My writing has been hit or miss the past year. I apologize. It's been a year when my heart's been heavy and so many of the things in my mind have felt too personal to share or have been bits and pieces of other people's stories, and I haven't felt it was mine to tell. So I've been waiting. Waiting for inspiration or some brilliant thing to come upon me that would certainly be compelling enough to warrant a blog post.
But for the most part, nothing came.
I sat and stared at the screen. I typed words, and then I hit backspace until the page was white again. And I shut the computer down.
I've felt a little inadequate sometimes, to tell the truth.
My reality was shattered to bits by moments spent on the other side of the planet. Standing on a hilltop in a Ukrainian village whose name I still can't pronounce, looking past the smoke from burning trash piles to make out the tiny white speck of a building I was told by the boy standing with me had been his mother's home. I stood there and caught my breath in my throat, because in that moment he stood beside one who desired to be a mom to him and could not be, because of governments and aging-out of adoption eligibility, looking out at one of the remaining bits of visible connection to a mother who had passed away. And I just have struggled with how to reconcile all this in my mind, even though I know we live in a broken, hurting world.
I wondered how many times he'd climbed that hill and looked at that house.
His village is a thousand years old. We were jokingly told we may have been the first Americans to go there. (I wonder if it's maybe true.)
We ate fresh sunflower seeds, plucked from the gigantic center of a flower he pulled out of a seemingly endless field of yellow.
It's these moments that have sort of tripped me up this year.
But they weren't all heavy.
We had a good laugh that my husband ate the shell of the sunflower seed, and that I ate the skin of a grape (and lived to tell... we Americans... I tell you what), and we all thought it was funny that we were in great anticipation of a small-town parade when we heard horns and sirens ringing out when in truth it was some sort of Ukrainian signal that you could take your garbage to be disposed of.
When I came home I cried. And I pushed the Lord to please do something. Anything. Give me something to "do" so I feel better about all of this. Give us an adoption plan. Give me a ministry opportunity. Something. Something to be busy and to feel productive.
But I'm learning again to quiet that and to wait. And that's not really my strength, but it's something I am developing with practice, this waiting and this patience. (If you haven't yet, I highly recommend NOT praying for patience.... really. Anything but patience. There must be oodles of things God develops in us that are more fun to develop than patience...)
And somewhere in the midst of my stubborn nagging of the Lord to let me remind him of his will and to be sure he knew how very good and well thought out all my plans are for my life, He reminded me of something.
I already have something to do.
I already have a ministry.
He's been whispering to my heart about how my eyes sometimes are focused too far out ahead of me. So I've pulled back. And I've been renewing my focus on home and family and the things that are right this minute my work and my offering to him. And all of these things - these children, this man, our home - are gifts to my life from a really loving and gracious God. A God who gives good things. Who is good always.
Last night, I went into a small group class at church called Christianity in the Marketplace. So, yes, I partially went because I was a smidge shy to go into the women's Bible study alone.... I know, I know- I'm too old to be nervous to attend something without a friend. But there you have it. It's true. So I tagged along with my husband to this class. And you know what? It was wonderful.
It was relevant for me. Because I do have a marketplace. It's my home. And in that hour last night, as we heard teaching and as I read the familiar passage of scripture reminding me to "do everything as unto the Lord," I was so encouraged to see my "work" in a new light. I was able to grab hold of the vision that I saw so clearly 4 years ago when I first stayed home full time. God reminded me that what I do each day in my home, if I do it heartily and for Him, does have big impact and eternal value.
It's easy for us moms to sometimes forget that what we spend our days doing is of great value. And I think sometimes the most critical voices we hear are our own. We sometimes try so hard in our own strength to "make" something valuable of our lives and our time, when really, it's already that. Because each of our moments is a gift from God. And no matter what it is we do, when we do it fully and joyfully and diligently and heartily and "as unto the Lord," we can consider our days an offering to give back to the One who has given us this gift of today.
Today is beautiful. I had coffee earlier than usual, and Sage and I made granola bars. We took coffee to my husband at work. Then we went to Target and chose some fun things to use making birthday gifts for my mom and grandmother. Sage leaned her second memory verse of our "ABC's of Scripture," and she recited it while working diligently on her special gift. She played the metal triangle instrument we found in the dollar section of Target spontaneously at a number of different occasions: to signal nap time, to signal prayer time, to signal that I could give her a kiss. (Now it's quiet upstairs, so I'm enjoying her sleeping after a 3 week stretch wherein I feared she'd outgrown nap time!)
I'd like to encourage you today to see your time and your life and your value as the Lord does. Right now, today, you are in a place where God will use your energy and time and talents to be a blessing to others and an example of His love in this world. Have you had any seasons of life that God has used to change how you see your time? Are there any ways I can be praying for you today?