The What and the How

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. More than normal for this introvert. I wanted to write weekly blog posts and have amazing updates on my life.

But, every blog post I wanted to write was going to come off sounding a bit crazy and bit political.  And I don’t like to engage in politics behind a screen. I’ve found that I have computer-courage. Similar to liquid courage,   it allows you to say and do things that you normally wouldn’t.  And, to be honest, neither of those types of courage ever got me anywhere.

I have struggled with coming to terms with the fact that I’m not supposed to be out in the world hustling to climb the corporate ladder. I was secretly hoping that God would have it in mind for me to go back to being an analyst, making 6 figures.  We could buy a nicer home, move to a better location, send Austin to college and Nick to private school.  I could buy my Subaru.  We could go on a family vacation that wasn’t in Minnesota. I was REALLY hoping.  But it’s clear to me, my husband, and my closest friends, that what God has for me is not about all those things.  And, in an effort to just be transparent and real, I feel like I must not keep those thinking things just in my head.  That I must put them out there.  I have to make some of these thoughts “real.”

If you don’t speak it, is it real?  If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?
So, first things first: the job search.   Some of you care, some of you don’t.  But it is the most asked question that I get.  What am I doing?  I’m currently doing a few things.

1.  I’ve started to do some art. Well, art/design/building/creating with my youngest sister. She and I work together one day a week and then on our own during the rest of the week. We are playing with pallets, paints, canvas, sharpies, spray paint, thrift store finds, plants, candles, and anything else that inspires us.  We will be launching a website and “store” soon.  Our first public show is at Awaken Community Church (it’s a Covenant church in St. Paul that I just LOVE) from 12-3 on Sunday November 29 and December 6.  Come and see what we have been up to!

2. I’m also substitute teaching at New Life Academy. I know, crazy, right? I was excited to try “teaching” (and by teaching, I mean the absolute best parts of it without all of the hard work like lesson planning and tests and all the things that teachers do all day and night).  When I was younger, I would spend days playing teacher in the basement of our house. I loved chalkboards and handouts and teaching my sister all the things that I knew and that she NEEDED to learn. So, yes, I love subbing.  I’m working with the middle school and high school kids.  They are sassy and funny and full of dreams and fears.  I also just show up and do what the teacher has asked and then go home without any work coming with me.  It’s been almost 20 years since I had a job that didn’t come home with me.   ITS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE and a pleasant surprise.

3. I’m still volunteering with non-profits that I love and I have joined a board.  I’m learning about housing and poverty and life skills, with Steps of Strategy. It’s something that keeps challenging me and I continue to learn how much I have to learn.  I love the people that I get to work alongside of and it’s a good reminder for me of how many amazing things I have in my life and that the quest for bigger and more sometimes means that I have less to give to others.  

4. I’m working on writing and developing a curriculum.  This one has been on the back burner, but it’s getting moved up because its one of the things that I know I need to be working on, but it’s easier to not.   It’s hard and requires me to put a whole lot of fear behind me so I can actually do the work.  

And then, the other question, how am I doing?

I’m doing well. I can see how God has planned this time for me and my family. I struggle with missing many people and organizations. I miss running large events and selling mugs. I miss the Christmas planning and preparing to be hospitable for hundreds of people.  And if I’m honest, I miss the hustle.  I know how to hustle. I know how to work hard and get approval and be a success. I’m pretty good at depending on myself to get things done.  What I don’t know how to do is wait and depend on others.

What I know is this: this season isn’t about the hundreds for me, its about a few.  Advent won’t be lost on me this season. I really don’t know what my career path looks like right now, but I’m doing well.  I do know that I’m a better wife, mom, and human being right now because I have margin and I am loving the flexibility in my week.   Jeremiah is providing for our family financially and it’s so great to see how God is using him.

I know the pace of my life and the work that God is doing in me doesn’t look like what I or others think it should look like.  But His best work never does. I’m thankful for this times and these unwritten pages.

P.S. If you’re looking for some amazing organizations that doing some of the hardest, in the trenches, work for those on the margins, check out these places:

1. Safe Families, MN 
2. Urban Ventures 
3. International Justice Mission