Tuesday, August 12, 2008

To Everything There is a Season...

I haven't been writing as frequently here lately. No, the title is not referring to some upcoming blog hiatus, some announcement that I've learned I need to call it a season on this blogging thing.

Rather, I've been wrestling with myself a bit. Shocking, huh? Heather, shadowboxing? Nah...

Anyone who's read here any length of time knows that I'm kind of a planning nut. I get visions of the future, of goals that I want to achieve and all of these subsequent expectations about just how things should go in getting there.

God has shown me time and time again that I'm a pretty silly girl for doing this. And I know that I shouldn't, I mean hello, HOW many times have I read James 4:13-17 and thought I was taking it to heart? I'm feeling a bit lot sheepish. As much time and effort as I put into these "plans," He's derailed me several times just to make His point[s] apparent to me.

Right now, I can just see Jesus saying, "Well, Pops, you know that Heather, she's a bit dense..."

"Boy, don't I know it too....Mmm-hmm," I can see Him clucking back. Then to me, He says, eyebrow cocked expectantly, "Honey, why dontcha take a look at that verse again, mmm-kay?"

Lately this inner wrestling match has had to do with my purpose in life.

I mean, I know the basics: I was made to love/honor/glorify God and also to love my neighbors during my stint on earth.

I know that God created me to be wife to this marvelous [albeit still very human] man I have, (ladies, he COMPLETELY cleaned the downstairs this weekend, without being asked, and THEN, DETAILED my CAR – which virtually had things growing in it, it was that disgusting, thus this feat was no small favor. He was the Acts of Service King – and you know what that means? He Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuurves me!) and mama to our precious kiddos, but somewhere along the years, I have added to these purposes my own understandings.

I’ve written on here before that when LMNOB came along, our marriage was not so great, and the finances were even worse. This tends to happen when you take two very broken people, mix them with the irrational mindset of youth, stir in an unplanned pregnancy (read: emotional taxation and bills as never known before), add a college graduation (read: still more bills as never known before, and a loneliness never previously experienced by one Ramblin’ Red, whose friends all got glamorous post-college careers and moved away), et, voila! Mass chaos, confusion and disillusion with life.

I had to go to work, financially, but truthfully? I wanted to go to work. I was going to be someone, damnit! From the time I was very young, I had somehow gotten it into my head that I had to BE[come] someone worthy of being loved, missing the point that I, just as God created me, AM someone worthy of being loved. Even now, I know the goodness of the latter truth, but comprehension of this wonderful reality proves elusive at times still.

Singing, ♫ ♩

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me….
Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Ahem, uh, hi, yeah, sorry ‘bout that…. ;-)

So, as I was saying, when I went to work, it was out of both financial necessity and a desperate attempt to find myself. Also, in effort to find respite from LMNOB’s then-undiagnosed sensory issues that presented in a she’s-just-REALLY-high-maintenance form with which I found it difficult nearly impossible to cope. Throughout the years, my employment has waxed and waned from full-time to part-time. I managed to negotiate a schedule that virtually gave me the freedom to be a FT SAHM to the kids during Punkinhead’s first year of life. It was my way of saying, “I DO love these kiddos, and I want them to bond with me, rather than a daycare provider, when they are still so little!” My thought was that if we bonded that first year, then child-care providers would later be distinguished by the kids as “not the real deal.” (Note – that’s a personal preference for ME – I do not judge others who’ve used childcare with their infants – you know what is best for you and your family and I am totally aware that there is always more to the story so I don’t even go there)

Four years ago, I went to work at my current position, at what was then a part-time, albeit much higher-paying/better benefitted gig. We had just bought our home, and health care had begun its sharply inflated climb – thus, this was a necessary maneuver for our needs to be met. As it would turn out, this job would meet more needs than we could have ever anticipated at the time. Somewhat indirectly, with the aid of counseling benefits I acquired at this job, my marriage was saved. And then LMNOB was diagnosed with SID (again because of our previous connection to our particular counselor, who would not have crossed our path had it not been for my counseling benefit, available thru my employer) and life looked totally different, in a good way, again.

I saw God’s Divine intervention unfolding like a scroll, and felt peace about working out of the home, seeking a career – to do His work, I justified- , and all of it, including the exorbitant costs of paying someone else to mother my own children (how I ever got at peace with that I’m not quite sure!). I felt that if God had done all of this stuff through my work, then surely that meant He wanted me to work. Period.

Except that, over this past year, God has been whispering into my heart a new desire: to be at home, full-time with my children. LMNOB’s sensory stuff is hard and exhausting to keep up with, and truthfully, I’ve just not been cutting it this summer. Punkinhead’s behavior has at times become antithetical to that which I wish any of my children to display. But most of all, Charlie Brown and I have been slacking in discipling our children to seek God first in all that they do, to learn about Him and His ways, to grow their own faiths as time keeps ticking them closer to being on their own. (BTW, time, STOP! I’m really not ready!)

