“I am just a lunch lady.”
The words glared at me from my phone screen as I read the pain of another mother who felt rejected. She had been sitting by herself for her daughter’s whole gymnastics class longing for connection and acceptance, and feeling all alone. The other mothers were career women, and she figured that they were ignoring her, because in her words, “I am just a lunch lady”.
Now you may be thinking she was just being insecure. Who knows why they ignored her? She was just reading into things. And you may be right, yet as I processed that statement I became angry. Enraged for this woman who felt less than because of her job. Like it determined her value and her place in the world. I began to write a comment, and then I just paused and sat there, sad.
I realized how much I resonated with that statement. Not as a lunch lady, but as a mom. How many times I had felt less than, because I am just a mom.
Just a mother.
I too have fallen for the lie.
You can’t measure my intelligence, because I never finished college. You can’t measure my hard work and ambition, because I never chose a career. You can’t measure my value, because I’ve never cashed in a big paycheque. Never. Those are the markers of success in this world and I don’t have any of them.
This is why we insert the “just”. The subliminal “not enough”. Because when you add it all up, mothers like me, women like me, fall short. On the surface we don’t seem to measure up, because the method for calculating our worth is flawed.
I AM ENOUGH. I am not “just”.
And so are you.
We are enough just as we are, because God made us. He determined our worth when He called us His own. And all of the rest doesn’t determine anything.
If you have the degree, career, and pay check, well done! You go girl! I’m proud of you. However, there is no hierarchy. No pyramid of worth and stature. How you choose to fill your days and pay your bills has no bearing on your value. And thank goodness for that, because that is a ton of pressure!
We are all so much more than our titles and roles. And to believe any different is shallow.
Our value is spoken for by God, but there are still a few things that matter. Measurements that truly count. Character and integrity. Like when you put your all into making those kids lunches and serve them kindness as they come through the line to pick up their food. Like both of us as we get to raise up tiny humans and we do our best to model respect and humility each day. We get to teach them what counts. What an amazing privilege we have, because those are the things of substance. The things that matter.
So you are not just a lunch lady and I am not just a mom. And we shouldn’t even feel the need to say that, because “just” has no place in who we are.
You are a lunch lady. I am a mom. We are enough.