanding of the depth and power of His love. Where there were once abandoned, often nameless kids, He showed me vibrant children who have a place to belong and a God to look to. He made me a mother’s arms and a mother’s bedtime prayers–a mother’s cheering voice and biggest fan to these precious kids who by circumstance alone were shown they were dispensable. God not only showed me what redemption looked like in the lives of others but reminded me that the same redemption story is mine, and I understood for the first time while tears streamed down my face.
So, what’s next? I’ve dodged the question about 4534234234234234 times as I have entered my first season of my whole life in which I have no game plan. No heart tug. No dream. No answer. But my former teacher’s words have stuck with me. Through months of closed doors and not-this-times and a whole lot of Grey’s Anatomy sad episodes, He didn’t forget about me, though. He has forged me. Made me think. Made me appreciate and consider and re-consider and remember. And He has put a new song in my heart.
I am so happy to announce that I have accepted a new job. In August, I will be working at a children’s home in Houston called Boys and Girls Country as something called a “Teaching Parent.” My role is to live life with the kids, stepping in as a parent in every way to take care of these kids who are without theirs. It is my true heart beat to make sure that children know they are seen and that they are cherished, and to be selected for a job like this right in my backyard is something I could not be more excited for.
In a world where it’s easy to give ignorant opinions and write hateful words about the madness around us, I choose to be someone who tucks in a little one who can’t be with her parents at night. I choose to be the baker of the bake sale cookies for kids who aren’t my own. I choose the joy of little footsteps and pep rally band performances. I choose to be too much of a mother to only be a mother. I choose to make this world a sweeter place, and I am thankful to know and believe in my heart that you will too.
I couldn’t be more thankful for my friends and family who have supported me through months of feeling directionless and who continue to support me in this new endeavor. I welcome your prayers, and I welcome you to check out this incredible place!