How did you know you were ready?
Have you heard that before? In relation to having children, or settling on your degree, or getting married; this is a common question I often hear. And honestly? It's a question I still ask myself in relation to a LOT of things.
I recently listened to Dale Partidge's Startup Camp podcast and he was interviewing Pastor Steven Furtick. I had a long drive from Louisville to Wilmore, Kentucky and I turned it on right as my behind was getting super sore, my eyes a little fuzzy, and when I needed a boost of energy for the miles to go.
'You will NEVER feel ready', was one of the many quotes that I audibly and to myself, agreed with. Dale related this to the day they were being released from the hospital with their first child and I laughed. My husband and I often remember this exact day and moment for us with our first born, Pierson. "We get to just take him HOME? And no one is going to stop us?" We felt slightly panicked and nervous; there was no user manual or 'one right way' that we would parent this boy. We didn't know anything about breastfeeding or burping or which of his cries meant what. We just had to DO it--be parents. Day by day, hour by hour, and as we buckled him in the carseat [seriously SHOCKED that no one was standing by to ensure that we were doing it correctly], that was just the beginning of the scares and thrills of parenting we'd endure. He hasn't even started kindergarten yet, I can only imagine the things we are about to experience.
How did we know we were ready to have kids? We didn't. Because we still aren't ready. We aren't ready for the failures we'll endure, the heart ache they'll go through, or the immeasurable amounts of money that will be spent on them as the years pass by. We don't feel ready, but we can still trust. And I think God says, sweetly, not vindictively, "Daughter, just you wait."
Beyond children and the typical scenarios this question is most often related to, in my heart of hearts there's something that I don't quite feel ready for--even though I'm already doing it:
This season of quiet; this season of being still. The waiting, listening, praying, and being more present and open than ever.
When I talk dreams to my husband, I tell him that it's like having a million little houses placed all around my brain. There's the photographer house, blogger, writer, mom, wife, teacher... the travel house, michigan house, and horse farm house. And just like that, they keep multiplying. A visionary is a much nicer label for what someone like me IS, but really and truly, I'm a dreamer, and it's not always a good thing. It's like God gave me all of these things and right now, I can't for the life of me figure out what the ONE thing is. But at the same time, I do.
For an entire year, God blessed me with amazing clients and some really awesome collaborations. Why? Because I asked Him to. I wanted to take some time out of the classroom to stay home with my kids before our son starts kindergarten (which is in a mere six months, choking back tears here!) While I was teaching, I was basically working seven days a week with the photo sessions and product photography and blog posts that I was getting paid to do. So all of that honestly felt like extra; on the side, abundant, excessive, and really pretty awesome. And now, here I am. Home. The money is all in our savings, every other week my husband pulls what I need as a 'paycheck' to cover our expenses and bills, and I'm here. I am not what you would call 'hustling.' The emails are few and far between, photography sessions are kind of stagnant, and I went from doing it all, to feeling like that's almost vanished. My brain is spinning and I have a lot of questions, but I can faintly here the whisper again, "Daughter, just you wait."
'You don't have a lot of vision when you start,' Steven said. 'But the challenge is believing when you see nothing,' he told Dale. Right now, Motherhood is calling. I asked to be MOM, and to have that be my sole responsibility, and God answered. But I don't have a lot of vision for this coming year or what life will look like. I don't have people knocking down my door to take pictures or to write for them; I don't have huge companies asking for a partnership. And I think that's because God is asking me to water what I DO have, even though I'm not sure what will come up. We've been looking for a new house for TWO years, y'all. That is a VERY long time. My heart is quenched with thirst for land and open space. I want to see horses in our backyard and actually, I want to SIT with my horses IN my backyard. While I drove through Versailles and into the cute and quaint Wilmore, Kentucky, tears swelled in my eyes. Foals ran next to their mothers, horses were rolling on their backs in the morning dew, some were sleeping lying down and I said aloud, "This, God. This is what you created me for."
But my 'visionary' self isn't always very realistic. If I could sell my house and move to the middle of nowhere and not worry about jobs or money or bills and budgets, I would. Because in my fantasy world, I'd put on a cotton dress, hang our linens on a clothesline, pick fresh eggs from the chicken coop with my children, play tag in the pastures with our horses, and it would all be perfectly peachy keen. And then I would end up in JAIL because I wouldn't be able to make payments on our car, student loans, house, or medical bills. Thank God my husband can simultaneously push me forward to keep dreaming, as well as draw me back into patience and prayer.
There's a process here, and even though on quiet days it's sometimes the hardest to hear, I am being told, "Daughter, just you wait."
If money were no object, I would own a horse farm and do equine therapy with troubled youth and special needs children. I would use our farm to bring fellowship and community throughout whatever zip code we lived in. Asa and I would love people, raise our children, and ride horses. I would do photography whenever I wanted, write all the time, and it would be simple.
But money is obviously something that *most* of us do have to factor in. So while I have a huge chunk of freedom not working five days a week, I'm going to try hard not to worry about why things are quiet, and instead thank God that they are. My days consist of mothering and shepherding two young souls; a strenuous yet magical task. Whatever the Lord tells me next, I have a feeling it's going to be beautiful. Ready or not, He WILL pave the way, and He will make our path known. When you don't feel ready, just trust.