As the end of summer nears, I find myself (as I do every year) craving order in my world in every area. I've been mentally processing the past year and thinking a lot about my "place" or my role in our life here. To be honest, the last year was often a hard and lonely one for me. I have wrestled with how I fit into the big picture.
Granted, I have long wrestled with insecurity, and this past year was just a more intense season of it as we transitioned into pastoring a city church. All of the sudden I found myself not knowing where I fit it. Most of our wonderful people are single, and we are the only family with kids older than 1. Troy has a clear role, and many of the people that come through our home now are here to see him. And while I enjoy creating the home environment that welcomes them, as a person I found myself at a loss.
Last year I felt validated as a pastor's wife, but seldom as just me. At times I have felt I am the one they call when they need a ride, or a question answered, or a place to stay, or prayer. And while I love fulfilling those roles and answering those needs, I sometimes find myself longing to be just a girlfriend, someone to go shopping with, someone chosen simply because of what I offer as a person.
I have known for a time that if I am going to escape that, I am going to have to "put myself out there" more, which is not something I am very good at. I am comfortable with people, but have a harder time "making the first move" as it were. Although I filled out an application for one of the women's clubs, I haven't mailed it, because frankly, it makes me cringe. I know that if I don't put myself in the path of others who are in my same life stage, I won't get anywhere. But it's still hard.
Being almost 40 is also weird, because it's sort of an in-between stage. You aren't young and hip and fun anymore (not that I have ever been hip :) ) and yet neither you are silver-haired, full of wisdom and grace.
I know that a huge chunk of my role right now is being a wife and mother. And yet it can feel lonely not having other women to share that journey with. Many of the women here in my stage of life also work full time, and then are busy with their families as well.
My biggest desire in all this is that the experience will draw me closer to Jesus. I hope that I can learn to sit quiet and close in his company instead of feeling hurt, jealous and sorry for myself. I pray I will reach out to others no matter what, learn to "plant my own garden instead of waiting for someone to bring me flowers." I certainly know that if I am bitter and crabby, that will bring the opposite effect.
In June, I read Anne Graham Lotz's comments on her mother Ruth Graham, after her death. I was struck by what she said:
“I would go down to my mother’s room early in the morning. Her light would be on, and I would find her at her big, flat-top desk. She would be reading and studying her Bible, with about 14 different translations spread out around her.That is my hope for this coming year.
When I would go down to her room late at night, I would see the light on underneath the door and I’d go in, and she would be on her knees in prayer.
As I look back on my childhood, I cannot remember any impression whatsoever that my mother was ever lonely. She may have been lonely, but I never saw it.
I believe that our heavenly Father, our Savior, saved my mother from loneliness because of her daily walk with the Lord Jesus, He was the love of her life. I saw that in her life. It was her love for the Lord Jesus, with whom she walks every day, that made me want to love Him and walk with Him like that."