Tami Resch and I were diligently working in her basement in 2005. We had grand plans to develop a system of coaching, care, celebration and connection for women like us. Women who were busy raising kids and starting churches.

Katherine Resch - 11 yrs old

Katherine Resch – 11 yrs old

Like other moms, we worked in between cooking meals, doing laundry and driving kids to and from after-school activities. That year, Tami and Steve’s youngest, Katherine, was enrolled in dance classes. So we packed up her dance shoes, snacks and our computers. As KK’s tiny but long legs flew across the floor, an idea would come to us about developing Parakaleo and we’d quickly write it down.

Each time I left Tami’s home or she left mine, we’d lament not having more time to focus on Parakaleo. We thought we were moving at a slow pace.  With caring for our own families and churches, there seemed so little time left for this project we both loved.

I’ve always wrestled with the concept of time, especially as a mother. Getting a baby fed, changed, and into the car seat, and the other kids in their shoes and buckled in to get groceries before the baby’s next feeding is a monumental task. Scheduling carpools– let alone remembering the schedule–is enough to give a person nightmares. As a matter of fact, I still have dreams where I’m trying to remember whose child I’m to get and from where.

I envied those with office hours, with space and time that was theirs. I figured if I could just get enough time alone, I could get this project off the ground.

What I didn’t understand then was the atmosphere our brains need for the creative process. Sitting in one space actually limits creativity. But brain research reveals that this kind of multidisciplinary activity stimulates the brain the way cross training challenges the body.

I had no idea that the skills of mothering and running a household were actually helping my creative process.  My children were my interdisciplinary activity. It’s not that I needed a greater reason to parent than the privilege it already was. It’s that I wrestled with the tension of having the time needed to parent well and time to develop my many ideas. I was afraid by the time I got around to anything other than parenting, all my brain cells would have been used up.

It’s not that we don’t need time away from our homes and mothering to keep sane, let alone to give us creative outlets. We do. And both Tami’s husband, Steve, and my husband, John, have joyfully served many hours at home so we could create Parakaleo. And they would have given us those same hours for rest, fun and play.

Now, ten years later, a full scale international ministry to women is going strong. I look back, amazed, grateful and surprised. There were occasions when I worried, times when I thought we were crazy to keep going. Occasionally, women in our church voiced a desire that I spend more time with them. But mainly I remember getting the sleep I needed. Enjoying my kids’ high school years. Helping plan our first daughter’s wedding. Visiting our son in college on weekends. Taking vacations. In other words, God’s unique call for each of us is lived out in the midst of normal life. We don’t sacrifice our families or insist others must participate in what God has uniquely designed us to do. Yes, we encourage and help one another. Galatians 6 says we are to bear one another’s burdens. But later in the chapter it also says each is to carry her own load.

Parakaleo is celebrating its 10th birthday this June, and is continuing to expand. Katherine Resch is celebrating her graduation from high school, and pursuing a career in dance.

How about you? Where have you seen God produce something from small faltering beginnings into something beyond what you could fathom?

Shari Thomas