HEATHER.

Aloha from Hawaii, readers! As I have been sunning myself, learning Pidgin and generally doing my best to be mistaken for a local, my friend Heather has been working hard on this blog post. So far, the locals are calling me ‘hapa’, which means half. So, as I continue to pursue my vacation goal, I leave you in the hands of sweet Heather.

I asked Heather to guest post because I thought this blog could use a punch of honesty. I try hard to make you laugh and make you think and sometimes I wonder if I am taking too many creative liberties and scraping off bits of truth in the process. It’s hard to put yourself out there, naked and vulnerable in the blogosphere, without coming across as whiny or pleading. Heather manages to do so with such grace and positivity that I am left humbled and inspired. Her lovely writing style and open heart make her blog, My Little Bird, such a joy to read. 

Heather and I are the same age and yet she seems to have journeyed so much further, tackling motherhood and all of its challenges over at http://lettingyoufly.blogspot.com/ . Make sure to follow her and leave comments here if you like what you see. Take it away, Mama Bird 🙂

——————————————————————————————————————

I love how there are some pieces of literature or artwork that resonate with us differently at different times in our lives– we may read a book three times and relate to a different character each time we take a pass through the pages. Or you might listen to a song a hundred times, and on that hundred and first time you hear a chord or a lyric that strikes something deep within you that you hadn’t felt the other times you listened. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to Psalm 139 as my ‘favorite psalm.’ And at different seasons in my life, God has highlighted certain verses for me that all of a sudden mean something new or challenge me in new ways.

Right now, I’m thinking a lot about verses 13-17:

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

I was born with the strong desire to have a plan. I’m not exactly talking about a nebulous idea of where I’m heading; I mean a clear, distinct path towards the future and the direction I’d like to head. I take great pride in the fact that if I work really hard at A, B, and C, one day I will most likely arrive at my destination of Z. I’ve always been like this—it is ingrained deeply in the fibers of my being. I make to-do lists for my to-do lists and thrive with schedules and dreams to work towards. As much as I wish I could live freely and spontaneously, I am uncomfortable when things go awry and immediately come up with a new plan to get back on track.

I don’t think God minds this desire of mine to know what my day will look like or to have big dreams—in fact I fully believe it was part of my inmost being that He knit together, and He delights in the work He created in me.

However, I know He also is not pleased when my desire to have a clear, detailed plan becomes a clinging to clarity and control—it shows that I lack trust in Him and the plans He has for me.

My plans for my life started to go off track for the first time when I moved to New York City after college to pursue a career in professional theatre. I didn’t last there four whole months. The city made me claustrophobic, I lacked community and felt incredibly alone, and I lost confidence in myself as an artist. Almost more than the disappointment I thought others would see and the failure I innately felt in myself, the most overwhelming feeling for me was my fear in a lack of certainty/control/a plan for my future (since this was in fact my plan since I was about 12 years old). I was broke (financially, and my spirit was crushed), so I decided to move home for a few months to get back on my feet without any sense of a plan.

In that season of non-planning, God started re-directing my life. I got to work as a theatre teacher for a local community arts organization. I found an incredible job in higher education and moved in with my best friend Sarah in Boston. I had the opportunity to act in an original musical that ended up winning several Boston-area awards. And perhaps most beautifully, I was reconnected with and fell in love with the man I believe God made for me all along. It took MY plan getting a little bit shattered for me to look to the Lord for where to go next.

The place He’s ultimately led me (and my husband) for right now is living on a farm in Virginia with our sweet little boy, Emmett (who is almost 8 months old!). Becoming a mama has perhaps been the most challenging in my journey towards trust and giving up control thus far. It’s been so good for me to let go and stop obsessing over knowing what tomorrow holds, because living my life according to the needs of a child forces me to give up my plans and schedule and CONTROL on a daily, even hourly basis.

By not being focused on my own grand life plans, I’m learning to be more present in the day-to-day (something I’ve never been good at). I’m enjoying those simple and small joys like taking time to prepare meals (not just eating on the run), and actually tasting the goodness of the food in front of me. Small joys like cups of hot coffee in the morning for my weary mama soul while Emmett plays and I get to watch the sun rise out the window. Little things like phone calls with loved ones, dates with my husband, walking through the galleries at the art museum where my husband works and showing my little one the shapes and colors in my favorite pieces. Instead of wishing Emmett was more mobile/talking/in school and thinking about where we’re headed next, I’m trying to soak in our cuddles, his delight in discovering small things, his hard laughter when my husband tickles him, our beautiful long walks on the farm in the afternoon light, and watching the people around me melt and find joy in him too. I’m keeping track of these joys in notes around the house, journals and on my blog—but it’s in these little things that I’m seeing God’s goodness right now in ways I may never have noticed if I’d been so focused on my own grand schemes and plans.

Instead of dreaming about being an actress, God is molding my heart towards arts education, starting a small creative home business (an Etsy shop in the next few months!), and growing in my creative writing. These are all things that have laid under the surface for a while and desires I believe God wanted me to see from the beginning, but my own plans always got in the way. He is teaching me to have grace in my ‘failures,’ and know that He even uses those to grow me and explore who I am and where He’s taking me and my family on this new journey.

I definitely don’t have it right yet, but I think I’m finally starting to lean into that lesson of trusting God with my journey. I hope that I can continue to grow in that deepness of trust and continue to open my hands up and offer him my dreams (big and small) and find clarity in the fact that He is ultimately in control and I don’t have to be.

Talk to me! (I'm a slow but decent penpal)