At first glance, I lead a rather boring life. Wife. Stay-at-home mother. Then I add a few more details. Wife--to pastor. Stay-at-home, homeschooling mother--to ten. Now, I'm no longer boring; I'm weird. But I've always considered my life somewhat of a blessed adventure. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Even so, I wonder if there will be a time when I settle down and try on 'normal' for a while...like maybe doing a stint as White House Press Secretary...or as a professional golfer. And just as I begin to see 'normal' on the horizon, I hit this bend in the road. 'Normal,' it turns out, if for other people's stories.
I live in a home populated largely by little folk. And my home shows the signs of this wee population. My walls, normally a cheerful yellow, have taken on a hazy dinge from about four feet down. My crisp white woodwork is neither crisp nor white. The worn carpet on my stairs has done battle with a legion of sippy cups. My fingerprint-plastered windows are an FBI dream.
That's okay, I keep telling myself. Life is getting normal now. Our youngest child, on the verge of his fourth birthday is getting taller, smarter,...cleaner. Soon we can replace carpet and paint.
Our possessions are simplifying, too. After twenty-one years, we finally said goodbye to diapers. (You've probably noticed a dip in your Pampers stock. And I was on the verge of urging you to move your money to Matchbox.) I'm down to one napper, no diapers, and exactly one plastic Winnie-the-Pooh plate. That kitchen petrie dish, commonly known as the high chair, has long taken up residence in the attic--you know, for the grandkids. I have no burp cloths or boppy pillow. And somewhere in the dark recesses of the garage, I think, there lurk one playpen and the dilapidated remains of a stroller. I think.
Then there is my typical day. My homeschool time is spent less on ABC's and more on discipleship. I spend my free time reading, blogging, volunteering at speech club, being a friend to my adult children, studying theology, and worrying about politics. In our last family photo, every member of the family is standing on his own two feet.
My peers are in the 40-55 year range. Most of them have graying hair, kids in college, and hot flashes. None of them have little plastic Winnie-the-Pooh plates.
And then there's me.
I have graying hair, too.
I have kids in college, too.
But my uterus apparently had a neon sign flashing, "Vacancy!" And suddenly the world is moving in super slo-mo, and I'm staring at that telltale horizontal line on the stick (you know the one) with my mouth hanging open.
I'm 45, and I'm going to have a baby. Wow!
Early signs of pregnancy are already setting in. My steel-trap brain has turned into a colander, and I'm dropping all kinds of balls.
My hair has taken on the delightful texture of a wired-hair dachshund.
At some point, I'll need to buy new maternity clothes because the ones I have left are circa 1800. And the hottest thing out right now are maternity skinny jeans.
So my choice will be to either look like Laura (yawn) Ingalls or Beyonce.
Pregnancy in a Pringles can. Yippee skippee.
I'm tempted, of course, to look at my story and start comparing it to my friends' stories. But then I start listening to their stories.
One had a complete hysterectomy at 33. No more children. Ever.
One had fertility problems.
One had a seven year window in which she could conceive. That window is now closed. Forever.
I have two friends who always have to have C-sections.
Three more have lamented to me that they wish they could conceive now, too.
And I am humbled into 'Who am I?' Who am I that I've never had a C-section or a miscarriage? or a less than perfectly healthy baby? or a problem breastfeeding? Who am I that I have a hardy womb at my age when my peers have long been done?
Most important, who am I to compare my story to their story...as if my story has anything to do with their story? as if God who created the Universe was suddenly obligated to work from one blueprint? No. My story has nothing to do with their story.
My story is His story.
I cannot make predictions about the future. I cannot tell you how this pregnancy will progress, or who this child will be. But this bend in the road is history.
And it is His story,
His story for me.
So we'll log some more time with spots on the carpet.
And little black fingerprints.
And diapers and potty training and plastic Winnie-the-Pooh plates.
And baby smiles. And tiny fingers and toes.
And first words. And first steps.
And leading another little one to God.
Still, I falter when I wonder if I have it in me to parent vigorously for another eighteen years. I waiver when I think that I cannot be weary in well-doing, that this new little one needs, even deserves, every bit as much energy as my first did. I stand at this bend in the road and wonder what God was thinking, making me a mother again at the same age my mother became a grandmother.
I'm going to be a 50-year-old with a five year old.
I'm going to be 63 when I finish homeschooling.
I'm going to be 90 when this child hits my age; my own parents haven't even broken 70 yet.
Yes, I've spent a fair amount of time doing the math.
For whatever reason, He is saving me from my plans and to His plans. The math tells me that this is going to require daily dependence on Him for wisdom and strength--but then, that's no different from anything else He's called me to.
I saw a picture today. I had caught myself doubting one more time about normal and asking God, "Are you sure..." questions. And then I saw the picture. Another friend was holding her little surprise caboose, whom she had just birthed yesterday. It all came back to me...the smells, the warmth, the feelings, the amazing miracle, the new relationship.
Forget normal. I'm not called to 'normal'; I'm called to 'radical.'
My story is not about normal. It's about Jesus.
And He's got this.
The adventure continues...