Ah, college. The good ole’ days. Where leisure and adventure and coffee dates and travel were a normal part of life. Where the biggest worry is the grade you made on your Chemistry final because you skipped class too much. College was when you had time just to be with people and be with Jesus. When your walk with God was so tangible and sweet that everyone around you could taste it, could feel it. Breathe in, and exhale.
College was a time for me of dreaming and grasping onto a beautiful vision for my life. I felt clearly called to do a couple of things during that time: 1. Write. Teach. Disciple women. 2. Walk with broken people on their road to healing. I had no clue what this would look like, but I saw (and still see) big things in store with these two callings in my life. For His glory alone, of course, even though my flesh is tempted to take it. But I’ll tell you, I thought I would see those big things a lot sooner than I have. A lot sooner.
A year after college, I got married. We were young and in love and ready (or so we thought) to get married. We barely had a dime to our name, and I was in Seminary getting my Master’s degree in counseling. It wasn’t long before the realities of life started sinking in, and we had to grow up quickly. I almost thought my dreaming may have come to an end, that maybe God did not really want me to do what He had asked of me. I just didn’t have that leisure time to invest in my calling like I used to. Busy seasons never ended. Ever. School work. Work. Kids. Moving. Ministry. The crazy just kept on going.
My journey since moving to New Orleans in 2010 has been colored with the darkness of depression, miscarriages, and loss. Paycheck to paycheck at times. Medical bills that bled us dry. Work stress. Family stress. Work-life balance as a working mom with a busy coach of a husband. There have been moments where I wondered when the brokenness, when the pain would stop.
When would I get a break, Jesus? When would it be my turn to live out my dreams? The dreams YOU birthed in me.
But can I tell you what else has been happening on my journey these last 7 years? I have had the indescribable privilege of giving birth and being a mother to two outgoing, fun-loving, and smart little girls. I am married to the most selfless person I have ever met, who has loved me through all my crap, and who will never stop. A man whose love for Jesus is the rock that holds our family together. I have been able to counsel hundreds of people through the darkest moments of their lives. I have been able to walk with them on their road to healing. I have been able to serve in different leadership roles in my church, and I have gotten to disciple women. I graduated seminary and finished a leadership cohort, things that propelled me forward. Looking at all of this, I can’t help but fight tears as I remember God’s faithfulness to help me live out my calling now and prepare me for what is to come.
I sometimes get angry and bitter, thinking that I will never arrive. I will never write the book or consistent blog that I feel I need to write. I will never be able to teach women. I will never birth a new ministry that could change lives. I watch some of my heroes in the faith that are getting to live out what I believe to be my calling. And I feel angry. Straight up. Maybe a little jealous, too.
I am so focused on the destination that I have lost sight of the “not there yet.”
But something I have learned lately is that the “not there yet” is just as important as the destination. I cannot miss this! This season of life where I am working my tail off, being emotionally and physically exhausted, living in the chaos that sometimes is motherhood and ministry and responsibilities. This season is preparing me for the destination. It is a crucial part of my journey.
My life may not include a big blog following or a speaking event right now. There may be no published book or new ministry yet. There may be little world traveling or adventure, but I am discipling women (my girls- the most important of all my jobs). I am leading. I am serving. I am counseling. These moments seem mundane and slow and insignificant, but they are still moments when I get to see the spirit of God use me.
As we walk with Jesus on this pilgrimage, He calls us to do so many different things and, sometimes, shows us specific vision of how these things could play out. We get excited with Him. We gather this vision in our hearts and hold on tightly, fearing that it could slip from our grasp at any moment. And we lose sight of the everyday around us, the kids who need our love and discipleship way more than the blogosphere. The coworkers that need us to be a light, to show them where hope comes from in dark world. The small acts of obedience that are steps toward the destination.
“Sometimes callings from God unfold in an instant. But more often, callings happen within a million slow moments.”- Lysa TerKeurst
To enjoy the journey, let’s stop waiting for the adventure and realize that we are already living it. Let’s look around and be fully present through each step. Let’s be obedient through each step. And above all, let’s abide in Jesus through each step. For He is the one who calls. He is the one who births vision for his kingdom-expansion in our hearts. He is the one who plans our steps. He is the even sometimes the one who breaks us so that we may be multiplied out, so that we may be given away in more ways than we could imagine.
He prepares us for the journey. He walks with us on the journey. He brings us to our destination and empowers through it all. And you know the coolest part of it? My destination isn’t really a book deal, or a big teaching event, twitter followers, or world travel… Or even some ministry I could cook up. My destination is and always will be Jesus. He is the prize at the end of the race, not my namesake. His. Not my glory. His. Not my calling. HIS. And trust that He will carry out the plan He called me to.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6