This New Year's Eve, as I anticipate 2016, I have been in an interesting place in my heart. To be honest with you, dear reader, I feel more uncertain about my future than ever before. I will be 27 in this coming year and for someone closing in on 30, I can hardly believe how the years have flown by and how little I tangibly have to show for them in the eyes of the world.
In the spring, I am scheduled to graduate with my Bachelor's Degree. It took me a few years to go back to school, but with everything I've been through, I am proud of myself. It has never been about impressing anybody or doing it simply because it's "what people are expected to do" after high-school. In fact, I quite rebelled against college for a while because I didn't feel called to a specific job and didn't want to go and get into debt for no good reason.
Speaking of not feeling called to a specific job or career path, I look around me at my peers and those younger than me and wonder what's wrong with me that I don't have the passion and desire to become a nurse, an accountant, among other respectable careers that make enough money to live a comfortable life. Not to mention I am more of a Writing/English/History kinda gal rather than Math/Science (that's seriously an understatement ha!).
But when it comes down to it, my dream has always been one that's considered old-fashioned these days. I want to be a wife and mother with all my heart. I know some people think that's "wasting my potential," but I've never cared what other people thought. Let them think I am not smart or that I'm not "feminist" enough in my thinking. I know that being a wife and mom is one of the most beautiful things to be entrusted with in all of life.
After Luke and Lily and everything that I experienced, it was as if God awakened my heart to another passion and desire so embedded deep within me. To share my story and the working of Jesus Christ in my life with anyone willing to listen.
For a few years, I was so anticipating the future that I knew God would script for my ministry. I knew He was calling me to be a writer and speaker and that He would open up the doors in His perfect time and way... and He did. I have had the blessing of sharing my story with literally thousands of people.
Then along the way, different things happened that caused me to become disillusioned with the "pro-life movement." Hurtful things. Some things I did nothing to cause and other things caused by me in my immaturity and sinfulness. Things that I know have wounded me that I carry that I need to fully allow Jesus to carry for me. Things that cannot be undone, but must be surrendered and set free. I have grieved realizing the pro-life movement is not what I thought it was and how wrongly I have been treated by those who have the name of Jesus on their lips and a passion for life in their hearts. Don't get me wrong... I of course am still pro-life, but I realize more and more that I don't want to be associated with a particular "movement." As I have said many times, my story just so happens to be pro-life, but even more than that, it is about JESUS. Life matters because of the Author of life!
I have grieved wondering why people seem to dislike me, want to silence me, and why they can't see the beauty in this story God has written for me. I have also grieved the ways I have messed up and wondering if I have completely let the Lord down and ruined His plans for my life and ministry. Though He can't truly be surprised by anything, right? He who knows the end from the beginning. He who created me and my purpose.
There are some situations that seem impossible to be redeemed. But with God, nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). That's what He is in the business of doing, after all.
So as I said, I feel called to a life of ministry and being a wife and mom. These things are good desires that honor God. The only problem is, none of them are happening as I expected. I am single and my only children are in Heaven. I do speak and write and have opportunities to share, but it's certainly not full-time, as I thought and dreamed it'd be.
Life is just not happening as I thought it would. I am clinging ever so tightly to my faithful Heavenly Father in the uncertainty of an unknown future and unanswered questions and prayers. When nothing feels like it's happening, I am choosing to trust that He is working behind-the-scenes for what's to come. I am praying that 2016 brings fresh hope when it feels like my life is in a constant waiting room, stuck between the missing and the longing, as I recently shared. I am entrusting my past sins, mistakes, failures, hopes, and dreams to Him. I trust that He is working all things together for good as He promises to do (Romans 8:28). May my weakness and inability only highlight and point to His strength and ability and how He delights in impossibility.
A friend of mine named Tina recently wrote me an email and encouraged me in my singleness. She told me to not allow Satan to get me all knotted up and to "just do today." Those three words I have been carrying close to my heart. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and Scripture tells us to not fret over tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). May I trust Him today in my singleness. He has called me to be single today and His grace is sufficient.
I realized that I want to do something "BIG" for God... world-altering Kingdom work... But isn't that in itself prideful and selfish?! Deep down, I want to feel important in the eyes of this world (even if it's Christians) and special to God, like He'll love me more or less, dependent upon what I accomplish for Him.
"Just do today" applies to ministry as well. I don't need to see His plan for the coming year after I graduate, for 5 years from now, 10, or 20. May I focus on what He is asking me to do today. Even if I ever only serve Him again in small, unnoticed, and unapplauded ways, may I surrender everything, even my dreams that are good.
What can I do today?
I can give a comfort box to a local family whose baby boy isn't expected to survive outside the womb.
I can write faithfully on my own little space on the internet for a hurting heart somewhere in the world, though they may never even write a single comment, yet I know they are reading and parts of them are being healed because someone else is willing to openly share that has been where they are or have been.
I can email the young woman who my heart aches for because she reminds me of myself and how I struggled in similar ways as a teen because of my wrong choices.
I can volunteer at a pregnancy center.
I can remember my friend's baby who was regretfully aborted... my other friend's baby who was lost before birth... I can acknowledge their baby's life, their love for their baby, and their grief.
I can thank God for the opportunity and ability to do anything in His name and for the realization that each life is worth all the pouring into I can give. It is not about reaching thousands of people outside of God's will, but reaching few, if it's inside of His will. Because ultimately, I will make more of an impact when I surrender and follow His will, rather than my own... even if the "numbers" of impact don't line up.
If He never opens another door again for me to speak, am I okay with that? Do I trust it's up to Him in the first place to do so and that He'll lead me? I wouldn't want to share outside of His will for me to do so. Even if I question what He's doing and why He's not using me as I thought He would.
This all reminds me of something I shared on my blog this summer: "My satisfaction and fulfillment cannot and will not come from anything or anyone outside of Him, even dreams that were put in my heart by Him in the first place. If He asks me to entirely surrender them, I have to be willing. I have to always hold them out with open hands because it is He who has written this story, He who holds this story, He who has opened the doors for me to share it. He can close the doors anytime He sees fit too. And I must be ready to be obedient and glad in my obedience... I must recognize that my status as a mother does not change even if things were to become more quiet and private, even if I never shared another time publicly. I do believe God has much more for me to do in sharing my story, but if He were to ask me right now to lay it down, I honestly know that I would have a hard time letting go. Because maybe I do see some of my status as a mother in what I do for Lily and Luke. But me being a mother does not change depending upon what I do or don't do, just as it does not change just because my children are not growing up on Earth. And the significance of Lily and Luke's lives is not measured in how many people hear their story. Not only does my status as a mother not change depending on what I do, but neither does my status as a Christian. My value and worth to God is not found in what I do for Him. He doesn't love me more or less whether or not I've spoken a certain number of times in a year. He loves me, regardless of how I view my own "performance" as a Christian serving Him."
As I look forward with joyful expectancy to the new year, I am remembering that my identity is not to be tied up in my dreams and hopes for the future. To sum it up, this life is about Him, not me... not my dreams for ministry, not my desire for being a wife and mom.
It is not a scary thing to be in His perfect will, but the safest place. He will open doors for me to share. And if not, He will show me what job to pursue. He will give me just what I need, the moment I need it... whether that be good health to work (I haven't shared much about my health struggles on this blog, but perhaps I will soon)... or direction for a job... or opportunities to speak. Whatever it is, He's got it. And oh, what a beautiful gift it is to be ALIVE!
As I continue waiting, I will remember that obedience is not wasted. Surrender is not for nothing. I am going to "just do today."