Happy New Year!
In 2003, my entire life seemed to crumble into dust. There was no way to stop it from happening. There was nothing I could do to rebuild what was lost. I was heartsick, depressed, anxious, and devastated. My body broke down as a result of my emotional state and I ended up hospitalized with an unknown illness the doctors eventually called mononucleosis, which took over a year to completely clear up.
Ten years later, at the end of 2013, I am amazed by what God has done in my life. Since there was no way to rebuild, I had to start over. In 2004, I quit my job and moved, went to graduate school, made new friends, found a new church, got a new job, and regained my health. I got my degree and started a new career path working as a staff pastor in a large church. A few of my older friendships continued, but God also brought lovely new friends into my life. I worked and worked and worked to build a different life for myself.
Then in April of 2010, there was another crash. I got laid off from the church, from the job I’d gone to grad school to do. As I paid off massive student loans, I ended up working as a nanny and housekeeper for a dear friend. Swallowing my pride was hard, but I decided to get the most out of the situation that I could. Surely God had a plan in this change as well. I knew how to babysit, how to play and be fun, how to get kids to bed. I knew how to keep a house a clean.
But my friend taught me the intimate things of child-rearing: how to take a baby’s temperature, give a child medicine, bring down a fever, manage diaper rash, deal with sibling rivalry, and graciously handle gestational diabetes. More than that though, she taught me that seeing the light in your child’s eye is a lot more important that seeing perfectly clean floors. She taught me to forget multi-tasking and to sit on the floor, look a child in the eye, listen to their nonsensical words and stories, and let them know they are cherished beyond measure. She taught me to worry less about the germs on their bodies and more about the state of their hearts.
In the middle of all that learning, God sent a kind and loving man to me. I was free to fall in love with him because the weight of church work was off my shoulders. Even though I was working three jobs, I could easily get weekends off. The house I lived in had separate guest quarters for him to stay in when he visited. When he asked me to marry him and move 400 miles away, there was nothing stopping me from saying “Yes!”
As we leave 2013 and head into 2014, I can’t help but think of the ways God has worked in my life. He let me try and try to build my own life. He let me feel the exhaustion and helplessness of it, even when I thought what I was doing was for Him. God gave me the gift of failure, squashing my pride in every conceivable way, turning my eyes toward Him alone.
As I look forward to 2014, wondering what the year will bring, wondering if there’s a resolution I need to make for the next year, there’s one thing I know for sure. He doesn’t need me to gear up, put on my sweat-band, and get to work. The work is His job. My job is simply to respond to His leading.
I don’t have to grab a hold of my willpower with a vice-like grip, wrench it around to get in line, and go marching up a hill. I just need to listen for His voice, put one foot in front of the other, and dance gleefully to the song He puts in my heart.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Matthew 11
Whatever God calls me to do, He will open the doors for me to do it.
The thought has crossed my mind several times that it’s time to start the long trek up the mountain of getting published, to get my willpower in line with the work and get moving. I need to start pushing for speaking engagements, knocking on doors, going forward with all the creativity and knowledge I have to make this thing happen. But the idea makes me tired. I wonder how I can do all that and be a good mother to the little blessings God has given me. I wonder how I can do all that and have energy for my husband.
God has called me to this work, of that I feel sure. There may come a day when He may prompt me to write a letter asking for an opportunity. There may come a day when He puts excitement in my heart for all the work of publicity, networking, and the like. But for now, I’m going to take each day as it comes and enjoy the blessings I’ve been given.
One thing I know for sure. In 2014, I want my children and husband to know how much they are loved, cherished, and desired. I want to see a light shining in each of their eyes. I want to be the hands and feet of Christ to them, showing them what an answer to prayer they truly are.
Perfection is not the answer. It’s impossible and only leads to disappointment.
Hard work is not the answer. God’s yoke is easy.
Willpower is not the answer. We can only wrestle our will into submission for so long before it breaks wildly free and starts running amuck again!
Love is the answer.
Lots and lots of love.