My writing was buried this past month in the life of being a single parent. With back to school physicals and eye appointments for the whole family behind me, back to school shopping and college preparation completed, trading of my van for a car for Mia to take to school checked off the list (this means I am temporarily and personally car-less, but Julia and I will share her car as we work together around one another’s schedules), Mia tucked into her new college near Boston, Michael starting ninth grade this week, and Julia going full speed ahead with her college chemistry class and her other senior year subjects and other endeavors, I am now able to take a step back, breathe deeply, and dive back into writing, which I desperately miss when I am not doing it. It is as important to my daily mental and physical health as exercising and eating right.
In “40 Days of Empowerment”, I am working through Rick Warren’s book entitled, What On Earth Am I Here For?, which has 40 daily readings. I quickly found out at the beginning that trying to daily read, meditate, and marinate on these readings then figure our their application to my personal life, try to implement a change in my thoughts or actions, AND write about it, was entirely too much to do on a daily basis. I found that a week per reading is best for me, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more. Sometimes I read and it spurs my thoughts in an entirely different direction but God uses what was read to get me to go these different places. This being said, sometimes what I write will directly coincide with the daily reading and other times it will be my own little rabbit trail in which I have journeyed along by following God’s lead.
Today will be one of those rabbit trails…
There are five purposes for our existence listed in Warren’s book, by day 20, we are still on purpose #2, "You were formed for God’s family". The “God’s family” who stare me in the face everyday are my children. Many people pray and pray and cry out to God wanting to know their purpose and His will for their lives, forgetting that if they are a parent, married, or part of an earthly family, their immediate purpose is right under their nose. Be faithful where you are, with what you have been given, then God will shed some light a little bit further down your path…but be present to God right where you are, grow where you are planted, be faithful in little, line upon line, precept upon precept. I can shine the light of God and walk in His purpose right here in my house in front of and alongside my children.
I remember reading a book years ago by Beth Moore entitled Feathers From My Nest. She mentioned how during the simple act of folding her kid’s laundry, she would be thankful for them and pray for them. I started doing the same thing and began to feel joy, love, and thankfulness for the person whose clothes I was folding. I have an added direction of thoughts and prayers while I am folding now that I never had before. My son has become the same size that my husband was but Michael Anthony is even 2 inches taller. When I fold his clean clothes, I am usually folding a shirt that was once my husband’s. This makes me reminisce, see his face, remember his smell, and where he wore each shirt, then my thoughts turn to Michael Anthony and what a big strong young man he has become. Often times, I use the time of folding clothes to contemplate life.
These were my thoughts and my internal conversation with God and their progression in my head...all while folding laundry. “We spend incredible amounts of time together as a family. Lord, was this all part of Your plan…. our abundance of time together? Are we being pulled way back like a stone in sling shot so that when You release us we will come out with full strength for the purpose You have laid before each one of us? I am so thankful that the kids want to spend time with me, with each other, and in this house. I have been just a beckon call away, down the hall, every day, for the last two and half years (about 915 days to be exact). God, I see how you have pulled us tightly together to heal and to rebuild our strength by being in one another’s presence in concentrated doses. Security has blossomed in spite of insecure times. You pulled us away from all we knew in the South and placed us in the countryside of the northeast where we must look to one another and depend on one another. You are accomplishing what could only be accomplished by being in this private setting where you have placed us. You are speaking to us through nature, beauty, and solitude. We are living out our purpose for this season. Our purpose is to minister to one another and to hear Your voice with greater clarity. You are using each of us to help heal and strengthen the next. You have supernaturally supplied all of our needs in each other. There has not been a need to look elsewhere. It is surreal, really. How is it that so much time has passed and we are still needing this so desperately and willingly receiving this gift from You? I can see Your hand all over this. We exercise together, cook together, eat every meal together, watch movies together, listen to music together, travel together, worship together, pray together, cry together, and even get mad together and then hug and forgive together. I am content and am at rest and peace in this season. You brought us here to slow down, be quiet, rest, and restore. As we have done this, it is easier to hear Your whispers. It is easier to recognize one another’s needs… and that’s our purpose in Your family, our family, right? To love like Jesus? Be compassionate, patient, forgiving, kind, merciful, slow to anger, and all of that? Only You could have orchestrated this place and brought my little family unit together to heal and grow again as one. How blessed we are to be able to live the quiet life. It feeds my soul…it feeds the kids too…even when they don’t always see it. You have opened my eyes today to the bigger picture. I am so glad that you know me, you know Mia, you know Julia, and you know Michael Anthony, better than we know ourselves. You know our needs before we even have them. I see how You have met our needs in this quiet place where our hearts have been able to settle down and rest. You truly have kept us under Your wings of protection, like in an eagle’s nest, high above the other trees, so high that it is silent, in a strong, warm, and cozy nest, depending on You and each other for survival."
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and the witless, but as wise (sensible and intelligent people), making the most of the time (buying up each opportunity), because the days are evil. Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-16