Recalculating…

nsew Recalculating. This is a word that is very real in my life. Commonplace, used daily.  Most people think of it in terms of directions and being corrected by your Garmin. I am direction-ally challenged and have no qualms at all discussing it. If you need me to get from point A to point B, please don’t use silly words like “East” or “South West”. Shake my head. Just give me a solid “Turn left at the McDonald’s and if you pass the big tree on the left, you missed it.” I feel completely at ease when I am driving to a new destination and have my Garmin along for assistance and support. When it announces “Recalculating…”, I hear “Don’t worry, all is not lost, you will still get there – we have options!” It gives me great hope that God gives me the same guidance in my daily life.

Quite often, my own personal plans must be rearranged in order to accommodate a new errand, unexpected sickness or someone else’s “emergency”. I could let it bend me all out of shape, or attempt to keep my grumpiness under control. As most of us would agree, it’s difficult to keep smiling when a wrench has been thrown into our schedule. Recalculating my day in order to feel accomplished works sometimes, but when unscheduled chaos sneaks in, it’s best to simply shoot for survival and hope that the next day doesn’t come unglued as well.

On other occasions, I change my course willingly. I look around and acknowledge that my current path just isn’t what I thought it would be. I consider my options, pray for discernment, write a pro/con list, talk to my hubby, sleep on it, chat with my friends, read blogs on the topic, and THEN, once I have put the decision off long enough,  change directions. I switch gears. Try a new path. This type of recalculating feels less difficult because I am controlling it.  * The irony is not lost on me here. I am fully aware that I’ve included 27 other people into “my” decision making process. It’s all good – as long as I am the one to pull the trigger, it’s legit. *  Being the one to call the shots helps me to breathe a little easier. I also know where to look if I’m still not content… in the mirror.

Sometimes our circumstances change without any warning at all. A loved one falls ill, we lose our jobs, or our long term plans suddenly fall apart, due to no fault of our own. Then what?! We must adjust our thought process, find new resources and plot a new course. This creates awful feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Thankfully, we are never alone in our fear or confusion. God is forever available with a new direction to suggest, a shoulder to lean upon, and hope for the future.  We are reminded of our strength (through Him) as life has brought us to our knees. God also provides angels on Earth to lead us, or better yet, accompany us along our new paths.  He opens our eyes to options that we might not have considered and opportunities that may be the perfect fit. He is forever present and eternally aware. With His help we can survive – even thrive – during each and every season of life that we encounter.

Recalculating doesn’t have to be a negative word. Sometimes, we don’t see the danger that is right in front of us – or we convince ourselves that we can get through it unscathed. Others really may know best on some occasions. Being flexible and willing to try ideas and avenues that were not our original choice could possibly benefit us more than we could ever imagine. Remember, we all have options, there are several courses available to each of us. So long as getting to my new destination doesn’t involve heading “Due North”, I’m all in!

 

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All of my eggs…

eggs in one basket

I have the best conversations with my friends. And a lot of them happen when I am on the elliptical. This is good for several reasons. First, I can schedule these chats ahead of time, as in “Hey , I’ll be on the elliptical at 9, want to chat me up?” Second, and most importantly, it takes my mind off of the God awful activity that it is my goal to do 40 minutes a day, four times a week. Talking to a bestie helps me to shift my focus from *NOT DYING* to solving all of the world’s problems – as long as we can wrap it all up before my cool down.

ANYWHO- the other day I had one of those great conversations, this time about being the Mom of a teenager. This particular friend and I were sharing stories about being a bit lonely in our homemaker roles. We shared feelings about how we feel that our postion has been downsized, and we are not ready for it, nor happy about it. This Mothering gig is a confusing one, we spend over a decade on these babes teaching them to be self sufficient. Then, they want to go out into the real world and be independent. The nerve.

I know, I know, we are still necessary- vital, I would even say- for a smooth running household. A home that contains a well fed and clothed family still provides “chores” for it’s Mama, even if the children are over 10 years of age. But, it’s different. At least it feels different. There are days when I literally feel like the hired help- although I don’t ever collect a paycheck. There are days when the only time I hear “Mom” said with any urgency is when “Have you seen my red shirt?!” or “Can you give me a ride?” is the question. It’s almost as if  the work that I do is important, but not me. Not every day, but sometimes. Sounds pretty pathetic when it’s written down, but it’s the truth – and I’m guessing that I am not alone in this thought process.

Back in the day, I was their world. I decided their menu, their schedule and picked their outfits – and most of their friends, for that matter! They played and wanted me to join them. They cried and wanted me to comfort them. They had a great experience and needed to tell me all about it – admittedly, I am still needed for this {THANK GOD!}. I was more than a chef/driver/laundry doer. I was a companion. I wasn’t AN option, I was the ONLY option. I guess that is what I miss the most. The little hands reaching for my cheeks as I read to them. The little feet following me everywhere… except to the bathroom. That was gross and awkward.

I was warned by many to not “put all of my eggs into one basket”. In other words, I couldn’t expect for my husband and family to be the only things in my life to bring me joy. I completely understand this logic, but I also know that for 20 years now, being a Wifey has made me very happy. And the 17+ years of parenting has also left me quite fulfilled (and exasperated, exhausted and utterly dazed at times). I refuse to take those eggs out of my basket. I have, instead, started adding more eggs… writing more, speaking engagements, teaching religious education, a weekly Bible study, TAKING NAPS. I have more time now that my children can bathe, dress and feed themselves. Time that was once allocated to their care and safety can now be spent reading a book (that has nothing to do with parenting!).

I know that God has things planned in a certain order, as in written in Ecclesiastes  3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”. It was necessary for me to first be the nose-wiping, meal-making, booboo-kissing Mom in order  for them to trust the homework-helping, friendship-fixing, college-selecting Mom that I am today. There is joy and pain in every season, but God is also in each season, which means I can handle it and even {maybe} thrive in it. I pray the very same for you, as well. So – if you still wish to chat about it, I’ll be on the elliptical tomorrow at 8 AM – give me a call!