I feel my identity changing like the tides in the ocean, coming on slow enough to kind of prepare, but as soon as the wave hits its swift and powerful and knocks you right out. Like, you see it coming but nothing can quite prepare you for what it will do to your heart. Waves, pulling me down and tossing me about, giving me a beating for my own good, reminding me to hold tightly to Jesus and nothing else.
Have you had any major identity changes? Identity change: you have been living one way and pursuing a certain way of living or a career/job path or living in a specific home or suddenly becoming a stay at home momma or an empty nester, thinking and believing it is all you ever dreamed of...and then wham something happens to shake you up, change your plans, and remind you that this life is not your own.
My main role in life: exist. That's what it has been feeling like this week. I am tied between beautiful things of being Loren's helper/Youth Ministry co-pilot, cleaning other people's houses, paperwork and paperwork and emails and phone calls for this beautiful process of adoption, side jobs that I am not good or fit to do, photography, being a friend, and garage sales and getting our spare bedroom all ready to paint and add book shelves and... anyways, there is also some minor speaking engagements and writing mixed in there, as well as meeting with a few of my beloved girls and more. Always more.
My brain melted this week.
Tuesday all I did was run errands and cry. I cried so much. Over so many things.
I even snot cried on Jesse's black t shirt in her garage. What a pal.
I seriously have these sorts of days every time I am on the cusp of a speaking engagements.
Then Bethany sent me this: Dear Mom of an Adopted Child. <-- please read this, for the love of all things. It already means so much to me, and I know it can only mean more as we move deeper into this process. I wish I could share with you ALL. THE. THINGS. But soon, grasshopper, soon. ... I finished writing all of the names of the dozens of people who donated their precious pennies towards our adoption and sat down to read this. And then I sobbed some more. You know those really ugly cries, the face crinkles and big tears, mascara bleeding? I already had little mascara left on those chunky eye lashes.
My friends Jesse and Kathleen offered to take my spot at Youth Group so that I could cry and pray. We ended up making a Plan C but can we celebrate friendship at its finest? When one friend is breaking about everything, crumbling to bits as her identity is ripped to shreds (so a newer and more beautiful one can emerge), the other two pull themselves together and figure out ways to help the mess of a dear (that would be me).
As Loren and I walk through life, day by day, I find myself simply surviving and fighting for dear life; not a place I want to be. I wrote this status on my FB Blog Page Monday:
I feel that I might die in my sleep soon.
Last night Loren locked me in our room and grounded me while he did the dishes and cleaned our home. He said, "no phone, no computer, no paper work, no cleaning. Lay on that bed and either read or sleep." I fell asleep in 30 minutes and slept for 13 hours.
Busy-ness has overtaken who I am. It isn't good. It's not beautiful. It's not God-like. I wrotedown a list this morning of the million ways my brain is churning and the various tasks for this week. Here are a few for the week: •free photoshoot for students (edit them too) •speaking at a baccalaureate •posting everything for sale at a closed down restaurant •house cleaning jobs •editing & delivering last week's sessions •preparing for our garage sale •preparing & attending a birth fair •premarital session (prep and do) •puzzle fundraiser •begin home study paper work & background checks •youth group •meet with 1 girl
This week's to do's has overtakend my sanity. My well being. My marriage. It's embarrassing. Humiliating. Not what I want.
Your list may be longer or shorter, but let's not compare because our hearts may be similar.
I want to enjoy each of these things, not rush through them to get to the next. You too?
So here is what we, me and you, need to do. We need to slow down and give thanks and breathe in now. I forget how to do this. I forget how to enjoy now, this moment, this breath. And I go-go-go. And for what?
This morning I read a paragraph in Isaiah that kicked me in the gut. It was about "a day of crushing trouble" and walls coming down and a battle emerging...it described the response of the people of Jerusalem as BUSY. Running amok. Trying to frantically fix everything.
Then the words said... "But your feverish plans are to no avail because you never ask God for help. He is the one who planned this long ago."
So I stopped. And I asked, "What do you want me to do this week? How can I honor you and be a part of your plan, not mine? You see things differently than I...less frantic and time crunched. What can I do today?"
And He impressed upon my heart, "Today is the day you set apart for rest. So rest in me. Tomorrow will come and when it does, ask me again."
As my identity as a staff-member-church-leader-pastors-wife
rips itself away from me shifts and morphs into a mom who is working hard to bring home our baby, who also cleans houses and photographs people, I know that He has greater plans for me than busy-ness. I know that He has it taken care of, planned out, sorted through. Not that I shouldn't be active and playing my part... but I don't believe that Jesus calls us to exhaustion and fatigue. And in my running ragged to "make ends meet," I am proclaiming that He is not trustworthy. Yet again, taking the provision into my own hands. That is not a freedom-filled life.
He invites those who are weary to lay our burdens down at His feet. To take what He has for us, which is so free and beautiful and joyful. Filled. With. Joy.
So as my identity shifts painfully, but beautifully, I cling to the Truth that He has an identity placed on me as His daughter; He identifies me as beautiful and delightful and His -- though so often I don't feel those things. But guess what is so rad about Jesus? Our feelings do not dictate who He is. What freedom in those words I just typed.
He has not called us to busy-ness. He does call us to work as though we were working for The Lord in all we do...and I don't know that I would be frantically fighting my way through the day trying to get to bed and sleep just to get through the next day, if He were standing at my door ready to hand me the day's work.
Jesus, handing me the day's work. I think that is key in the temptation to busy-ness. Asking Him to lend us grace and insight into what needs to get done today. And breathing when it doesn't.
And always remembering: grace.
Did you read that post? Here it is again. Dear Mom of an Adopted Child.