For a long time, this longing was latent – there, but undetected, and haunting me. I think that this dissonance between my conscious self and the suppressed craving to be the mother God has been molding me into, has actually been masquerading as depression. I’ve been out of harmony with the Will of my Heavenly Father and rather than having the insight to realize this on my own, I numbed it with medication. To help me see that this tugging is more than what met my mind’s eye, I believe that He’s orchestrated a series of events to help me see that yes, He did plan for me to work, and He even worked through those efforts, but I was to work out of the home FOR A SEASON.

For a season – duh.

Nothing in this life is forever, nothing but Him and the Precious Savior that He gave to me.

So when I had a freakout moment about 6 weeks ago and later found a job that would help me to accommodate that still-covert yearning in my heart to be with my children, my blinders started slowly coming off.

I was really confused when it didn’t work out because I’d thought that it was so right, that surely it had been a sign from God. Well, it was, I think… But now I see that perhaps it was God’s way of warming me up to this idea of staying at home again. I’m reminded of the line in John Adams where Abigail said, in effect, that men prefer to think they came up with ideas presented to them, rather than being told what to do/think. Methinks that women do too.

Throughout the years, I’ve made the statement that I just wasn’t made to stay at home. That I lacked the patience, the maternal skill, etc. I think it was equal parts circumstantial truth (i.e. with LMNOB’s sensory stuff being undiagnosed, parenting her was incredibly hard and I was constantly yelling/frustrated/upset due to the extreme stress of it, thus I wasn’t cut out for it – who would be?) and protective rationalization to keep myself from being the tortured mother who wants to stay at home but needs to work for financial reasons.

Now that we know how to cope with LMNOB’s issues (sort of – as already I am anticipating some heavy preventive work relating to the teen year hormones combining with her “touch hunger”), coupled with the accrual of age/maturity since first having children, changes in our marriage relationship, etc., life is different, and could be even more different still, were we to make this jump my heart was now considering. I was awakening to the feelings that I am ready, willing, and excited to reclaim my children and be more of who they need me to be – the mother God intended for me to be.

These ruminations were all fine, all just an idealistic fantasy of my own – but the real test would be what Charlie Brown thought too. I needed to confer with my husband – who has tended to prefer the comforts of abundance over the sacrifices of simpler living at times. While on our vacation, Charlie Brown and I talked at length about our family’s future in this regard, among many other things. Surprisingly enough, we were on the same page for once, and set about planning as to how we could make my wish to stay home a reality.

Our only bump? Health care coverage. But, seeing as we’ve decided on a plan, GOD WILLING, (yes, I know, James 4:17) to pay down our debts this year with a target date of me quitting work about the time that the kids get out of school, we figure there is plenty of time to pray and seek God’s blessing of provision.

Then, bolstering this little spark in my heart into a consuming flame, a couple of weeks ago, a dear sister at my church approached me, calling out my heart re: my WOHM v. SAHM debate. I’ve been called out on this issue many times before, with not so gentle reproaches, but this time was different. Her message was long (indicating a great amount of thought and consideration) and asked tough questions, but it was seasoned with the wisdom described in James (heh, yeah, it’s a good book, on of my favorites) 3:17-18: she had pure intentions, was gentle with me, and was open enough to dialoguing with me that she was willing to yield about parts of her message that struck me as somewhat painful. Regarding the latter, she clarified for me where she was coming from in a godly attempt to make peace, and when all was said and done, I left the experience having felt completely blessed for it.

We shared this leap of faith with our life group last week, and one of the girls (we’re in the young adults group, I can’t say “ladies” when she’s the same peer group as me!) told me about MediShare. It’s this amazing Christian health-care ministry that is EXACTLY what we are looking for. One of their folks called me within a few hours of my web inquiry, and I’m totally stoked about joining them as I’m nearing the end of my tenure at my current employment.

I know I sound all Pollyanna Christian with all of this, but trust me, I’m still the same Heather. Still smart, still spunky, unconventional and slightly rebellious (read: God’s still shaping me). Still fatally flawed. And I’m still going to be talking about life very openly and frankly, because seriously, life isn’t lived delicately, peeps!

I feel at peace. For the first time in a very long time. Ever, maybe? Because for once I’m not steamrolling my way through life according to my own understanding/analysis. I’m resting upon the Lord and have I mentioned that I’ve never been so at peace?

And back to the purpose thing. Not to sound all conceited or anything, lol, but God’s blessed me with a gift for writing, and if not with content then at least with the ability to create prolific amounts of interdependent words, eh? I fully intend to explore venues that I can use that gift for good (and for income, for my family) as I begin the new chapter in life as a SAHM.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Lots of soul-searching. Lots of re-connecting with my Father. Spending lots of time with my kiddos and my husband, reuniting as a strong family unit. It’s LOVE all around, all this stuff I’ve been doing.

And LOVE never goes out of season.

© 2008 Ramblings of a Red-Headed Step-Child. All Rights Reserved

P.S. I spent upwards of 20 hours this weekend doing housework and laundry (note how laundry gets its own designation) and for the most part, I was not crabby at all. That is a true work of God, y’all. And my house is BEAUTIFUL because I cleaned with a cheerful and peaceful heart!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, where have I been? This is HUGE. I'm thinking good thoughts for you, girl.