Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Category: My Story (Page 2 of 3)

Arrived?

I awoke this morning exactly where I’ve wanted to be, the place I’ve worked so hard to journey to, the destination I have run, walked, and crawled toward. The place that has made bloody knees and  broken hearts worthwhile. The tree that is finally bearing some fruit.

And suddenly, I am not so sure. The journey has been amazing, and grueling and costly. But now that I am here, there are new battles to fight, new problems to solve, and new insecurities to prey on me.

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Where am I, exactly? It’s hard to describe, but maybe the correct word is “belonging”. I’ve moved enough times that I know the routines, and each time the newness gives way to routines and strangers become friends. The risks I took in reaching out to new people eventually begin to bear fruit, and relationships are born. Instead of being an outsider, I become an insider at some level, in some circles. I find a place in the circle where I can offer the things that God has so graciously gifted me with.

In the beginning, you reach out at every opportunity, and many of those efforts pay off at the same time. And so instead of asking God to open doors you begin asking Him to close a few. But each door already has a part of you inside, and the closing is painful, so instead of allowing a door to slam, you shove your foot inside, leaving a crack. And then you battle your way through managing all the doors you’ve propped open with a foot, an extra jar of homemade soup, a hand, or a well-loved shoe. This battle becomes deep enough that you discuss it in the second person, as though it isn’t you. As though it isn’t me.

And then I come back to the basics of God and life and love: not all these paths are mine, and it is ok if doors close to me. I am a part of the Body, and there is nearby, and likely willing, someone who is gifted to walked through some of these doors. Only some doors are mine, only one path is meant to be traveled by me. The others are yours. Or someone else’s. So, in this place where I’ve finally arrived, I choose to settle in and live in the rooms, on the path, designed for me.

My story, your story

It’s strange the way a story grows, the twists and turns it takes. It’s interesting to read and incredible to hear. Living the story is sometimes another matter. In my story, I’ve often wanted to skim the present, skipping to the end of a scene, the resolution of a problem, or the closure of a conflict. Yet when I look back at my story, each part of life that I wanted to skip was as full of joy as it was of sorrow, and each chapter of joy contained sorrow. It almost seems that one cannot exist without growing the other.

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And while my story has had its difficult questions, harder still are the questions that arise in my boys’ stories, harder to wait while they resolve their conflicts and harder to stand by while they make choices. And my friends stories, while unique, are also similar. We laugh and we cry, we hurry and we linger. We worry and we trust.

I look back and think how sensible faith would have been or was. Yet in the moment, faith is hard. It’s always hard. Not because I don’t believe God has this situation, but because I’d like to control it. I’d like to call it before it happens and understand the outcome for better planning. So, I often choose to fret.

Hope is another choice that is an obviously good option. Yet despair knocks on the door of my mind. Fear of the future seeps in and I forget that I know the end of the story. The end is good. Perfect, actually. And in this moment, for this situation, I can choose hope.

And the greatest of these is love, the easiest option to let go when things get tough. I want to hole up in my problems and misery, but truth says that love is a better choice. Instead of looking out only for myself, I can look out for other people also. I can choose to reach out instead of wishing other people would make more effort. I can choose to act kindly and humbly.

Faith, hope, love. They all ask me to take a longer view of the pain and the tears, to read the story as though I already know the ending. I do, after all.

The Retreat

I’ve been to a couple of ladies retreats in my life. These were events aimed at helping women be all they can be, creating community, and sharing encouragement. The strange thing was, the event took me a few days to recover from. Yes, part of it was the work that was left undone at home and needed to be caught up on. I believe, however, that there were other things that left me exhausted at the end of a good time.

We are women, strong and beautiful. And broken. Sometimes when we come together we try to only be strong and beautiful: we try to hide the broken parts. Sometimes the beauty and the quiet reminds us our deep brokenness instead of healing our spirit. And sometimes when we look around a room full of beautiful women we believe the lie that we are the only one who is broken.

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We come together to bless and encourage and refresh, and we do that well. But sometimes there are also judgements we put on ourselves and questions about own value that destroy the blessings and drains us. Sometimes we find the needs overwhelming, and we give at great expense without understanding how to release the burdens to our Father after we have heard them. Sometimes we give and do not take the time to refill at the well of His goodness and grace.

These ponderings have helped me understand what to do with pain and how to find grace, particularly in groups. It has also been a good reminder that using our gifts is a positive thing, but we must also take time to sit at the Father’s feet and be fed by Him. The fact that something costs us does not mean it shouldn’t be done, but rather that we should do it intentionally and with purpose.

And so, I am back at the space where I am reminded that everything worthwhile is costly. And yet, eternity is at stake. So maybe I will attend another retreat sometime. Maybe, but only if it is mine to do.

Not Enough

I’ve been thinking this week about “not enough”. The perception we have of ourselves that we cannot measure up, we are insufficient to accomplish the things we need to do in a satisfactory way. We aren’t good enough women, moms, or friends. We don’t cook well enough food or keep our house clean enough. We aren’t smart enough or talented enough. Our homes are not enough, our kids are not enough. All in all, we simply don’t feel we measure up to our own standards.

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And despite telling ourselves that we are better than some people, the thought nags us, the reality that we are not all we want to be, we cannot do all we want to do, and we cannot control the things we want to take charge of. Despite telling ourselves that we are better than other people, that we should settle for giving it our best shot, or trying to lower our standards,  we are simply not satisfied.

It’s a worry that nags at me sometimes, though less now than it used to. It began to change one day when I was doing my best to go about my business, cleaning up the house, scheduling flights, raising my boys who were young, and crying tears of anger and pain. “God, I can’t do this anymore!” I muttered under my breath while I screamed in my mind.

You aren’t supposed to.

“What?” I asked the voice in my head.

This, my daughter, is the meaning of grace, of salvation. You were never meant to do this, and you will never measure up. That’s why I sent Jesus to pay the price and my Spirit to work through you. You can rest in that. I AM enough. And you are not.

I stopped short. I wanted to get it right, I wanted to prove I could. Yet, I couldn’t deny that all my trying fell far short. And suddenly the thought was freeing instead of degrading. I wasn’t enough and I was never meant to be. God was enough, and He would accomplish His will through simple steps of obedience.

So, I began on a journey of not telling myself I was good enough, but of reminding myself that “enough” was God’s job not mine. I quit telling my friends they measure up to the impossible standard and began telling them that they don’t, and it doesn’t matter.

I don’t always remember that, and I haven’t arrived at the point of letting go of everything. But I am learning, most days. And in my better moments, I love that fact that none of us is enough, but God is still enough. It’s a freeing journey.

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