So, I’ve had all these very spiritually serious ponderings whirling around in my head the past week or so, and I had every intention of sitting down this morning and typing some of them out. (They are good to remember, so maybe I’ll write them in my paper journal…remember those!?) BUT my mom-in-law sent me this and I feel this is what needs to be documented as a constant reminder for me right now! (Maybe for you too…that is, if you’re a MOM!) ENJOY!
So, I recently put this pic up on my Facebook status as a vision of what Nathan and I would look like in about 50 years. (I just hope I remember to take a real picture of us at that age so my grandkids can compare!) That silly photo made me think of adventure and how I used to long for it and how I still do. When Nathan and I first wrote down in our little brown notebooks what we thought our futures would like, it involved lots of traveling…lots of new and adventurous stuff, but our lives very quickly shifted from all that. Like…I mean ten months after marriage we have our first baby quickly. All those dreams of picking up and moving wherever the band (my hubby was in a band in college) might take us soon turned to wanting a nice house with a porch and nice furnishings and nice decor and a nice steady income. Well, may I just let you know that the only thing that actually worked out was a nice rented house with a porch (but I usually just walked over to my Landlord/Neighbor’s porch cause she had a swing) and…yep, that’s about it:)!
Our last years in Missouri were full of finishing degrees, working different jobs, having a couple ministries, trying to make some things fit that just didn’t, nurture a new marriage, living off of $70 a week for food and essentials, receiving a lot of grace when we were overdrawn (more than once), and…having two more baby boys! It…was…not the adventure that either one of us thought we’d share. It was good; we have loved being parents! When God opened doors for us here in Colorado Springs to start a church, it was good, but I had the hardest time finding adventure in it. My hubby was thrilled with his new ministry and all he was getting to do, but my “ministry” was the same…three boys, under the age of three, within four walls…all day. And no friends, family, or familiarity were at my disposal. Quite frankly, I felt I had given up every dream I’d ever had and was forced to find some joy in the path I had chosen over the “brown notebook adventures.”
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my husband (still do), my children (still do), my God (still do), and the opportunity He gave us here in Colorado (still do), but I just felt like everything I had ever dreamed of doing or seeing or being was packed away, maybe even thrown away, and the likelihood of having any of those experiences was…gone. And friends, I felt that way…right up to…December of…2013.
The short of it all is that I would dream, think I’d see a “Yes,” and then a firm “No” would follow. Put this on repeat, and you have my last several years…or at least it’s how I saw them. So, I made up my mind I would forfeit dreaming altogether. I would stop and I would no longer look toward or forward to anything; I’d just live today and only today. (And there is a lot of good Truth in doing that the way God wants you to do it.) Then, the very next time I’d open up my Bible or my devotional or a conversation with others, I’d hear, read, or see the word…DREAM, and the tears would just come and the anger and the “just stop it right now, God!” But. IT WAS EVERYTIME! I would say “No more!” And the next day (or maybe even later that day) He would say…DREAM! Abba and I, we went round and round for a while with this one! I would say, “What’s the point? You just always say no!” And, because God isn’t required to justify Himself to me, He remained faithful, loving, gentle, patient…and silent. (Very true to His character, especially when others are pitching a fit in His presence.)
So, what’s changed? Honestly, not much. I mean, as far as circumstances, not a lot has. I haven’t been getting a ton of “Yes’s” all of a sudden, and…I haven’t really asked for much either. I am open to dreaming now; I just want to do it His way. (Does that make sense?) I don’t know that I know what that looks like, but I’m willing to know. I’m kind of waiting on Him, I guess. There is something that has changed, though; or maybe it’s best to say someone is changing. Me.
I feel very…aware…open to Him…in fact…adventurous. I guess my eyes have been opened to my very real reality. It’s kind of like this:
I have been reading through some people’s marriage beginnings. It’s the time when finding free furniture on the side walk and a car that is banged up but still “banging” down the highway is fun…adventurous! It’s when living in the broken, moldy, stinky, if-ee apartments is seen as laughable…adventurous. It’s when having no money and living off of $.10 noodles and $.40 tacos is gourmet…adventurous. It’s the time when you and your spouse work more than you sleep or see each other but leave “I love you” post-it’s on your microwave is love…adventurous!
