Homeschooling,  Journaling with God

Motherhood, dreams and walking with God

Spring 2016 … My daughter and me

I wrote this journal/blog entry in the spring of 2016, nearly seven years ago, right before my first child graduated from our homeschooling program. The worship song Oceans was popular that year and everyone was talking about the Republican primaries. Since writing this, our family has left California, lived in Europe, and then moved back to the US, this time Washington state. While living in Sweden I got a master’s degree in the Religious Roots of Europe, and I am now busy writing a historical novel based on a 16th century English priest.

Both of my beautiful children have grown up and moved out, and both of them are in every way, the best investments I ever made in life. No other accomplishment will ever come close to the joy I get from seeing them succeed in life.

And yet, I know that there are new adventures just around the corner. And I am still learning how to walk with God. Like Peter, locking eyes on Jesus, I still want to walk on water.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

Oceans … Hillsong United

Spring 2016

I am learning that real joy often come from serving. I love a good worship service, but I have found that as much as I may try, I don’t always “feel” God in the music at church. But more often than not, God’s presence catches me by surprise after a quiet day of forgettable tasks. Sometimes when I am folding laundry in the quiet part of the afternoon, for no particular reason, I suddenly realize that I am happy, really happy. Pure joy. I have enjoyed the best worship services in the basement laundry room.

But I am not immune to stifled desire. I think everyone who is honest knows its there, knows the familiar tug, the longing, the ache for something more, the demand to achieve, to be noticed, to be beautiful in a moment. If it is not addressed, acknowledged, it comes out in ugly times when I would rather it stay hidden. It manifests when I see someone else honored for something I know I could have done. Pure jealousy. You could have been someone it whispers. I usually tell it to shut up. On my better days I remind it that I am someone.

For the past 17, almost 18 years I have been a mom and I believe with all my heart that motherhood matters greatly. I have no question that at the end of my life the work that I will be most satisfied with will be the years I poured into my children.

But right now, as my role with the kids is shifting from constant caregiver to mentor and cheerleader, I’m finding myself quelling a rising tide of anxiety. It is like I have journeyed the earth 23 years longer than my daughter but I am still in the same spot, asking the same questions. What am I going to do with my life? Everyone is asking my graduating daughter what she is going to do next. But what about me? In a few short years my homeschooling days will be history and what will I do to provide meaning? When I was younger I knew I was supposed to change the world. I never questioned it. I knew it.

These last few years I have gradually put some of my great desires on hold, like so many disappointed presidential candidates vying for the Republican nomination this year, when I had my children I suspended my campaign. I put graduate school on hold. I put my career aspirations on hold. I put creative projects like writing novels on hold. And now it feels like it has been so long I am not sure what to go back to and unsuspend. Those lost-but-not-forgotten goals hang like broken branches swinging in the breeze, not ready to fall off the tree, too severed to grow.

But to be fair, I have had an amazing unplanned life.

I have gone farther and done more than I dreamed at 20, and so much of my success defies conventional wisdom. My husband and I got married when I was 18. We finished college together, helping each other succeed. We had a baby when most people would have said that we could not afford to be parents — one part-time job between the two of us, no car, no health insurance, no real plans for the future other than to pursue whatever adventure God placed in front of us.

We moved to LA with two kids and no address, arriving at about the life stage that most young adults leave Los Angeles, when they get married and start a family and realize the American dream is somewhere back in Ohio. But we came, we stayed and God has blessed us.

A few years ago we left our West Los Angeles neighborhood because we could not afford a third bedroom for our family there, and somehow, inexplicably, we live in Malibu now. Everyone has their own bedroom and I can see the ocean when I wake up.

It is not fair. God has just been incredibly kind to us and when I remember I thank him every day, every minute. Thank you, Lord.

So where was I with my melodramatic broken dreams dangling in the wind?

The same adventurous God who has led us this far, who has given us, not just manna, but a land flowing with milk and honey, will guide me.

Lord, it’s just that right now my children are growing up before my eyes and I don’t know what the next step for them or me is. I don’t know where we go from here. I don’t have a plan and everyone seems to think I need one.

I once stared out over the ocean and asked the Lord, “When will I know that I am walking on water?”

And I think he reminded me quietly You won’t. You only walk on water when your eyes are fixed on Me. It is not until you have crossed the water that you look back and realize where you have come.

Jesus, give me grace to lock eyes on yours and walk. These are good, good days and you are so generous to me. Help me to see you, to walk with you, to do what You are doing. My biggest fear is to waste my life. How do I so easily forget that it is not really mine to waste? I gave it to you a long time ago. Be glorified.

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