It has been a long time since I’ve written, and a lot has happened since then. Let me give you the Reader’s Digest version. Let’s see…I need to go back to April. Before Easter. Before my life got thrown off its trajectory.
I was working on not complaining through Lent. I did okay. It was a great lesson for me; it improved my perspective and set a higher standard for what I expect from my children’s attitudes.
I was also up to my neck in Easter Passion rehearsals. That was an incredible experience. Playing Martha forced me to focus less on what I felt I needed to “do” and spend more intentional time just “being” in God’s presence and letting Him do the “doing”. That’s not to say that we are meant to be passive in everything, but I have spent way too much time begging God to show me what to “do” in crisis situations. I needed to rise to the next level in resting and trusting. The Lord, in His oh-so-good timing and care, allowed me to start practicing that lesson before the crisis hit.
The week before Easter, we got an email that changed everything for our family. We had been planning on moving to Ethiopia this summer. Having lived there for two years previously, we felt led to return as long-term missionaries. We had already applied and been accepted as members with a mission board, we had been approved as missionaries by our home church, my husband had begun to close down his business, we had been fundraising for several months, and we were getting ready to sell our house. And then we got word of an insurmountable obstacle preventing us from going.
We were devastated. It felt very much like a death, like a miscarriage. All of our plans and expectations for what the next few years would look like were gone in an instant. Our future was suddenly interrupted by a chasm of unknowns and unanswered questions. And there was nothing we could “do”. We couldn’t change it or fix it. Nor could we simply go back to how life was before. The calling on our lives was still there, even though the foreign mission field was no longer an option.
The ensuing months brought emotional ups and downs as we mourned, prayed and waited for God to reveal His new plan for our family. I have spent many days trying not to “do” but to just rely on Him for that day. We looked at a variety of local mission opportunities and just didn’t feel like God was calling us to dive into any of them. And so I rested and let God “do”.
Meanwhile, there was ongoing family drama which forced me to realize that maybe I’m not supposed to “do” anything for now. Not outside our family, anyway. It’s time for me to be “doing” less out there and focus my energies on my kids for a while. The summer months should have been a natural and easy time for me to start on that, but I think I failed more days than I succeeded. Sibling conflict sends me too quickly into my default retreat mode (a skill that’s leftover from my PPD days) and I miss the opportunity to help my kids deal with the situation in a healthy way.
Now school has started again, Pat has started a new job, and I have forced myself to remain uncommitted to church and community ministries for this year. I’m convinced that God’s plan for me right now is to focus on my family. If I was a better mom, I wouldn’t find that task so daunting! But at least I know I’ll become a better mom in the process.