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This has been one of the strangest New Years for me. Normally I love getting out my planner, reviewing goals, setting news ones, and dreaming about the future. But this year I find that our family is not even at a cross-roads… we are in the middle of nowhere without any idea of which direction to go or how long it will take us to reach and unknown destination.
I let my pen hover over my blank piece of paper… I got nothing.
I know I’m going to have a baby in July (God willing, of course.) My husband doesn’t have a job. We own a company that hobbled along last year as we learned how to run it by making just about every mistake we could make. Lord, please let that have been most of the mistakes.
My parents still live with me and their situation is getting worse each month. I’m worried for them and yet there is nothing I can do for them other than let them live with us.
We will continue to homeschool though we are considering a two day per week homeschooling co-op in the Fall… if my husband gets a job and we can afford it.
I think we can afford to stay in our house so I don’t believe we’ll have to move. We have no reason to travel this (i.e. weddings or reunions.) In a way, when you can’t spend money, it certainly simplifies your to-do list. There won’t be any house painting, book buying, new kitchen gadgets to try,
I can’t really start an exercise regime beyond pregnancy walking/stretching. I tried to put together a food plan but honestly, I don’t know what I’ll be able to keep down one day to the next so even that felt a bit silly.
In short, I’m left planning a year that I really can’t plan for. If you find yourself in the same position, here’s what I recommend you do:
- Humble Yourself. The truth is, we never have real control over our lives anyway. Women get this turned around all the time. We think that we can organize or schedule our way into control thus keeping out life’s unpredictable nature, but that’s a lie. There will always be unexpected twists and turns in our great life.
- Embrace Suffering. I find myself trying to run from pain and suffering. My first reaction is to avoid these whenever possible. And yet the more I read about the lives of the saints, the more I come to understand, not only the redemptive power of suffering but also what a gift it is in my own life. Never have I experienced great suffering where I did not emerge a better version of myself afterward.
- Pray More. I know, I know, I say this all the time. But I say it because I find that I STILL don’t pray enough. ME! It’s so easy to get caught up in life and taking care of the kids, that I don’t protect that prayer time. If you can’t work on improving your life because you have no idea where your life is going, it’s the perfect time to surrender everything to the Lord and pray.
- Serve Others. There is always someone worse off than you. Even if you have no money, you probably have time to write thoughtful emails or make phone calls to check in on the elderly or other people who are lonely. We don’t have much money but I can afford to have people over for tea and cookies and sometimes, another mama really needs that. Serve others instead of wallowing in your own unfortunate circumstances.
- Let Go Of Fear. I’ve been spending so much time worrying about the 100 different scenarios that could be played out this year, that I can guarantee I’ve been worrying about at least 80 things that will never happen. How silly is that? Why would we ever waste time worrying about something that is never going to happen? I never worry about tornados living in Bosie. Why am I worrying about whether or not Rose will understand math in six months? If you’re struggling with this one, I highly recommend reading On the Other Side of Fear by Hallie Lord.
Don’t worry about me, please. We are doing just fine. I just feel like a fish out of water in some new circumstances. The Lord has asked me to jump without seeing the net and I’m doing my best to obey.
I am safe. I have a home and I can feed my children and read them books. Really, that puts me in the top 1% of people in the world.
These last few months have helped me to see that a lot of people really do lead unpredictable lives. While I would love everything to fit neatly on a page in my planner with checklists for everything, that isn’t something God promises us. In a way, it has been freeing to let go of my fake control and to really trust that God will give us what He intends to give us. It may not be what I want and it probably won’t even be something I can imagine right now but it will be what I need.
It will be up to me whether I spurn the life He gives me or whether I embrace His plan and am forged into a Saint. After all, that’s what our lives should all be about. But I’ll be honest, I kind of need a daily reminder of that to stay focused!s