Well, I'm officially back "online" again. As I mentioned in the last post, I spent the past 3 weeks "unplugged" in an effort to reconnect with my family... and it was most definitely worth it. The past 3 weeks have been such an amazing blessing. We took a road trip to Florida, by way of North Carolina for a Thanksgiving stop at Grandma's house. After that, we took our yearly pilgrimage to Florida. Usually this trip is filled to the brim with activities from sun up to sun down, but this year we did things a little different (in an effort to save both money and our sanity!). But, what I did get to do was spend a lot of quiet time with God...reading, studying, listening to music, talking about Him with my husband. One of the main purposes of this trip was for me and my husband to make a very important decision: Are we willing to COMPLETELY follow Christ? It sounds rather simple... but when you know, for a fact, that some of the things in your life don't line up with truly following Him, it can get a little uncomfortable. And truth be told, we can spend the next decade talking about being followers of Christ and what it looks like....OR we can work on becoming followers of Christ.
On the ride home from Florida, I began thinking about this blog and how God has used it to help me on this journey. And then I realized that with everything that I've written, I've never really taken the opportunity to share with you what He has done in my life. So before I pick up on the rest of Crazy Love, I want to give you a little glimpse into the past 6 months of my life. And here's a little warning: It's not pretty at times... but I'm not someone willing to shy away from my own inadequacies. In fact, it's really the opposite. I try to acknowledge them, give them over to Him and allow Him to change the "not-so-pretty" circumstances (on behaviors) into something that brings Him glory.
Six months ago, life was pretty good for us. My husband had willingly made a career change (which meant substantially less money, but more time with the family... and less stress!) I was also in the process of "kicking off" the non-profit that we just started, which included training for a marathon as part of a fundraiser. Summer was in the up-swing, so homeschooling was almost a distant memory. Everything seemed right with the world, until I started feeling a little sick. My first thought was that I wasn't fueling my body properly for all the running I was doing. But, on a routine trip to the doctor's office for one of my kids, I asked for a pregnancy test... ONLY because I wanted to ease my mind and rule the impossibility out of existence. However, the seemingly impossible became an unbelievable reality. In that one moment, my life literally flashed before my eyes... at least, the life I thought I was going to have. What happened next is really a blur, but of this I am certain: This was NOT part of my plan.
The next few weeks were probably the most critical, when it comes to my faith. My emotions were all over the place... but none of them included joy. Inevitable questions began to arise: How are we going to afford another baby? How are we going to find balance with four kids... because we were already struggling with three? And for me, the one question I didn't want to face was where this left the non-profit... something I have spent hundreds of hours on and more money than we could afford. Then... in my darkest moments... there were the questions I angrily threw at His feet: How could you allow this? What more do you want from me? Haven't I given and sacrificed enough? (Like I said, it wasn't pretty! But, it's honest.)
Looking back on it now, I see those moments for what they were: I was hitting rock bottom. I am a consummate multi-tasker....juggler. The problem, however, was that God (and by default, my faith) was just something else I was juggling... when in actuality, it should have been the foundation I was firmly planting my feet upon. When describing this to my friends, I always say that God just decided to throw in another ball for me to juggle... knowing good and well that this one final ball (aka, our fourth child), would cause me to drop all the balls... making me, for the first time, take a look at my life... where I was going, what I was doing... and more importantly, who I was following.
During this time, God placed a Scripture on my heart that I have held so tightly to the past 6 months: "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalms 46:10. It seems pretty simple, but for someone like me... it's almost impossible! I did my best with it for the remainder of the summer, but in the fall, it's almost impossible to "be still." Slowly things began to pick up and by November, once again, I didn't know if I was coming or going. So, these past few weeks were a drastic attempt of escaping my life... a life that I've created... in earnest hope of hearing God's voice... learning what He wants my life to be.
So... Did I "hear" from God? Yes... not audibly... but He lovingly bestowed one confirmation after another as to what direction my family needs to take. I stopped asking Him to reveal "the big picture" to me... even though it would be nice to know where my husband will be working next year, how I'm going to handle four children, if I'll be homeschooling on top of everything else... and what will happen to the non-profit! Instead, I began focusing my request on what He wants me to be focusing on right now, one day at a time. His answer: my family. My husband and I have decided that we need to completely focus on family for the next 4 weeks. This means no extra curricular activities for the kids, dinner as a family every night, no computer while the kids are up. Instead, our nights are filled with books, puzzles, games and endless talent shows. When talking to someone about this the other day, their response was that my expectations weren't realistic... but the only expectation I have is to reconnect with my family. In the past few weeks, God made it very clear that my priorities are reflected by where I spend my time. But, more importantly, as much as I want to develop a ministry outside the walls of my home, I cannot forget the HUGE ministry that resides within it. Yes, balance is important... but when, as a Christian, you're trying to balance God along with everything else (instead of building your foundation on Him), that elusive "balance" is unattainable... believe me, I've tried!
I've learned a lot these past few months... about myself, my faith, my family. When I reflect back on where I was 6 months ago, I often tell people that I was standing on a precipice, a jagged cliff. I had a choice to make: I could trust God and His plan for me, or I could become angry, bitter, resentful, fearful. I chose the former and God, as always, has been truly faithful. In the midst of chaos and a barrage of unanswered questions, I have this consuming peace. More than that, I'm so incredibly excited to meet the newest member of our family... because it was the gift of our son that has allowed me to fully embrace God's rightful place in my life and His plan for me... whatever that may be!