Monday, February 20, 2012

mid-life crisis?

I just found this unpublished draft of a post, written seven years ago. Looking that far back on a mid-life crisis makes me feel old, but I will say from this vantage point that it really was a crisis, and I really am through it, and I've found my niche. Maybe I had my crisis early, just to get it out of the way. Maybe there's another one coming. Only time will tell.


After surfing the web a while in search of a definition, I've given up. Some say mid-life crisis happens between 40 and 50 years of age when a person suddenly wonders who they are. Some say there's no such thing as a 'mid-life crisis'. Another stated that it's a period of personal identity crisis that happens around 40 years of age, give or take 20 years.

I'm 27. It's unlikely that this is a full-blown mid-life crisis that I'm experiencing. Call it what you want. But the dominant feelings are restlessness and a questioning of what direction I'm heading. Having chosen a vocation, I find myself constantly wondering when I can pursue my true calling in life, the purest expression of who God has made me to be.

But where does obedience fit in? I have this nagging suspicion that God's first priority may not be a fast track to self-actualization. So how can I tell?

Saturday, May 03, 2008

anniversaries of the heart

Well, it's coming up on 2 years since my last post on this blog. I wish I could say that the reason was my busy life, but I'm afraid that wouldn't be the whole truth. The fact is 'soul thirst' hasn't been the most accurate characterization of the season I've been in. Since my last post we bought a house here in Charlotte, put the girls in school, I started a masters degree, we found a new church and we've been really content with our life. Danny's job is the perfect fit for him and the hard, dry season of wrestling has ended. Parenting consumes most of my attention and the energy I have left is devoted to school. Each time I've thought about blogging I come to the conclusion that 'soul thirst' just doesn't describe me spiritually right now. Until lately.

I'm starting to wake up to the fact that being comfortable and happy has its disadvantages. I feel less keenly the need to depend on God. The pace and schedule of life sweeps me along without cause for reevaluation. I'd like that to change somehow. I'd like to experience once again that sense of really longing for God - that feeling that without him I'm toast. I'm not really sure how to get back there, but I thought blogging might help. So here goes.

Jesus, be the center.
Be my hope.
Be my song, Jesus.

Friday, July 14, 2006

my best friend

As each year passes, my life becomes an even more complicated collection of experiences, preferences, and longings. With each move, each change in role, I have the "opportunity" to find new friends. You would think that the broader my life becomes, the easier it would be to relate to others. And in one sense that's true. It isn't difficult to find a "connection point" with new acquaintances. I'm a missionary, a homeschool mom, interested in adoption, fascinated by other cultures, with friends all over the world. I like scrapbooking, eating healthy, and reading, and have now lived on the east coast, the west coast, in between and overseas. Most people share at least ONE of these interests, or know someone who does, so we can find plenty to talk about the first time we meet. But that's where I'm beginning to feel stuck. I've noticed that in 6 months, my relationships have remained strikingly narrow. I don't own a house, don't have lots of money, don't get my hair and nails done, don't like sports, abhor pets & exersize, and don't get out much. Add to that the fact that we'll only be here for about 2 more years, and you have a recipe for a stilted friendship. It's difficult to find someone who shares enough in common with me to create the common ground for a well-rounded relationship. My like-minded friends back home are just that ... back home. And here, conversations keep coming back to the same things, such as motherhood or homeschooling. I can only think of a few people whose life naturally intersects with mine. Argh.

Then it hit me. As I was turning over my list of possible friends in my mind, I realized that there IS someone who can relate to me, who has shared not just a few, but EVERY one of my varied life experiences. It sounds trite to say that Jesus is my best friend, but today it's a tremendous encouragement to me. No one else knows me so thoroughly and still loves me. Even my husband, who has shared every address and most of the stamps in my passport, has had different roles and spheres of influence. He feels so differently than I do about certain seasons we've been through together. But Jesus understands the jumble of emotions within me. He's been right beside me all the way, and best of all, he promises to keep walking with me on this journey, no matter where it takes me.

