I’m just gonna be real, having a blank calendar causes all sorts of issues for me. I feel lost and although difficult to admit, often times unimportant. Having blank space on my calendar actually causes me anxiety and I am not quite sure what to do with myself during those times. You see, my nature is that of a list maker, a planner and as strange as it may seem I work best in the midst of chaos. I actually tend to function highly in stressful situations and reality is something inside me thrives on the craziness that a jam-packed calendar produces. Sure, a free night or weekend is most welcomed here and there…but what I am talking about is when you are in a season where God will not allow you to fill your calendar for months and in my case over a year, no matter how desperately you desire to.
For close to 8 years, I served in ministry outside the home as well as being a wife and mother of 2, now teenage daughters in addition to working a full-time office job. In 2013, a typical week for me ranged from kids sports, teaching dance, leading abortion recovery Bible study, board of director meetings and a number of things in between. But, you would not find me complaining because I loved this type of schedule, it brought me satisfaction and I felt it gave me purpose. So, imagine my unsettled spirit and high level of anxiety when by February of 2014 I did not even recognize my life while staring at a blank calendar. Nothing previously on my calendar remained except my office job and family/home life….nothing!
I’ll admit I didn’t like it one bit, but I was able to “sit” in the idea semi-comfortably because I convinced myself it was temporary….a season of rest and re-focus I called it, to figure out what was next. If I kept this idea in my head that it was only for a short while before I could get back to doing serious business for God’s Kingdom, I could somewhat enjoy this rest. But to my fleshly disappointment, it wasn’t long before things that were not previously a priority began to require more of my time and my prayers. Allow me explain….
Despite how it may actually sound, my family has always been very important to me. I cherish my marriage and am beyond thankful for a husband who has been so understanding and patient through the years of outside ministry. In the midst of all the busyness, I rarely missed a sports game, school meeting, awards ceremony, etc. I just thought God must have given me a special gift to keep it all together and I was under the impression (aka delusion) that not a single area of my life was suffering (geez, where’s the humility?). But, God quickly began to show me that my children, although pretty well rounded and growing in Him had in fact suffered from my lack of being home and when home, not truly being “present”. My sweet husband who had been so patient, finally admitted that he was so glad I was in this quiet season…because he missed me and needed me for things he hadn’t expressed simply because he was trying to be supportive. Our entire family dynamic began to shift before my very eyes and I slowly began to see that God wanted me home with my family to learn and grow together like never before. Yet can you believe that I still fought and maintained the thought that this was just temporary?
I continued to fight because to me, this felt like it was some kind of “demotion”. How terrible those words sound now that I am saying them out loud. It’s not at all that being a wife and a mother wasn’t important to me because I’ve always taken these roles very seriously, but I just always thought there had to be more in addition to those things. I still found myself yearning inside to get back to what I considered “real”, meaningful ministry that may actually impact someone while continually asking God what else I was supposed to be doing. I even tried to make a couple of events happen on my own that of course weren’t successful since I was walking in disobedience. I must admit that my identity was wrapped up in a specific ministry and it started to become painfully obvious that this girl has some issues. Even still, as the days went on and I struggled with my flesh wanting something outside of my family to pop up so I could ‘get involved’, I knew in my spirit that God was saying NO! Although I desired that busy schedule again that I was oh so used to….almost holding my breath, I knew without a doubt that God was saying it was time I focus on Him, home and family.
It wasn’t until about a year into this season, after much prayer and disagreement with God that I saw clearly the importance of where He has placed me for such a time as this. My oldest daughter is dealing with some issues that I very well could have missed if I weren’t home and actually “present”. I’ve played more games, had more laughs and cried more tears with them in this last year than possibly all of the years before. I’ve had the opportunity to teach them more about the Lord, read His word with them and show them by example how to be a woman after God’s own heart.
Although this is a humbling learning process and God is certainly still dealing with many things within me, I see now that the ministry of family, being a mom and a wife is crucial to not only their life but my own. As their mom, they are on loan specifically to me from God, to love, teach and raise to follow His ways while becoming Godly young women and possibly wives and mothers themselves one day. I’ve also seen first hand (in my own family) women who focus only on their children, even putting them before God and when the kids are gone they have no relationship with their husband to speak of. I’ve seen the heartache and difficulties this causes and have learned that’s truly not God’s plan. So, I know how important it is to lay my marriage at the feet of Jesus every day and apply His word, even when it’s difficult. I’m learning to love my husband more genuinely and pray for him differently than before, as I spend more time in Godly submission to him. I now realize that by seeing all of the blank space on my calendar as opportunities to learn with and love my family I am doing incredible things for the Kingdom of God. I know that by being obedient to God in this season, as cliché as it may sound I am in fact “impacting the future”. Children are shaped by what is and who are around them, even as teens they listen to every word we say and learn what is right/wrong and good/bad. I want my children to know that my first priority is The Lord God and what He says I should be doing is my ultimate heart’s desire, even if my flesh fights a bit at first. And I praise God that with all of this blank space, I truly believe they are seeing this.
I am now so at peace with this season I am in, no matter how long it may last. Truth is, with the age of my girls, I feel it may last a few years at least until they move on to the next phase of their life and the thought of that now brings joy to my heart. I absolutely treasure filling up the blank space now with family vacations and weekend get-aways and at times I grieve for the years we missed when I was so busy. In the blank space God is also teaching me so much more about himself and just who He created me to be.…I’m still learning daily. There are broken places within me that He has chosen this time to bring to the surface in order to refine for His purposes and some of them have been quite painful. I now realize that I NEED the blank space to focus on Him, learn His ways and hear His voice more clearly. This very blog is a product of the blank space and some of those lessons and truth I have learned, but until now have not sat quiet and still long enough to share them as He is leading.
A quote randomly came across my Facebook wall the other day and I knew it was a reminder for me from the Lord; it said: “Daily life is full of opportunities to learn how to do our relationships well. Don’t miss them” – Nina Rosener. Reading this makes me realize that the most important thing I can do for the relationship with my family, is strive to do my relationship with God well!
When God calls you to the blank space, make sure you take notice. Although a season of rest may be welcomed and necessary, there may also be something far more important He is trying to show you.
In truth and love,