Thursday, June 28, 2012

"I Swear"

     Last weekend I went to my friends baby shower.  She lives a little over 2 hours from me, but I was so excited to make this trip to see one of my best and oldest friends to celebrate a family of three soon to be family of 4.  Another of my dear friends was there too, and was also pregnant with her 2nd baby.  We all went to high school together and these girls have been so precious to me no matter where we are or what we've been doing with our life.
     I mentioned that trip was 2 hours because that means lots of radio time.  This is notable because I could listen to whatever I wanted without interrupting anyone else's plans (ahem... a certain 6 year old comes to mind).  On the way back after having a great visit with my friends, I was flipping through radio stations and came across a country station playing something I thought was worth stopping the channel surfing for. (even though now I don't remember what was playing)  What I do remember is the next song that came on was John Michael Montgomery's song, "I Swear".
     As soon as the song started even before any words were sung I was instantly thrown back to junior high or  high school dances.  I was the nervous girl fidgeting, wondering if anyone was going to ask me to dance because when I was that age everyone danced to the slow songs and the up tempo stuff you were free to do whatever you liked.  Is anyone going there with me?  I don't know if it happened because I had been with my old friends all day or what, but it was awkward to the point my stomach was even feeling unsettled for a second.
     I sat there and remembered all my friends and was thankful for all the ways God has worked in my life since those days.  After a few minutes the whole thing just made me smile really big and love the life God has given me.  I now have a forever dance partner, who I will always think is the best looking man in the room!  ( :  I have two darling girls who love to dance and play with their mom (for now).  Lastly, maybe most importantly, I am satisfied with who the Lord has made me.  Don't get me wrong there are days when I think,"I guess these love handles are just always going to be a reminder of the blessing of being able to bear my own children.", or think "I'm almost thirty, shouldn't I have grown out of pimples already?".  But in general I am thankful to be who God made me and I am comfortable with my lot in life.
     I can recall several times I've told those younger than me that adulthood is overrated, but I have been truly blessed beyond measure.  Maybe glimpses into the past, like I experienced, are meant to show us how far we've come and to praise the Lord with increasing confidence that "he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:6).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Each Chapter

"As we surrender to divine interventions (or not) each chapter of our lives puts God on display."
Priscilla Shirer in
Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted

     The idea of chapters in life has been one that has intrigued me for several years.  It was even the theme of our D-Now 3 or 4 years ago.  I know I am part of the big story God is writing throughout history, but my life also is a story and each chapter is necessary and different.  Switching chapters is always a struggle in my mind, but so is remaining in a chapter when I feel a new one should start.
     While I was getting my haircut last week this came up again.  Ashley (who cuts my hair) was asking me about life, as all good stylists do. :)  Jay had just gotten back from Haiti so I was telling her about that when she asked me if I would have liked to go with them.  I said yes, but it's not my season for that.  She agreed and identified with that.  She completely understood and felt the same way.  She loves the Lord and lives to serve him too.
     The season I'm in is focused on doing ministry with our girls and being "busy at home" (Titus 2:5)  I'm learning to appreciate this a little more each day.  If there is any chapter of life I feel completely unqualified for, it's this one.  I do not like to cook, bake, sew, clean or anything else you typically associate with "traditional" female roles.  I can see you rolling your eyes now because you're thinking, "Jamie, it's 2012. Isn't that why feminism came along. Traditional roles don't matter."  You're right.  I appreciate that girls and boys alike have the same opportunity to be who they want to be.  I come from a family where Mom always worked.  My husband's Mom also always worked.  Let me just say it was completely my idea to stay at home when I had kids.  Please don't feel like I'm oppressed by this societies gender issues blah blah blah...  I say that because throughout my education, specifically my undergrad history classes and my graduate communication classes, people often wanted me to assume that to be a liberated woman relevant in the 21st century I had to be independently successful as measured by financial standards.  I feel a little like Julia Stiles in the movie Mona Lisa Smile.  Okay, enough on that, that is for another post maybe.
     The point I started to make is that I chose this life that I feel unqualified for, but a life that I appreciate a little more every day.  I look at the examples the world offers my girls, and frankly it makes my stomach hurt.  I want to train my girls to be women who love graciously, are wise and pure, work hard, and live appreciative of their God given purpose in life.  I wrestled the Lord over my station in life.  I refused to move until I heard from him about it one night.  You know what happened, he answered so clearly and honestly so contrary to what I wanted.  What I want is a full time job.  I wanted to hear that my time as SAHM was coming to a close.  We've become accustomed to living off one salary so mine would allow us to save for the girls and retirement, go on cool vacations, get Jay a new car, etc.  But what he said to me was that my girls souls are more important than any of that.  No one is better suited to train my girls in the way they should go than me.  He orchestrated my life in such a way that I could stay home and spend my time with my girls, and I should thank him rather than rebel and insist on my desires and comforts.
     I know God has different plans for each of us, so please, don't for a second feel any condemnation over living your life different from mine.  All I would say is that if you haven't "wrestled" with him over it that you should.  If you have given your life to Christ, ask him what he wants you to do with it (your life).  I'm pretty sure he'd love it.
     So our summer Bible study is the book of Jonah and I felt inspired to share my latest "divine intervention" as Priscilla Shirer puts it.  The quote at the top was great because more than anything else I want to put God on display.  For now I'll aim to display him in our home and to my little sweets!
My girls love summer!