Friday, April 1, 2016
It's funny how life unfolds. One moment you're hustling diapers and work and divorce. The next you wake up and the diapers were 13 years ago, the work is completely different, and the divorce is long behind you with a new partner in your life. You literally go to get a bagel, turn around and your life has aged 10 years.
I had awakenings during my thirties. I came into myself. I found grace. I found God. I walked through pain. Uncovered hidden insecurities. Left behind pretense for raw truth. It was a brutiful time in my life.
Fast forward to now...in 8 months I will be 40. Four. Tee. I honestly don't know how I got here. I don't know how a thirteen and eleven year old stand before me. At thirty, I felt incapable. At almost forty, I feel rushed for time. I feel the weight of raising strong, courageous, gentle, holy women while learning how to raise a man child. But honestly, most of the time I just feel lost.
I wake up with my to do list and I run through the day from thing to thing checking off and hoping to God that I'm doing it with grace. I've complained internally to myself and sometimes God about the mundane tasks before me. (I don't out loud because then my peaceful "I am wonder woman" cover would be blown.) I race hard to run from myself. To run from my own internal questions. Much like I did at 30.
Again, It's funny how life unfolds. I was quite sure "I did my work" as Iyanla Vanzant says when I progressed through my thirties. But as I near forty, I realize all of life is doing the work. I realize that as we go from one level of enlightenment and revelation we are propelled into the next. I realize that things and areas we felt we had "conquered" come back again and again and require the dreaded "work". I realize that as my Dad tells me, we work till we die trying to become like Him. I realize I will continue to fall and fail. Conquer and celebrate. I will continue to uncover truths and lies within. I will continue to work.
It has been a hard realization. I lived a couple of years in a kind of numbed out bliss. It was awesome. I moved from book to book. I spent money like crazy. I let my kids destroy their room. I also worked 16 hour shifts, went to school full time as a single mom, and financially carried our little tribe. But while I was working hard and thought growing in enlightenment, looking back, I realize I was only answering to myself. I only could judge myself by myself. Which I find now leads to self imposed importance and impression. Hence...numbed out bliss.
I have found that it is in the trenches of chaos, goals that are un-obtained as previously thought, failure, mundane daily tasks, budgets, clean kid rooms, and grace that I am really called to become enlightened. I am really called to soar and grow. Experience gives us weight behind our words. Failure gives us healthy fear and humility. Reality gives us a good ol shot of what our character really is in the light of day. It's not easy. It's not always fun. It's definitely not pretty.
What I have written so far sounds so dark, I realize. But here is the deal...it's not. It's necessary, but not so much dark. I sat with my sister in law a few weeks ago and she said a statement I've heard a thousand times "Life is just hard." But for some reason, I've replayed that statement in my mind a thousand times since. It struck me as I thought about people I love, people I nurse, people I see in the news. No one has it easy. Not even those with the perfect Instagram families. The ones who are fit, gorgeous, beautiful home, God lovers, great marriage...they still have closet moments of doubt. They still are going to counselors for anxiety. Those who are single, who appear to be living the dream with no worries of schools for children, or what to feed the family for dinner...they still are searching for someone to talk about their day with, they still feel lonely when they post their amazing pics from the latest all inclusive trip to the Bahamas. Life. Is. Hard. None of us get out alive or unscathed.
Ok. Still sounds dark. Here's the beauty:
This. This is how it is meant to be. We were not created to live in a sweet cocoon of bliss. We were created to seek. We were created to rest in Him. We were created to know that THIS. This is not all there is and it shouldn't satisfy nor sustain us. We were designed to always feel the gap. The gap that reminds us...no other gods before me. No idols. No happiness you ever find in this life is bigger than me. God. Hence, we will always be "doing the work." The beauty in that is in those closet moments of doubt, unrest, insecurity and downright madness...we are comforted by a peace so strong that we can only crave more. We are sustained by a love so tangible that nothing or no one will ever come close to the acceptance and joy we feel when in relationship with our Daddy God. It was meant to be this way. Even the bitter becomes sweet. It's how He designed it.
So...when I have the hard conversations with my teen, when my husband and I face insurmountable challenges trying to raise a tribe and work as a team, when I feel the weight of forty and I'm running out of time...I am reminded...THIS. This is what it's all about. This is what I was created for...this..as Brene Brown would say "is the rumble." These moments, these obstacles, these moments of joy when I hold my baby and he laughs his belly laugh...these are all part of the divine purpose of my life. My calling. There is NOTHING bigger. NOTHING greater than walking it out...trusting the designer that the frame he has built is solid, secure, un-scathable (Yes, I made that word up) . It is His plan for each of us. When we dwell in the design he has for us, we begin to see the beauty of the light that floods through the widows of the structure. We begin to realize the hope of our calling. We begin to feel the joy...not bliss. Bliss fades. Joy is eternal.
Then we realize...ah...THIS. This is what you meant by abundant life. THIS. This is what you meant by eternal life. All the mess. All the work. It's a beautiful structure. We can choose to dwell on the dilemmas or we can see the blueprint that will take a lifetime to complete. We can trust the architect and his expertise, or we can try to be a sub contractor of our destiny and have leaks in every room. The choice is ours. A life...or abundant life...
I'm choosing abundance. Right here. Right now. I'm choosing the way that knows the internal hole is there for a reason and it will never be filled until I see Him. I'm choosing the beauty in what is not sexy most days and requires monotonous, repeated actions to acquire the goals we have set. I'm choosing to embrace gratefulness for the process because in the work I find Him...and I find me. Isn't that the point?
Grace n Peace,