Yes, I did take another hiatus from writing. This one was longer because I went on a journey. An exploration of sorts into the future. You may have noticed my blog has the word gypsy in it. There was a reason for that (besides wanderer just didn’t sound as great). My whole life has been like the song “Roots” by Alice Merton. As she says, “I’ve got no roots, My home was never on the ground”. Since the age of 0, I have lived in Louisiana, Washington, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin (several of these more than once).
When you travel, you learn to adjust to the new – to accept it. Not having a comfort zone becomes the comfort zone. The realization hit me within the last year – I’m getting a new normal – roots. Roots in community, church, work, and volunteering. I can go to the grocery store and run into someone I know. Many people in my community know my name. I’m “going public” as one of my favorite pastors, Sarah Jakes, would say. With that realization, I set on a journey that I hope helps other people learn more. Here are a couple of tidbits I’ve discovered on this journey:
#1: Seek advice. Recently, I found myself at a crossroads. I was at a point where God said no more waiting – just do it. There were so many different areas God wanted me to grow in. I wanted to, of course, seek God first. But I have learned the advice of those God has placed in your life is important because sometimes they are God’s voice. For me, that was talking to my parents, my pastor, my business mentor, and my friend/mentor. All of these people are wiser and older. They also know God and me well enough to give good advice into my life. I felt that if God had called me to live in one area for a really long time, contribute to that community, and build up other women, I should see how these important people could help me be sure of that calling. As Proverbs 4:7 says:
Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.
#2: Ask for help. I am the queen of pride and will acknowledge it. Some days I will carry a crate off a stage at a concert – a crate that weighs more than me – just to prove I can do it. To prove that I can do it alone as well. God teaches me over and over to rely on others. As Galatian’s 6:2 says:
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
During our recent April blizzard here in Wisconsin, I was driving on my way to church and my windshield wipers broke. Yes, it was snowing and barely any cars were on the road. However, one of my very favorite times of the week is our 8 a.m. church service where I get to lead a group of 3,4 and 5-year-olds. My love for kids doesn’t get to extend into my work and home life very often, so this is my chance to be a kid for two hours and help kids know God’s love. I found myself disappointed and making a quick about-face to my apartment. Instead of calling someone to drive me, I phoned in and canceled my teaching.
I did tell my parents what was going on and a close friend. I didn’t ask for help but instead decided I would take it to my mechanic when the storm passed. My dad decided to show up and try to fix it, however. Then, my close friend offered to drive me to our night service at church and lectured me on asking for help (she continues to lecture me on this by the way because she knows me too well). I was reminded in these moments of the blessing of help – for the giver and the receiver. It made me consider the blessings of my clients and the lessons I’ve learned helping them. God created us for a community. A give and take relationship that fluctuates constantly. One that weaves us in and out of each other’s lives.
#3: Be disciplined. A church isn’t built in a day. Actually, the world wasn’t even created in a day. God had a schedule – one of seven days. He had a plan for each day and rested during this time. If you have big dreams, go for it. But don’t expect God to hand it to you. Life and dreams require discipline. In recent months, I’ve built up habits to build me up in Godly ways.
For me, I had to learn to say no. I love to help others, be involved in ministry, and hang out with others. However, God showed me that saying yes to everything took me away from my calling. I have a very distinct calling on my life and am grateful that God has given it to me at such a young age. With this calling comes great responsibility though. A responsibility that says I am going to the gym four times a week, spending an hour alone learning about God each day, and making time for my closest friends/family first. This is necessary because I have to be fully present when I walk into a situation with a new mom that desperately needs my attention.
Another thing God has shown me is how important it is as a society that we be fully present in person with others. Our society has gone tech crazy. I recently read that 27% of millenials believe that it will be acceptable to have a relationship with a robot. That is a problem people! But isn’t it already a problem? Instead of having conversations with strangers over the internet or messaging a friend all night, pick up the phone and invite them over. Meet at a coffee shop. Find real people in your current community. Invest in them. God called us to be present with the people we’re in a room with and not just some people that are online. It’s a constant effort for me, but I’m learning to place my phone in my pocket and leave it there unless it’s necessary. This requires discipline, but I can tell you that people have been shocked when I call and ask to meet in person or hang out at a coffee shop for hours.
All of this has been a journey of learning what God has outlined in His word and applying it to the every day. With that, I can tell you a few morsels of good news. First, many may not know this, but this is my 3 year anniversary month. Three years back in Wisconsin, at my job, and in my apartment. Second, it is my 6 year anniversary since I discovered my calling and began working with pregnant women/new mothers. Third, I am in the process of working with a wonderful new friend/business partner to create a non-profit residential home for teenage mothers. I have learned through seeking advice, asking for help as I learn to run a business, and being disciplined that you can truly do anything when it’s God’s will. When you do, insanely good and bad things happen. You discover a strength inside of you that only comes from God. You learn to be humble and recognize that you can’t do things on your own. Lastly, you learn to manage your time extremely efficiently so you can get things done. All of this can’t be done unless you’re roots are planted in Jesus. Then, the sky is the limit!
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5