Saturday, December 1, 2012

Domestic Goddess

I am sitting in a small waiting room, chairs lining the walls, children's books on a shelf, and the smell of winter hot drinks coming from coffee bar in the corner. I am filling out the four page questionnaire before me. I look down and quickly answer the questions, until I see one that stops me in my tracks, "Occupation?" Why does the dentist need to know my occupation anyway? This is the first time that I have had to admit to myself that it really happened. Until recently, I would have said, "Certified Child Life Specialist, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, and Safe Kids Coordinator." I would tell you that I work in a community hospital with our new mamas and pediatric patients. Without skipping a beat, I would also say that I love my patients! But today, with mixed emotions, I half smile & write, "Domestic Goddess". It's easier to joke about tough decisions. Glad they thought it was funny.

When I was a little girl, I remember people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I knew that I wanted to be a mom to both biological and adopted children, that I loved helping people, and that I had a passion for those most in need. These were all seeds that God planted in my young heart. As time drew near for me to go to college and pick a field, these thoughts still radiated in my mind. But what major would I choose? For me, the next best thing to God's desires for my heart, was Child Development. I had such a great education and had wonderful jobs to give me experience in this field. I worked with children of all ages and all spectrums of development. After college, I was then chosen to do my Child Life Internship at a great Children's Hospital and again, gained a wealth of knowledge in many specialties regarding hospitalized children. Then afterward, I earned a great job in a surgery center working with pediatric patients and their families. I really enjoyed it. I worked there for 4 years before given the opportunity to start a Child Life program in a rural hospital. I had been there for almost 4 more years. God has shown favor and I was doing everything that I could have dreamed in a career. I loved working and I loved what I did. But God kept pulling me back to the seeds that He has started. He has given me amazing opportunities, challenged me, matured me and has grown the seeds to take strong roots to show me His will.

I tell you all of this, because the picture now seems clearer. He has been slowly preparing me for the life that He so desires. He had given me so many awesome opportunities to work with special needs children, to know what is involved with surgeries, to understand healthy development, and the list goes on. I am not yet the woman that God has designed me to eventually be. He has His work cut out - trust me. But I'm everything that he has designed me to be right now. In this very moment, He knew where I would be and He meets me here. He meets me in the moments when it's hard to trust and in the moments when life has revealed the best it has to offer. And yet, He says, "I have more".

While we were in China, I had a God moment. You know, one of those moments that He speaks so clearly into your life. It was shortly after we had picked up K and I was on Shamian Island, in Guangzhou China with her. She was strapped close to me in a carrier and I could feel her warmth next to my heart. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining through the trees on my face as I walked toward the unique shops that lined the island. The warm spring air filled my lungs and the pleasant scent of blossoming flowers could be taken in for miles. New foliage was taking growth and I was thinking about God's growth for me in my own life. Suddenly time stood still. It was in this moment that God had so clearly delivered these sweet words, "This, my daughter, is My purpose for you. I want you to love, nourish, support, and compassionately lead the children that I have given you and am going to give you." I know with every part of who I am that God was there and set the stage for guidance in my life.

I agreed in my very soul that I could do the above with His help. I didn't, at the time, imagine that God would also ask me to walk away from my current position at work to fulfill this purpose at this time. I felt the tugging on my heart, especially since China. In moments when I should have listened closer, I kept praying, "God are you sure? Please make your plans obvious." Looking back, He was, I was just distracted with my own career driven desires. And one day, not too long ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks. The answer was quite clear. I did what I knew in my heart was best choice for our family, for this season of my life. I chose to resign from my current position and am choosing to trust God's ultimate desire for my life. He who promises is faithful.

This post has taken me several months to write. It wasn't easy. I knew that after meeting K, that our lives were forever changed. But I wanted both. I wanted my career and I wanted to be a mom. And for some moms, they can/should have both. This is not a post to start mommy wars over whether or not women should work outside of the home. This is my personal account of making a big decision for our family. I believe that we are all called to do something different (at different times) and for many women you are changing lives every day right where you are whether you realize it or not. You are a blessing to many. God has put you right where He wants you to be. I'm forever grateful for the women who continually impact our lives each day through a career. But there are others that feel like God is calling you to do or be something different (whatever that may be), listen to the desires of your heart.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. - Psalm 37:4

God put them there for a reason. Please do not go through life hoping or wishing for something different. Be assertive. Take action. Press into His will. Trust Him. How do you know? For me, going to work was getting harder and the grace that was once there had been lifted. I was going through the motions and was often stressed. I wasn't filled with joy and I felt the desire now, more than ever, to be with my children learning, loving, and exploring life. I could no longer find the peace and balance that I once had. God desires for his children to be happy. He wants us to live life for him and fervently enjoy it. When He opens a new window of opportunity, He will continually be asking us to reassess. I love that about God. That He wants us to grow. Asks us to change. Draws us closer to Him.

I want to be obedient to God and passionately live out 2 Cor 9:6 at home with my children and husband:

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. - 2 Corinthians 9:6

I want to pour my time and love into their lives. I want to be flexible for them and spend more quality time showing them about God. We often have goals, but are not on track to obtaining the desired result.  More often than not, we have to shift our priorities and make sacrifices. We have to be open to change. To reap the benefits of a deep relationship with God, we need to poor our attention into his word and build a foundation of love. If we want to be all that He asks, we must be willing to dwell in His word and listen to His still, steady voice. If we want to have a stronger relationship with our children and spouse, we must also invest in it. I want to give them my all, even if that means temporary career sacrifices on my end. I want to sow generously into their lives. More of Him, less of me.

The transition has taken time and there are days that I miss working in the hospital. But I think that it's ok to miss something that you loved - I don't for a minute regret the decision. Walking in God's plan in this season of life is amazing and so much better than I could have planned. I'm happy and am enjoying every day with our children. This experience has taught me so much about myself and what God desires so deeply for me. Looking back, I can see times when I got off course and God has allowed difficult times only to bring me back to Him, to His original plan for this time. He always has our best interest in mind, even if that means closing doors of opportunity that we thought that we wanted at a specific time. As spring, summer, fall, and winter occur, so do the seasons of God's growth. It's truly a gift that I am forever thankful to experience in life. God's journey for our lives is found in His protection and great love.

God, thank you for your continued lessons. Thank you for your grace and patients as we navigate this life that you have given us. Thank you for speaking wisdom into our lives and for giving us moments in time to clearly hear Your desires. Thank you for my past opportunities and for every beautiful experience that you hold in store. Thank you for rescuing me. For changing me. You walk with me Lord while holding this world in your hand. You put the stars in the sky and showed the ocean where to stop. Nothing is impossible. I know that you will continue to open doors for me and our family. Thank you for reminding me that I have the free will to follow your plans. And that it is an honor to choose you. I'm so excited that you have allowed me to be a mama to such amazing children and that you trust us enough to be expecting again through the gift of adoption. We are grateful to be parents and pray that you continue to shape us into everything that you long for us to be. Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart; and lean not upon your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. - Proverbs 3:5-6