In case you have been living under a rock for some time, I should inform you that I love kids. Don’t look so surprised. To be fair, although I love all kids, there are some that just take up serious space in my heart. I am talking about needing-an-extra-three-terabite-hard-drive kind of space, metaphorically and literally. Seriously, I need an emotional and relational iCloud for the memories and love that my soul has for a few of these special kiddos.
Last night I had hours of snuggles with two of my favorites, Fiona and Harper, the daughters of two of my closest sister-friends. Harper (one and a half years old) adores Ladd, whom she has named “Lala.” Ladd has been sharing his love of French with her so now when he says “Ca va?” she squeals “Oui!,” and back and forth they go. She is one of the smartest, silliest kids I have ever met. Fiona (seven months) gives us kisses now, which are more like slobbery licks on any part of our faces within her reach. She is fearless and extroverted, a true people-lover like her parents. On top of that, two of our dearest family friends had a baby late last night, their first boy after five girls, all of which are unique and explosive with personality!
My heart was happy! Happy, because these babies are the beautiful offspring of some of my closest friends. It is a beautiful thing when Jesus takes the people you love and multiplies them! I can never get enough of their parents, so God gave me their kiddos, too! Both Fiona and Harper possess BIG joy and it is such an honor to tell them about Jesus and watch them grow and learn new things. I love the way they melt my hubby into a silly and snuggly uncle, and they way their faces light up when they see us. They will no doubt change the world.
Yet my heart was crushed. Obviously the thought of moving away from them in six months and having our relationship reduced to one that happens on a screen is just flat out depressing no matter how you slice it.
The last six years of my life seem to hold decades. Eleven moves on three continents have not been easy, but each transition has held more joy than tears. Two-plus years of hoping for a baby have been hard, to say the least, but the way God has given me the blessing of #auntiestatus is more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. Running a women’s recovery home is never something I saw myself doing, but with each participant that comes and goes, God keeps giving me a deeper capacity to love than I thought possible.
If you would have asked me when I was 18 what I thought my life would look like when I turned 27, quite literally nothing would look the way it does right now. When I think of the type of person who would be gifted at living this life God has me in, I am the last person that comes to my mind.
Yet, here we are.
I am challenged to look into the galaxy-filled eyes of Fiona and Harper and model what it looks like for it to just not be about me. Our culture, our flesh, and our enemy crushes us with the message that we are what it is all about! But it is a lie. When I step out of the boat and into the waves, I can stand only when it is all about Jesus**. The minute it becomes about me – about how I am not good at change, how it’s not fair that I don’t have kids, how I have anxiety, how I want to be safe and comfortable because I deserve it – I sink into the mire of self-pity. That is not the type of person I want Fiona and Harper to become.
If I am being honest, today started out in the mire. I am an advocate for vulnerability and being real, don’t get me wrong. Not every day has to be a mountain. Some days are just hard, and that is ok. But God taught me this morning how I am quick to dismiss idolatry as an acceptable emotional reaction. The emotions I felt this morning were not a healthy kind of sad, they were a full-fledged attack on my heart as God desires it. Self-pity started creeping in and my language in my mind started having far more “me’s” and “I’s” than it should.
As happy as my heart is to be an auntie, I do feel that I would make a decent momma. As wonderful as it is to get the opportunity to move to London and Burundi, my heart will always call Idaho home and it is excruciating to leave. This blog was going to be heavy-hearted – a raw and emotional breakdown of how sad I am to not have all that I want. How today it is fine for me to just be self-pitiful that I don’t have babies or a consistent home. I am completely in favor of not suppressing emotions and allowing time to be sad and frustrated.
I was going to write this way so that others who are in this boat will feel comforted and not alone! But at some point, God calls us out of this boat, and we must repent of idolatry where it exists and not sugarcoat it for some acceptable and healthy psychological reaction. I can be sad without being in sin. There is a time for boat-dwelling, to enjoy the good things that feel safe and comfortable. But when good things become god-things they become deadly to our souls. I serve a God who loves me too much to allow me to cling to that which kills, because life is only found in Jesus. Any other thing, inherent goodness aside, I place my security in is not good at all.
My eyes had dropped from the Wave-Walker to the waves themselves and climbing back into the boat for safety seemed like the best thing to do. But God has not called me to the boat, He has called me to trust Him, waves and all. Babies or not. Idaho or not. Friendships or not. Because it is not about the boat. It doesn’t matter how high the waves are. This isn’t about me. It is all about Jesus.
So if I really want what is best for these kiddos, it is not for me to stay here, as happy as my heart is to drown in their snuggles and kisses. It is better that I live in obedience and model to them the deep reward of following Jesus into the unknown, than for me to sit in the boat and talk a big talk without any action. I want to raise up nieces and nephews that jump ship! It may be on a screen, but I will introduce Fiona and Harper to the true God, this Wave-Walking God, who doesn’t promise to always calm the storm, but He does promise to join us in it.
**If you’re lost, go read Matthew 14:22-33