I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed. ~Ann Lemmott
How aptly that sums up 2017. It was a year of navigating our way through the maze of becoming a family of four, a year of job and living changes, and a season of dealing with unmet expectations. It was a year of precious family moments, yet deep disappointments. And, I’ll be the first to admit that in the winding journey, I grew weary. My heart lost its gratitude. I learned to stand up for myself and value my professional abilities. But it was also a year of fighting panic attacks, relational miscommunication, and feeling regularly on the verge of tears.
Have you been there? Maybe you are there now? A place where showing up for your life induces fear or perhaps shame, and you are vividly aware of your personal failings. You feel on the cusp of a transformation that is too long in coming. You’ve prayed for something others take for granted, and you dare not hope and be disappointed again.
We’ve been there. As a family. As a couple. And I lost my words sometime in the turning of fall to winter when the disheartening news continued. I lost sight of my dreams. I was jaded. Right before Thanksgiving we received news that the long awaited job wasn’t coming and we floundered in the questions of what to do, where to live, and how to raise a family in the midst of our weakness. I knelt on the floor of my in-laws bedroom and wept, my breathing too rapid and my heart too broken. What were we supposed to do next?
Am I proud of this reaction? Heck, no. I pictured myself further above the first world complaints of the imperfect job and the tight budget. I pictured myself walking through trials with more grace. I am still in the privileged top percent of the world’s population when it comes to material possessions and blessed beyond words with family and friends. And, yet the wait of the present circumstances rocked me deeper than I’m proud to admit.
I lost any imaginary control of the situation that I thought I possessed. Adrift in my own personal pity party, I struggled to emerge from the darkness.
This state was years in the making, but I’ll spare you the backstory. Bottom line is that I’ve had an uphill battle to accept God’s goodness again, to surrender to His plan versus my rigidly held one, and to come to terms with my inability to change the future by sheer force of will. You know the feeling? The intensity of those emotions? The pain of holding too tightly to emotions that are actually holding you back from living in joy? I imagine standing at the top of a cliff and dropping my need to plan every iota of the future off the side, watching it fall to the ravine floor. I smile at the image. My soul rejoices. I am more than those plans. I am a woman becoming made by grace. You also? What do you need to drop over the side today? I’ll host a dance party with you as the weight of that baggage is no more.
She wasn’t looking for a knight. She was looking for a sword. ~Atticus
I was looking for a sword of my own making and instead have found one of a completely different metal. I have discovered new gifts that allow me to coach of team of hundreds in the wellness world. I have found my primary calling in motherhood though I wrestle with my inadequacies. I have discovered new joy in my marriage and rest in slowly releasing control of plans that I had no job making anyway. And I’m learning humility in my weakness. I’m learning to be present in the NOW. I’m exploring rest.
And last week the phone call came. The one I’ve been waiting for years to receive. David on the other line: “I got a full-time job offer in my field…in Denver.” We met in the garage to weep as he came home, the months and months of feeling like nomads mingling with the relief of something permanent and something in the community we’ve been held by for years. And, so thank you. Thank you to those of you who have sent up countless prayers for our family. We are still waiting and believing for living situations that will allow us to spend wisely the new budget God has provided. We are still praying for clear direction.
But David has accepted a job.
I’m building two businesses.
And we have breathed a collective sigh of relief.
And want to thank you, Dear Readers, for the power of a community that hasn’t given up on me during my bitter days, my whiny days, and my downright depressed days.
I’m choosing to show up for this next season and not be ashamed.