"Hurry UP!" I'll often say as I backseat drive with Asa (my husband). "You could have made it through that light," I've sighed. The cars in front of us are at a stand-still behind a train. "You want me to hurry up just to wait?" he'll respond.
I do this ALL. THE. TIME. Hurry up to wait. I'm impatient! I know it is obnoxious and far from righteous! I try to be a good listener, and most of the time I think my friends would vouch that I am; but when it comes to actions and time on the clock, I hurry. I'll catch myself on walks with the kids, "Hurry up, Reese," I'll rush my two-year old on our way to the playground. Why am I hurrying her? She's a 'stop and smell the roses' kinda girl, but what's wrong with that when we just have time to kill before Dad is home? Climbing in and out of the car, "Hurry up!" I'll exclaim to my still small toddlers. I know they're doing their best, that their tiny legs can only move so fast. I know I need to chill OUT.
And now I am at a point in my life where what I hear God say is this: just wait and just LISTEN.
Okay, God, I'll wait. And I'll listen. But then I forgot to adhere to that promise.
Do you want in on a little secret? Okay it's not little--it's actually huge. And I've been trying to contain my excitement but it's time to just let that loose: next school year, I get to just be Mom. Yup! Next school year I am taking some time off from teaching to focus first on my kids + in the midst of it, I'll get to dig deeper into photography + writing. There are still some kinks to work out, but for the most part, it is looking like after September I'll be able to take some time off to focus on these things. And I know I have heard God's voice in this direction. My husband has heard God's voice in this direction; and together we've decided, this just makes sense! Will it be breezy? Not at all! And our bank account will obviously be the deciding factor of when I need to return to the classroom... but this is the first time in a VERY long time that I have heard His voice say, 'Go ahead and jump. You can't see the future, but I can. And I'll walk with you every step of the way in figuring it out.'
But beyond this, which mind you is HUGE... I'm waiting to hear His voice. Let's be real--being honest is difficult. It's awkward, it kind of makes us want to gag, and social media for the most part, portrays the opposite of authenticity. But in this space, I promised to strive to be real and raw. I would write my emotions, my feelings, my thoughts and then I would take a leap by sharing it with YOU. So honestly? I'm at a weird time in my life. My friendships feel weird, our church situation is weird, my goals and hopes, it all just feels out of sorts.
Let's start with friendships:
I grew up with the best friends EVER. A group of girls and I have known each other since we were teeny, tiny four-year-olds. We went to church together, school together, lived at each others houses and then when eighteen hit, we all moved away. Different colleges, states, phases of life... some have kids, others don't. Some are married while others remain single. Though we're all the same age, we are all in a different phase of life. We keep in touch; texts, e-mails, sporadic phone calls, but obviously, it's different. I've written before about seasons of friendships--God has blessed me generously with women throughout time, that were all there at the right time. When I entered my first pregnancy, I had women within the church who were having babies at the same time. There were hundreds of middle of the night texts, sob-fests to each other, venting speals and at the end of the day, I knew they were by my side and could understand when it felt no one else could. The same went for my second pregnancy, a couple women who were always just there. But now I'm in a different stage; two toddlers, our church family has drastically changed, we are busy working parents and I have been missing so badly, having a close-knit group of girlfriends. I know I can call, text, comment on Instagram to ANY of the sweet women in my life, but my heart longs for that one girl. Have you ever watched Grey's Anatomy? Please say yes... Meredith calls Christina Yang, 'her person.' That's their theme, their friendship, how we as viewers refer to them. Maybe it's not practical for an almost twenty-eight-year old married woman/mom of two kids, but I want it--the type of friendship that knows when to bring a pint of ice cream over to empathize or the bottle of champagne to celebrate. I long for this, but a friendship like that takes TIME. It take lots of pursuing, lots of patience and lots of grace. Friendships are NOT to be hurried because if they become that way, usually they fizzle out. So: I've been asking the Lord to steer my heart, give me peace in my current relationships, and to just help me wait. ("Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act."- Psalm 37:7)
And now, Church:
Years ago, Asa and I left the Church he was raised in for twenty + years. There was a LOT that went into that deciding factor and for the first year of our marriage, we argued a LOT over theology, scripture, and how we understood these things. We walked in to a college church plant back in 2010 and after hearing the pastor speak, we both knew we had heard God say, "This is your new home." It was during that year that we also heard Him tell us that buying our first home in one of the worst zip codes in the nation, was His will. After our first walk-through in the house (which I knew I wanted just from the photos), we walked around the park. We watched a teenage girl get tackled by her mom and seconds later, police officers were crowded around. Tears streamed down my face not because I was scared, but because my heart was screaming, "You are needed HERE." Shortly after we purchased it, a prostitute broke into our home as I nursed my newborn son. My husband was getting groceries, she was strung out on drugs and as one arm shielded Pierson (my son), the other pointed her to the back door. Instead of feeling like it was time to look elsewhere for home-sweet-home, both Asa and I heard our Lord say, "I am here." Back to what this means for me church wise--I love our church. I love the people who call it home and our pastors have started an incredible mission. Recently though, we went through a merger and while I understand why it was necessary, my heart has been grieving the surplus of friends and families who have left. Before the merger, my heart had already experienced this; as lots of our friends made the decision to find somewhere else that had larger kids' ministries. I got it, we were still largely a College Church at this time, but our kids were young enough where they were still doing okay and loving where we were at. Zero for Two: that's how I have been feeling. I've said so many goodbyes and I have lost contact with so many people who were dear to my heart. I'm just at a weird place figuring out where God has ME in all of this. Where do I fit in? Where is my calling? Where am I needed? Regardless, this is not a decision to be rushed--church seeking or deciding. It's a matter that needs to be prayed upon, continuously; it is something that requires a ton of discussion and then honestly, a period of waiting. So: I have been asking Him to be my voice, to guide my spirit and that he will fulfill the immense void that I feel. ("I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised."-Psalm 105:5)
The In Between's:
How often have you heard me joke that all I want for Christmas is a horse? Except that it's not a joke... my heart beats everything horse! If you have ever been to the Kentucky Derby Museum with me, then you've actually witnessed me tear up in their wrap-around movie theater, where they play the movie The Greatest Race. Horses are the reason I moved from Michigan to Kentucky and they've always been my happy place. My heart longs for open fields, an old barn and a horse or two to house inside it. I want my kids to grow up opening their back door without worrying about a car flying past them. For barn kittens to be loved on, chickens to gather eggs from and a front porch worth sitting on as we sip coffee and overlook the pastures. As I approach my tenth year in this city (WHOA!) none of that is yet feasible. We've looked endlessly at properties on 1+ acre but every single thing has been unrealistic and out of our price range. Sometimes I get so down in the dumps, and I fear that my dream will never be a reality...This passion doesn't go away, it has not yet been stifled and honestly, over the years it's a fire that has burned even hotter inside my heart. But it is not something that I can rush. With our family practically going to one income next year, I know that this dream probably needs to be put on hold even longer. Maybe God will totally surprise us, but waiting for answers is a necessary step. Time, money, location... all such huge factors that at times, have me so restless. ("Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take courage, yes, wait for Him."-Psalm 27:14)