Children and well.. not.
So as we all know, yesterday was Sunday which means… church!
The sermon was about giving your whole life to Christ. That most of the time we think the American dream = the Christian right. That for some reason, since we are Christians we deserve a “perfect” life; a well-paying job, 3 bedroom home with 3 kids and 2 slightly used cars in the driveway.
It was this sermon that urged me to write today.
Being home for a month or so, it has already begun to creep in.. the idea that maybe now is the time to “settle down.” (somewhat)
But who says “settling down” is in the cards for me?
I don’t want to live the Christian/American dream. I want to daily put my fleshly desires to rest. I don’t want to allow excuses to fill my mind or roll off my tongue, to keep me from living the life the Lord has planned.
As many of you know and have heard my testimony as of late, I’ve always wanted a large, young family.
Eric and I agreed at the beginning of our relationship when we started talking about the future, that we wanted a life based in 2 things: Christ and family, in our minds the two most important things on this earth.
We wanted our kids to grow up knowing their grandparents, uncles and aunts. We wanted our family to be young, having all of our kids close together so we could spend as much of our lives with them as we could. The problem with this is…we were assuming that this was the will of God. We assumed that we would live a “normal” life, settle down. Although we didn’t set out with an intent on excluding God from this aspect of our lives, we did. We planned for a future that the Lord didn’t have in mind.
We began learning the error of our ways shortly after we got married and began searching out our future together. It has become increasingly evident each day since then that our Lord will paint our future and unveil it to us in His own timing. We are to trust Him in that.
It isn’t easy. As I mentioned at Panel time during NC2 at Bogg Springs Camp, I am a mother-er. I remember on my 3rd grade report card seeing that in the notes it was written I was “like a mother to the kids.” I remember being so upset, I was trying to get Brandon to like me! I didn’t want to be a “mom” to him! Are you kidding? Haha!
I can’t count the amount of texts I’ve sent in the past year that apologize for being overbearing or too concerned for my friends in their lives. I know that this is a trait the Lord has given me, He’s given me the gift of nurturer.
However, once I threw up my figurative hands to the Lord last summer in regards to children, the future and the like, the Lord put things in fast forward motion. He began unveiling His plan..
- I worked in Belize in 2011 and it was then I searched out the full-time missionary position with PPM.
- I was a small-group leader for some wonderful middle school kids during a very difficult time.
- I went to Haiti and served as a mom-of-sorts/nurturer to 40 boys day in and day out and 100+ kids every week.
- I serve on trips where I am needed as a nurturer… to the team, to the staff, to my friends, to the community and to the children we are involved with.
- I began this job where my ministry is my passion. I work as a nurturer each and everyday.
I can think back to countless occasions in the past year where I was the only person available to be that mother figure, that nurturer.
Whether that was constriction of a child during a rage, wiping tears after a scrape, yelling protectively over a child during unfair treatment, creating trust with a child for administration of medication, consoling after a bad scare, disciplining after bad words or actions are exchanged, advocating for a special needs child, teaching the principles of right and wrong and the list could go on.
So why do I say all of this? Not to “toot my own horn” or brag about how “awesome” I am.. but because 2 years ago I was in a bad state of depression. I was unhappy with my life, feeling overwhelmed and useless. I felt like God could never use me and that I would never do anything good with my life. While all my friends were having kids and such, I was in school (for the second time) for a degree I would never use. I had everyone telling me what to do with my future, what I was “supposed” to do. I didn’t see “mom-to-be” on my future resume and it made me beyond confused and frustrated. If I was a nurturer at heart, why wasn’t my life playing out to that future? I felt unworthy and guilty of the life I was living, that it didn’t have any purpose.
That I didn’t have a purpose.
But now I know, I was looking for all the answers in a future that He didn’t have planned.
Once I gave my ideal future over to Him, it freed up my mind, body and soul to follow Christ wherever He may call. In whatever way He sees fit to use me, I will go.
I say this to give you courage. I share my story so that maybe someone out there won’t feel alone. Won’t feel as crazy and worthless as I did. So that the person who is on the brink of throwing away their future for GOD’s future, will do it. It’s not easy, it’s terrifying. You’ll have people who say mean things about you, tear you down and try to get you to stop. You’ll hear every excuse under the sun from others and even your own mind to not follow Christ. But just remember, Christ said
“No man who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God“
– Luke 9:62
No excuses, no turning back. Don’t long for what you’ve left behind, only look to the future the Lord is preparing.
Don’t depend upon yourself. Only Christ is enough. Only Him and His will.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
– Proverbs 3:5