I’ve always had high educational aspirations. When I left to get my bachelor’s degree, I was already thinking about my master’s. And as I finished my master’s degree, I worked hard to quiet the roar for a doctorate.
After finishing undergraduate school I was bound to explore the world. First stop, Manchester, UK. I fell in love with my college sweetheart and he loved me back so passionately that just before I left he asked me to be his wife. I said yes but I went to Manchester anyway. Not wanting love to anchor me just yet, I moved forward in learning, exploring, discovering and then caught the first love train coming back this way when my stint was over.
Moved to his city just before the nuptials so that we could begin to build on some common ground together since our whole relationship had basically been long distance. God, in the way that only He can, hooked me up with a job that included commission and a new apartment convenient to everything I’d want and need since I didn’t have any wheels just yet. (He’s so efficient, right?!!)
Then came marriage and we were happy. We were thrilled, in fact, and our love for each other was so thick and full that it had us believing that we were fulfilled in every area of our lives. For a time.
The ache for more came pounding, palpable and unrelenting. My job was . . . cool . . . but I knew that it wasn’t supposed to be mine but for so long. So I prayed and explored some more and even though I knew it would disrupt our comfort for a short time, I left it all. (here’s where I thank God for giving me wisdom to wait on and accept the man that He chose for me, ’cause my man was with me all the way, so supportive and genuinely concerned about my emotional well being.) Again, God blessed me. This time with a career as an educator and a position at a great school that offered an opportunity to obtain my M.Ed. (score!!!!!)
Then came baby girl one and we were ecstatic. Prior to her conception, I had never made room in my mind or heart for children of my own. Not sure why, just didn’t think I’d be fit to be a mommy. But God softened my heart and gave me the desire for children and then gave me the desires of my heart. E and I thought that life couldn’t get any better. We felt abundantly blessed to have Israel Grace. For reals. And things seemed . . .right.
Then came baby girl two and I was stunned. Thirteen months later, she came sweetly into the world. So many negative emotions flooded my mind and heart simply because I felt that I wasn’t ready for another baby and I wasn’t trusting God to know better than me. (covers face in shame) I was terrified of what it would be like to have two children, much more two children less than two years old. Terrified. But I knew that I had to repent and get my mind right because whether or not I was ready He wanted to give me this gift and my, oh my, what a gift she is. Ava Joelle is a blessing of massive proportions. Absolutely.
My life seriously changed after she came. But not for the reasons you might think. Yes, it is difficult being mommy to two little girls. So much to do. So much to manage. SO much. But after we had Ava, we decided that I would stay home full time, instead of part time as I did once we had Izzie.
Staying home full time has been amazing and hard and on another day I’ll elaborate. It’s like a whole new world and nothing like what I imagined (I’ve watched too much t.v.). As much as there is to do and as busy as I am on a daily basis, loving my family, caring for them, educating the girls, training the girls, caring for and cleaning my home and so much more, the Lord completely opened up my life and showed me that I was missing something. One morning, I walked into my girls’ room and I could hear my Lord speaking to me, saying, “You can have the life you want. You can do what you want to do with your life. You are not in control but I have empowered you to make decisions. But first, you need to figure out what you want. ” And it felt like freedom to hear that.
I had recently heard an inspiring and exciting talk by my pastor’s wife, Mrs. Lynette Lewis (for more visit http://www.lynettelewis.com). As she excitedly and confidently spoke about dreams and their power to energize, she awakened something in me. And as she spoke practically about personal mission statements and how to put your dreams in action with the 1-1-1 rule (work toward one dream, once a week, for one hour) I became as the runner at the starting line at an Olympic track event; in ready position, just waiting for the sound of the gun so that I could take off running with the determination to win.
It appears to me that most of us have dreams and goals that we are not fulfilling for whatever reason–fear, lack of time, lack of resources, I could go on. But I am discovering that none of these issues are powerful enough to hold us still, except for the power that we give to them by making them legitimate. And what’s more, many of the dreams that I have are things that God placed inside of me and are related to my gifts and inclinations, unique only to me because of the purposes, works and people He has set aside for me to reach.
This week we had dinner with a sweet, sweet, funny couple (more on the wife, Whitney, soon). After dinner Whitney and I got to talking and she spoke about how her giftings, at one time, didn’t seem to be life changing because some may not take it seriously (but I’m telling you, this woman is amazing and her art is a reflection of the creativity, innovation and beauty of our God) as say, moving to a third world country, adopting orphans and building homes while sharing the gospel. But then she spoke about how we, as God’s people, the representation of the Kingdom, are called to positively change and effect our culture, in. every. way. That includes moving to third world countries and working there as well as it includes making a difference right where we are. We are called to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). So let’s figure it out friends. What is it that makes your heart beat? What would you do if you knew you could not fail? What work would you do even if you knew that no one would pay you a penny or a compliment for doing it? And where is God in these things? Speak to Him. Offer yourself up to Him and ask Him how He’d like to use you to change the world for His glory. Listen closely and carefully. Then get going! I believe that there is no job too big or too small, too silly or too meaningful when it is set to the tune of His course and purpose. Let’s lay aside every weight and get busy.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
photo taken by raine, found on flickr.com