Saturday, January 16, 2016

Beautifully Ordinary

"If you have a child, then you have an assignment from God. Whether by birth or adoption, whether you go to work in an office or the kitchen, regardless of your age or experience or natural talent for nurturing, God has called you to be a mom—and it’s an unrelenting, heart-wrenching, beautifully ordinary, holy job."

My favorite line from the book I am reading, "The Supermom Myth."  With mamahood just around the corner I wanted to read about my new life from someone who would give it to me straight.  From page one, she had me laughing.  I could tell she was going to keep it real and talk about being a mom and loving Jesus in the midst of it.  So I hid the book under "Water For Elephants" (my book-club's pick-of-the-month) and then shoved it into a bag so no one would see.  For some reason I felt embarrassed to be reading a Christian motherhood book.  I think in my head they have a stigma for being super cheesy!

A few chapters in, I have already gleaned so much from this book!  Many of the "villains of motherhood," which the book addresses, are things that I am facing even without a wee babe in my arms.  I think that line--especially the last part-- is still the best nugget of wisdom I have picked up.  I have within me a growing desire to live a beautifully ordinary life.

Let's flash back to Chelsea in college who would probably roll her eyes at this idea.  I wanted to do big things!  I wanted to change the world!  I wanted to be extreme!  I still want to change the world, it's just that I think that sometimes looks a lot more simple and a lot less glamorous than we often envision.

Philip and I had a dream of moving to the inner city.  There were a lot of good things behind that idea.  We wanted to be around diverse people--to be a part of cross-cultural communication.  We wanted to become more aware of the reality of poverty and to serve those who face it.  But let's be honest we also wanted shopping malls, hip restaurants, an exciting pace of life.  There is still so much appeal in it to me.  Additionally,we at least I, wanted to feel good about myself.  I loved the thought that I might be dodging bullets for the sake of the gospel.  Imagining the shock and disapproval people might feel at my dangerous, exciting choice only made the city option seem that much sexier.

Today, we live in Moses Lake, Washington.  We ended up here because plans A, B, and C all fell through.  When I found myself jobless, carless, homeless and without prospects I got a call from a Moses Lake Principal who wanted to hire me for a job I hadn't even applied for.  If that's not God dragging my butt out to small town America, then I don't know what is.

Now, I am still open to living in the city.  In fact, I still kind of want to.  I want to live a good story.  There's something that sounds so sweet to me about two small town kids moving to the big city.  Diversity and poverty are still two of our great passions.  I love skyscrapers, and malls, and indie eateries.  Maybe someday, I will live in the city.  The fact is, though, I am willing to give it up. I now acknowledge that at least some of my desire comes completely from how fun and exciting I think the city would be.

I am not saying that it's bad to have a dramatic life.  I am not even saying it's bad to do something just because it sounds fun and exciting.  Sure, sometimes God calls people to drop everything and move to an African village.  But sometimes God asks us to just live a normal life and be faithful in the mundane things.  I think that right now that's what he's asking of me.  So, I teach.  I hang out with my husband and my dog.  I invest in my teacher friends.  I live in a small rental.  I read books.  I do projects around the house.  I am plugged in and serving at an imperfect church.  I am growing a small human inside of me.  Doing these ordinary things in a beautiful way is holy.  Allowing Jesus to enter and infuse the gospel into my every day life is an act of worship.  No, it does not have the glamour of the life I once wanted.  But there is something profound about it.

This is my prayer.  (Maybe, if Jesus is nudging you, you will pray it alongside me):

Jesus I invite you into my ordinary life.  I ask you to take all the chaotic, messy, boring parts and make them beautiful.  I surrender my dreams in pursuit of you.  I believe that you want the absolute best for me.  I ask that you might use my beautifully ordinary life to draw others to yourself, and to compel them, also, to live their ordinary lives in your beautiful way.

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