It is a couple weeks into 2013 and already so much change and so much on the horizon for our family. I should be unpacking right now instead of sitting here processing my thoughts (um, procrastinate much?). So, we moved to a house this week which means we have been state-side for 6 months. 6 months is the longest we have been here for over 4 years and it finally feels more real. In an amazing exciting way and in a profoundly sad way. I miss everything that was Africa and with some space and distance and time I have realized just how rich our time there was, how much it changed me to my core. How with this space I have realized how much there was vastly simpler and how much was exceedingly more difficult. And how I needed that experience All of it. I hope and pray our girls realize someday how blessed they are to have lived there and seen and felt so much of God bringing His kingdom in our lives and to others. Anni senses it I know. She created “an Africa” box to put special memories from our time there and I almost sobbed because there is so much I want to pack into my own Africa box. But in this restlessness I know for sure we are where we are supposed to be. The closing for now of a chapter of our lives and the dawning of a new one that God wants to write.
A recent conversation between J and I about “where we are right now” ended by toasting to having no idea. There is moving, school option for the girls, future of foster care and adoption, future of our professional lives, what to focus on and where to be involved here, and being faithful to what He has revealed to us about the future and another stint overseas. Sheesh.
We really have no idea what is next and at the same time we have a fuzzy picture of what He has shown us and spoken to us and a clearer picture of who He is then we did 5 years ago (which mostly means I know more how clueless I am and how big God is).
We are waiting. Again.
Add to that the general feeling I am digging myself out from that I pretty much suck at everything. I am finally taking small steps towards pursuing things that I have put on hold in Africa or because I was busy birthin’ and nursing kids and even as I feel confirmed in these steps my inner critic is fiercely whispering ‘You’ll never be good at much so why try.’ On a recent day when my photography website was particularly kicking my butt (I may or may not have muttered a few unkind words at the screen) I opened an email from a dear friend who was also battling feeling craptastic at this Mama/be good at everything gig. And I cried because I happen to know she is amazing and often I take strength from the selflessness and grace in her mothering. I prayed and I asked that we could both rest in His peace and His plan and the abilities and skills and talents He has given us. And that is my prayer for you too. I think some of the pressure we all feel is this constant “image management,” as my brilliant friend Dre puts it,that is out there. You know where every other mama in cyberspace has beautiful kids in handmade clothes that never whip a toy at her sister’s head (um repeatedly). It is a lie ladies. We all have things we are great at and things we need to work at and I’m convinced we all need to be kinder to each other and ourselves as we figure it all out.
It is a New Year and I
read glanced at some magazine article about being the “new you” and was thinking that this new beginning is my chance to start over in a way, to be the version of myself I actually want to be. And then I was reminded how I will fail at that before I close this old laptop of mine. I actually giggled at the thought because at the same moment I had this overwhelming sense that in that all His grace will be enough. His Grace is enough for me and you. That is the Good News. And I am a new creation, everyday and in every way and it has nothing to do with me. That as we lose ourselves and lay down our lives He can do amazingly painful and beautiful things. And I don’t have to have it figured out and I don’t have to thrust myself forward in my own strength.
I can wait.
I have been thinking back to many times in my life where I read books, highlighted articles, and asked friends in attempts to “be prepared” (ya know, back when I thought one could actually do that well). And those are not bad things but when we put our trust in our ability to ‘handle’ whatever comes next we are sure to be disappointed. In my experience God is not always in well laid, strategic plans but in the surrendering of every plan I have.
I don’t ever want to forget what I have seen and have lived while being keenly aware of how much I still do not know. And I still have no clue what to do with it all. I have miles and chasms and leaps and baby steps to take but I am changed. On this strangely warm Chicago winter day J and I walked behind our two little girls, full of life, and laughter, and possibility. We talked and laughed and remembered that God saved them and they are here and that is enough of a promise for me today that He is present in my life even if I have few answers to what lies ahead. I have seen God’s power, experienced His Grace, and felt His love like I had never fathomed.
Because of this I can wait.
I can wait and watch and feel and listen and act on whatever and where-ever He is leading next. I will not think of right now as merely a stop over between where we were and where He wants us next. I will dig deeper and put down roots even if those roots might be pulled up again. I know He is working in my life and yours. Right now.