As I read these and/or see these pictures, I can’t help but begin to see my life in the light of “adventure.” Ours (mine and Nathan’s) is the time of rearranging 11 plus year old furniture that was given to us for free and is still standing (and probably will until we die…which could mean I will have no good reason to buy a different bedroom set…:/) OR cleaning one more stain on our used-to-be light beige couch, that is now splotched with white circles from the stain cleaner…adventurous! We are living in the time of “hey it looks like we might get ahead this month…oh no, the breaks need fixing and the kids have basketball and basketball shoes might also be helpful”…adventurous. Ours are the days of leaky pipes that cause water damage in the basement and under the kitchen sink and “hey we are getting ready to pay this off to make room for more debt that we’ll call an investment;)” (and what were we thinking when we said buying was cheaper than renting?)…adventurous! We live in days of up late with a teething baby, up early to stay physically and spiritually healthy, no nap for those of us who want them because those who need them (ahem, under 10 years old) no longer want them…adventurous…I think. Ours is the time of few dates, more demands, little time, and big issues…adventurous.
BUT ours is also mornings of cuddling for ten minutes before we get of bed, writing love notes on coffee mugs, instant messaging kind words, business stuff, kid stuff, prayer stuff, schedule stuff, and silly stuff…Adventure! We are parenting together, messing up together, forgiving together, laughing together, getting sick together (much more ‘romantic’ typed out than it is in real life), shopping together, disciplining together, cooking together, drinking LOTS of coffee together, “talking loud” together, being gentle together, and falling asleep together…yeah, Adventurous! We are living in days where we read His Word together, discuss together, worship together, learn more about grace together, pray together, and long to be more like Him together…Adventurous! We are in the days of feeding babies cereal and wiping up drool, of lego explosions and dance class, of laughing siblings and fighting siblings, of adopting out dogs and adopting in dogs, of kids growing up too fast and some still not growing out of their issues fast enough…Adventurous!
Ladies and Gents, as Ellie said, “Adventure is out there!” But, oh how she was also right in the end when she left her dear old hubby, Carl, her Book of Adventures…Adventure is also…right…here. And…I don’t want to miss a single minute of it by always looking over there or at that or in this. I suppose it all circles back around to Eucharisteo…counting gifts of one thousand and more. Stopping. Pausing. Selah-ing. Thanking. Counting. Slowing.
“Look Momma.” I look where his ‘much larger than it should be’ hand (can he really be 10!) is motioning. I didn’t see it at first. He keeps pointing and saying, “See!” And finally I see a movement in the bushes and a flutter of wings. Brown smallness among many brown, small twigs.
The sparrows. The birds. I had had a conversation with my kiddos one day outside of either Target or Chick Fil A (which is where, if you want to find said bird, you should go…they have good taste!). I asked them if they knew why I was always pointing out the sparrows or bird watching. They chorused…”No.” So, I shared:
29 Are not two little sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s leave (consent) and notice.
30 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear not, then; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10 AMP
26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?c
Matthew 6 AMP
These two verses are constantly on my heart and mind. In a weird paradox (which God is quite a pro at creating) they keep me grounded so I can fly. And I suppose “flying” or learning to do so is part of the community I’ve decided to join this year. I was going to do something else, but really, this fits.
Most of my conversations with my hubby have been me sharing how I want to really live free, abiding in Him, abounding in love, overflowing with joy, live laughing; even to the point that I bought…brace yourselves…some sort of jean that I believe is called “jeggings” that are a maroon color. Umm, that is not typical Anastasia at all!!! But, I have had this joy bubbling up within me and I just want to show on the outside what I feel on the inside! (I might opt for a t-shirt next time:) )
So far 2014 has had very few peaceful, quiet moments of refreshing or renewing. I usually get a day or two. I have had to lean into Jesus quite often, and well, there it is…The Peace…The Quiet in the midst. I’ve had thoughts and epiphanies that I’ve wanted to jot down, but I’ve just really wanted to live free…fly…to look at the birds. We’ll see how this year unfolds; I come only with the expectation of Him. Everyday, I expect He will be with me and every night I expect He will sing over me. Everyday, I expect I will be abiding deeper and deeper still. Some days I may wait; some days I may soar. I pray all days will have laughter and smiles. I pray everyday I will “do to others as I would have them do to me,” and that I will “love God and love others” more and more. There is this glorious life I’ve been offered, and I really want to take Him up on it…from now to all eternity!