Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Identity Crisis

2 months into the year, and I can say definitively that the theme of it has been: change.
I guess I always thought that by the time I was in my early thirties, I would at least kind of have things figured out. I always heard that the thirties were a stable time. Careers established, identities intact. That time between the tumultuous twenties and the mid-life crisis.
But to be honest, I don't have anything figured out. And as soon as I think I do, everything changes.
I've come to the conclusion that this is exactly where God wants me to be.
 
I remember my early twenties, thinking: "what if I'm single for the rest of my life? How will I handle it? What am I going to do?" And then thinking: "I don't have to worry about being single for the rest of my life. All I have to worry about is today. And today, it's not so bad."
 
"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
-Matthew 6:34
 
So far, the only thing I have succeeded in doing is discovering who I am NOT.
I'm not a hospital nurse. I hate 12 hour shifts, and blood squirting everywhere, and cafeteria food.
I'm not a supermom. I cannot even fathom the idea of having 6 children in a row. I mostly hate arts and crafts, and I abide thoroughly by the 5 second rule.
I'm not one of those Babywise people. I don't think the sole purpose of breastfeeding is to provide nutrition, and I don't think babies are meant to fit neatly into our own selfish schedules.
But I don't swing completely the other way, either. I prefer my kids to have their own beds, and to wean before they think they're ready.
 
I've learned that I'm not one to do anything halfway. I don't see the point, and, like lately, when I have felt up to my neck in responsibilities, after a while it all starts to feel pointless.
 
So it's best that I stick to a few things, and do them as well as possible.
 
I've learned that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." doesn't mean that I can do all the things I want to do, or that make me feel good. It means that I can do all the things God has called me to do, with His strength. And that even doing really good things, when they are not the particular things He wants for me, will only find me floundering in my flesh.
 
Because of my "all or nothing" personality, life is a series of very intense changes and phases. I am not one to mantain a balance of consistency throughout, because my life seems to be constantly adjusting to the highest priority. Therefore, parts of myself are often left behind and the pieces must be reassembled later, when things settle down a bit.
 
In my childhood, I was obsessed with dogs. From the moment, on my 8th birthday, that my older sister put that rascally beagle in my arms.
In high school and even through college, it was music. Living and breathing and wallowing in it and learning from it. 
After that, I went from living to surf and work out pre-kids, to being able to count on two hands how many times I've surfed or been to the gym in the past 4.5 years.
 
I am now emerging from one of the most intense phases in my life: the infancy of my children.
The Dude, my baby, turns 2 years old in less than a week, and though my time has been incredibly limited, and  my mind has been spinning in a thousand directions due to the complexity of my schedule: every time life slows down for a moment: on a windy summery walk: I feel those winds of change blowing through my body. And at 85 degrees, I get a little bit of a chill. But it's a hopeful one. It's a new phase coming. Day weaning is complete, and night weaning was set to commence this past week until both boys came down with the plague. I think The Dude planned it.
 
He's sleeping in a big boy bed: with a crib on one side and a crib mattress on the other, so if he falls off, like he did last night, he lands on it.
 
I have been pregnant or nursing for over 5 years. Which means I have had a fetus/infant/toddler pressed against my body almost every night for over 5 years. It means, I have had a baby or toddler in my arms almost constantly when I am home for 4.5 years. It means I have barely slept, and barely had time to think for a long time.
 
I've had way more than my share of baby hugs and kisses and smiles, and adorable temper tantrums.
 
I've decided to only put Aquaman in school 3 days a week next year, which means I have one more year to spend Thursdays and Fridays together with my boys.
 
And in all this, I've discovered that I STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Don't know what I'll be doing with my time 5 years from now. Don't know what JT will be doing.
We haven't figured it out yet.
And maybe it's better that way.
Maybe it leaves more room for adventure, and more room for growth.
Maybe, it's leaves more room for God.
 
Because today, God has called me to be a mom. Staying home from work with her sick boys in the morning. Taking a walk to the park, watching Charlie Brown, snuggling pre-nap, and sitting down for a moment to put my thoughts into words. This afternoon, he's called me to some Assisted Living Facilities to meet with some elderly people, and help them live out their last days in the way that all people deserve.
He's called me to be His sheep. To not know where I'm going tomorrow, but to know that wherever it is, I don't have to be afraid of it. Because I'm probably too dumb to understand where we're going anyway. And I'd probably be too scared to keep going, if I really knew what tomorrow would hold.
 
It's struggling that makes me stronger.
And it's love that keeps me struggling. Love for my family, for the least of these, and for the Shepherd who "makes my cup runneth over".

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