Sunday, December 21, 2014

Advent - Coming - Preparing

I'm reading The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It was a gift from the women of my church earlier this month.  I'm also (loosely) reading The Jesus Storybook Bible with my kids each night as our Advent devotional.  (Loosely = about every 3 nights we read because the other nights we forget, have activities, or mama's exhausted)

This season of Advent I'm struck by one thing...my need to come before the Lord.  I need to get silent and just be still.  I need to stop and think.  I need to reflect and ask hard questions. 

Joel just finished his Master's degree.  Woohoo!!!  It's pretty anticlimactic actually.  I don't know why.  Maybe the reality hasn't sunk in yet because it's December and this month is so busy.  January might bring a moment of realization...when there are no papers for me to proof and no light on in my bedroom at wee hours with a man trying to stay awake and read.

This season has been good.  Joel has wanted to go to seminary for a decade.  He tried a few classes back then and life with three kids under three years old made it just too hard.  When we knew we were leaving the ministry that brought us to Texas, I knew it was time.  I knew there would be no other "good" time.  We both knew it would be hard.  But, "hard" doesn't always look or feel like the "hard" you imagined.  It hasn't in this season.  The "hard" hasn't been the classes, honestly.  It hasn't even been the schedule.  Joel has worked part-time and taken three classes each semester while I worked full-time teaching elementary school (with my oldest three kids). I think the "hard" for me has come emotionally.  The adjustment of not being home with my kids, not being the one who packs their lunches or prepares our family meals, not being able to do it all but feeling like I should. My job hasn't been as "easy" as I had hoped.  Maybe it's the reality of working once you have a family or teaching much younger children or maybe I'm just not as good at it as I thought.  I fear it's the last so I work harder.  Not wanting to fail at anything, I strive and push. But, there are only so many hours in a day so on some days I regret I gave the majority to anyone outside these walls I call home and other days I regret that I haven't given enough to do a good "job" at my job. Struggling to find that balance is almost as exhausting as the imbalance itself.

So, I find myself responding to these Advent readings with big sighs.  Emmanuel.  God made flesh to dwell among us.  Humanity desperately in need of saving and a God who pursues with a relentless love and sacrifice. A God who wants us to come near.  A God who created man in His own image and walked with him in the garden.  A God who was sorry he had created man but didn't just wipe them all out.  A God who loves me, who reaches out a hand for me to hold, who sees my tears and speaks to my heart.

Our future is pretty much wide open at this point.  We have no idea what is next for us in this journey of life.  Will we stay local and pursue a business opportunity that might provide for our family and allow us to do much more ministry?  Will we stay local taking a full-time role for Joel?  Will I continue to work? Will we move east for a full-time role?  We have no idea.  There are moments where my desire for a plan starts plotting and thinking and imagining.  But, I'm determined to just ride this out.  I am determined to just wait on the Lord and pray.  I'm determined to not rush things.  I will come before the Lord and just wait.