Living the Everyday Through Life's Seasons
For the last 10 years I have been a business entrepreneur. I worked hard to build something out of nothing and was blessed to see all of my goals for my business come to light. Every single one of those goals have been accomplished, which is huge for me. And I am so forever grateful.
Those 10 years, now going on 11, have been some of the most self defining moments for me. And when we began our journey to adopt, all of that started to shift. But I hadn't quite realized how MUCH it would shift when we returned home from China. I thrived in my "identity" as a professional photographer as well as in a position I held at our church for 8 of those years. They were who I was. Who I was known for. Who I had become.
And then we came home from China.
I expected life to carry on as it once had, although I KNEW change was getting ready to take place. It had been stirring in me for part of our adoption process as well as while we were actually IN China. I was even having dreams that change was occurring. That big change was about to happen. But couldn't quite put my finger on WHAT that change actually was.
Adoption will obviously impact your life in an incredibly amazing way. As having children in general will. Tristan has been doing SO well. He has adjusted and adapted and has become SO a part of us, that it is truly miraculous. We have had rough moments, but on the grand scheme of things, it has been amazing.
When we first got home people would ask us how things were going, how was Tristan doing, etc etc and the answer was always "really good." Because they were. HE was doing great! HE was adjusting SO well! But for me, my world had flipped upside down. Everything I had built, everything I knew as "me" wasn't there anywhere. Scheduling photo shoots and spending hours and hours of creative time at my computer couldn't happen anymore. Shoot. 6 months ago I could barely reply to text messages, let alone emails, which honestly, I have sucked at for quite some time. Not to mention, I was no longer in the position that I held at our church and knew that door had been closed.
My "identity" was gone. Or so it felt that way.
Everything I loved, everything I had worked SO hard at came to a screeching halt. I felt like a fish completely and utterly out of water. Flopping around desperately looking for water. I mean really, have you ever watched a fish flop around out of water? Totally how I felt. And I was massively grieving. Not grieving our choice to adopt. I would do it again in a heartbeat. But I grieved "me" or the me I was. Does that sound totally self-absorbed? I'm not meaning it to. I missed my identity in the things I loved. And seeing those things go hurt like a bad breakup.
Life changed when Brooklynn was born. But not drastically. I had already established my photography career and kept moving right along after she was born. But after we came home from China, everything changed. And mind you, I fully expected to continue the pace once we were home. Continue booking shoots. Continue doing what I had always done. Just pick up things with a little adjustment to life and carry on from where we had left off. But nope. Wasn't going to happen. It was cute of me to think so though, right?! (This is where you can amuse me and say 'yes.') Yet, at the same time, I knew change was imminent. I knew it was coming on a personal level apart from the change that occurred with our family. The signs were everywhere, like this quote I saw on Instagram...
It was amazing the months to follow returning home from China. Things started to get stripped away (painfully) and a new found freedom started to appear. Although I will say, I am not one for change. Especially if I am not the one creating it or a part of the process. So when change occurs without my consent, I am a very slow mover to acceptance. But once I'm there, I'm good. It just takes me a while to accept change, to see the benefit of it. And all those who know me well say a hearty "amen" and "mmm hmmm."And those who kinda know me go "ooooh, now I get it."
Life is full of changes. Full of ebbs and flows. Full of hellos and goodbyes. Although I do not fully comprehend all of life's changes and why some things happen or are necessary... they serve a purpose. And this change that occurred for me is still revealing itself. And I am excited for that.
I am learning to accept and enjoy this current season I am in. For a short while my daily purpose felt so mediocre. Shouldn't I be doing "BIG" things with my life? And God would answer, "You are." But what about my so called "purpose?" And God would answer, "It's not about you right now." (That one stung a little... but it was true.)
These past 6 months have been learning to let go of what has been, to embrace what is to come. To embrace what feels like meaningless mundane moments to come to the realization that those moments are life changing, life altering moments for two little people. To realize that I am living and creating my children's "good ol' days."
I recently learned that I can listen to books for free through our Library. It was an angels singing moment for me. The clouds parted as the new app gloriously downloaded to my phone. I love to read (and my Elementary teachers say, "Oh thank God! She finally learned how to read!) and had been missing time with books. Gone are those afternoon days of reading! But hello to someone reading TO me!
A dear friend gifted me one of Melanie Shankle's books, Antelope in the Living Room. Melanie is funny and witty and feeds my love language of funny sarcasm and Friend's references. She writes about her marriage, becoming a mother, and the joys and frustrations of child rearing through a lens of laughter. She will have you laughing one moment and tearing up in the next. She is real and authentic and loves Jesus in a beautiful way. I am pretty certain we'd be BFF's.
This past week I have been reading, or rather, listening to, Melanie's most recent book, Church of the Small Things. I love the description about her book from her website: "What do cooking dinner, driving sugar-buzzed junior high girls to a soccer tournament, and being nice to that coworker who perpetually gets on your nerves have to do with making a lasting impact? In Church of the Small Things, Melanie reminds us that God does extraordinary things in our most mundane moments of faithfulness. Through her hilarious reflections on being a mom, wife, and writer, Melanie helps us embrace a meaningful life as we find the beauty and the laughter that lie right beneath the surface of every ordinary, incredible day. God uses the smallest acts of faithfulness to love and influence the people around us—and sometimes that looks a lot like packing sandwiches for lunch, working in a cubicle, or playing tea party one more time even though you feel like gnawing your arm off.
Melanie knows what it’s like to get so caught up in wanting something to take our breath away that we lose our amazement for every breath we take. In Church of the Small Things, she invites us to view our daily tasks as the holy and precious callings they are. As we see how real life meets eternity every day, we can let go of the pressure to experience big moments and delight in the small ones instead—even those peanut butter sandwiches."
Her words couldn't come at a better moment for me. While I had been grieving, God was reminding me that these moments with my children right now were and are in fact greater than anything I had previously done or accomplished. That they weren't meaningless or purposeless, but life changing. Resting in these moments unapologetically was exactly where I needed to be.
I am now excited for this new season in my life. Living these "good ol' days" and creating memories for my children is one of the greatest things I will ever do. I pray I don't mess them up, that I point them to Jesus, and live a life that blesses them.