The first week of November holds BIG memories in my life. It feels big enough to call for my first blog post since the birth of my 2nd daughter in May. (Woohoo! Thank you Lord for baby Lucia Jeanne!) And it feels big enough for the first post since January. JANUARY. (Don’t hold typos against me. I’ve been trying to write this post for over 24 hours and keep getting interrupted.)
10 years ago TODAY, my parents and I pulled into Phoenix after two days of packing and driving. I was 24 years-old and moving out west ALL BY MYSELF. I don’t think I intended to stay here for this long. I was chasing adventure and following a call that was somewhere deep in my soul. Just two months prior, I began a job hunt to see if I could possibly use my degree (Theatre Ministry) and unique passion somewhere in the world. I had a specific skill set and I found a job in Surprise, Arizona that felt like it was created in my journal: Children’s Creative Writing Specialist.
I interviewed, prayed, and then accepted this new journey writing and producing children’s video curriculum for large group teaching. I spent my weekends teaching God’s Word to hundreds of elementary school students and my weeks writing scripts and filming on location. It was creative and full and fun. I tried not to think too much about my quiet Friday nights. I was adopted by an amazing Arizona family, treasured by friends, and cheered on by countless members of my church. Like most young people in their 20’s, I wondered if I was doing the right thing, if I had made the right move, and how long I should stay in this desert. I considered moving back home to Texas several times. At one point I boxed up all of my possessions and planned to spend a year in Uganda. I attempted dating on Match.com. I auditioned for local theater and joined a young adult small group. I started writing journal entries in hopes of one day turning them into a book. I shopped a lot at Trader Joes. I saw a lot of movies. I hiked, ran, and took photography courses. I accepted jobs to speak and teach. And every so often, I swallowed back loneliness and asked, Is this where I am supposed to be?
In my first months of my transplant, a friend mailed me a canvas with the words of 1 Corinthians 7:17 from the Message inked in gold. I hung it where I could see it every day.
“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there…”
That’s good, right? So good.
7 years ago this week, I pulled into a parking lot and convinced myself to GET OUT OF THE CAR. I had signed up for a month of eHarmony and November 2nd was my first date. We had been communicating for a month and now we would finally meet face to face. The day before I had shared with my mom the fact that he reminded me of my dad. I confessed that I really thought that this would be a significant relationship in my life. Our emails and phone calls had led me to believe that there was something different about the connection I was making with David.
November 2, 2009, I walked out of my car and met my husband for the first time.
The view from November 2016 seems less glamorous than years past. I don’t have vacations planned on the horizon. I don’t even have any speaking opportunities until January. I have a lot of sleepless nights, floors to clean, diapers to change, and games to play. Life seems a bit small at the moment. But my friend Katie recently encouraged me not be discouraged in the smallness or seeming monotony. The beauty of the Gospel is that it redeems every aspect of life. The gospel touches even the mundane and our eyes are opened to the goodness of God and the little tasks that hold our families together.
So right here, right now, I give thanks. I give thanks for the coffee, the dirty floors, and the opportunities to do the good, hard work of today. I am thankful for the ministry to come and the ministry that exists to my little people right now. I can’t beat myself up for not writing a blog post in 9 months because I have much to do right in front of me. It matters. It all matters.
Whether you find yourself at the beginning of an exciting chapter, the slow middle, or even a sad ending, know that this day is a gift. This present is such a gift. Don’t waste it. Shine now.
IF thou indeed derive thy light from Heaven,
Then, to the measure of that heaven-born light,
Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content:–
The stars pre-eminent in magnitude,
And they that from the zenith dart their beams,
(Visible though they be to half the earth,
Though half a sphere be conscious of their brightness)
Are yet of no diviner origin,
No purer essence, than the one that burns,
Like an untended watch-fire on the ridge
Of some dark mountain; or than those which seem
Humbly to hang, like twinkling winter lamps,
Among the branches of the leafless trees.
All are the undying offspring of one Sire:
Then, to the measure of the light vouchsafed,
Shine, Poet! in thy place, and be content.
– William Wordsworth
All for now-