Friday, April 07, 2006

this is your hug and kiss

It's become sort of a routine at our house, part of the get-ready-for-bed routine. Eliana goes potty, washes her hands, brushes her teeth, gets in her pj's, and gets in bed. After a story, 5 sips of water, some chatting and a prayer, it's time for a hug and kiss. Except usually by that time she's pretty tired. And often her mind is still going round and round about something she and daddy talked about. So when I give her a hug and kiss, sometimes she doesn't notice. On many occasions I've given her a hug and kiss, the lights are off, and she's supposed to be sleeping ... when we hear her voice ring out,
"Mommy! You forgot to give me a hug and kiss!"
"No I didn't!" I reply with a chuckle. "Don't you remember?"
"I didn't FEEL a hug and kiss!" she says.
"Well, I DID hug you, and I kissed you right on your forehead. You were busy talking when I did, so maybe you didn't notice."
So then we have to have another bedtime hug and kiss because she missed the first one.
Well, these days, just to ensure that she's paying attention I've learned to hold her face and look into her eyes before I tell her goodnight. "Eliana, this is your hug and kiss. Are you with me?" It works much better that way.

And then I wondered, just a moment ago, how many expressions of God's love we miss because we aren't paying attention. Perhaps we're too busy thinking or talking to notice His hugs. Hmm.

Monday, September 19, 2005

September 19

How refreshing it is to have found a devotional with substance and depth, where daily I'm challenged to trust Him more rather than to pursue my own happiness. Suffering seems to be so out of style in our culture. But Mrs. Cowman discovered its necessity in our spiritual development. In her devotional collection, Streams in the Desert, she offers daily meditations on the value of suffering. For September 19th she quotes Dr. Miller, saying,

"It is comforting to think of trouble, in whatever form it may come to us, as a heavenly messenger, bringing us something from God. In its earthly aspect it may seem hurtful, even destructive; but in its spiritual out-working it yields blessing. Many of the richest blessings which have come down to us from the past are the fruit of sorrow or pain. We should never forget that redemption, the world's greatest blessing, is the fruit of the world's greatest sorrow.

"There are blessings we can never have unless we are ready to pay the price of pain. There is no way to reach them save through suffering."

Having learned yesterday of the death of a humble and effective servant of God in the Philippines, of a friend's husband who has discovered a brain tumor, and of the death of a 9-year old boy whose parents left home to bring the good news to remote tribes, this comes as a great comfort. How can we explain the presence of such suffering if not for the fact that God's purposes for our lives run so much deeper than our personal comfort here on earth? He has rich blessings to give, if only we will recognize His hand in our troubles.

Friday, August 26, 2005

August 26

"I remember a summer in which I said, 'It is the ocean I need,' and I went to the ocean; but it seemed to say, 'It is not in me!' The ocean did not do for me what I thought it would. Then I said, 'The mountains will rest me,' and I went to the mountains and when I awoke in the morning there stood the grand mountain that I had wanted so much to see; but it said, 'It is not in me!' It did not satisfy. Ah! I needed the ocean of His love, and the high mountains of His truth within. It was wisdom that that 'depths' said they did not contain, and that could not be compared with jewels or gold or precious stones. Christ is wisdom and our deepest need. Our restlessness within can only be met by the revelation of His eternal friendship and love for us."

-Margaret Bottome, quoted in Streams in the Desert by Mrs. Charles E Cowman (August 26)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

back to trusting

It's been an awfully long time since I've posted anything, mostly because of our big transition back to the US, extra traveling, and preparation for baby. But God has been gently nudging me lately. There's been a subtle shift in my life from peaceful trusting to a driven kind of prayer that will not rest until my circumstances are comfortable, as if God owes me preferential treatment. It came to a head 2 weeks ago when I learned that I would probably have to have an immediate cesarean. A friend was good enough to say that his prayer is for God's will in our situation, not necessarily the most humanly desireable outcome. So here I sit, thankfully still pregnant, but ponderous of how I could have slipped so far from what He taught me during dry months in the Philippines.

This morning I read a devotional entry by Hannah Whitall Smith that brings it all back to center for me. "Is it not a glorious thing to know that, no difference how unjust a thing may be, or how absolutely it may seem to be from Satan, by the time it reaches us it is God's will for us, and will work for good to us? For all things work together for good to us who love God."

Tomorrow's entry, by F.W. Robertson, reads, "The best things of life come out of wounding. Wheat is crushed before it becomes bread. Incense must be cast upon the fire before its odors are set free. The ground must be broken with the sharp plough before it is ready to receive the seed. It is the broken heart that pleases God. The sweetest joys in life are the fruits of a sorrow. Human nature seems to need suffering to fit it for being a blessing to the world."

Thank you, Father, for your grace that will not fail until I'm found fully in You. Forgive my self-centered preoccupation. Show me again the way to find blessing in brokenness and the ministry of comfort in affliction.