Sometimes travel is the best medicine. New places bring new perspectives and airport layovers provide great think space. Besides having a blast with my family in Spokane, I also had a much needed Ah-Ha moment and two solid gold hangout sessions with two of my oldest and dearest friends.
My trip was only five days altogether, but it was just the right amount of time. I had to leave Jon behind, but he got along just fine by upgrading our kitchen spice racks and experimenting with a few new cooking challenges he received via Jamie Oliver’s old cooking show. He also managed to glue together and paint an old rocking chair that a friend gave me a couple months back. Go Jon!
I began and ended my time in Spokane with two of my best friends from high school: Jessica S. and Jessica C. Our first chance to meet up happened at the Rockwood Bakery on Spokane’s South Hill. Jessica S. brought along her adorable, almost six month old son, Daniel. I brought my baby bump. And Jessica C., although she isn’t headed towards BabyLand quite yet, brought along her baby interest and knowledge as a nurse, doula and infant photographer. So we got to talk a lot about babies and all the incredibleness and crazyness that comes along with them.
But possibly the most refreshing part of the entire conversation was the honesty of it all. We casually joked about about how sometimes our actions as wives are just slightly less than “godly” towards our husbands and in all seriousness and sincerity we shared how those same actions are difficult to deal with and learn from.
It was refreshing because you can’t build friendships like that in a day and the level of trust and honesty we experienced was in great part due to nearly nine years of friendship forming moments and experiences. And then, because we’d all had such a good time together, we decided to do it again one more time on Monday morning before I had to catch my flight back to San Luis Obispo. The Jessicas dropped me off at the airport and I’m already looking forward to next time.
I also had a great time with my family while in Spokane. It was mid-90s all week and perfect weather to go to the lake. So we did. We got bags full of penny candy on the way from the hardware store at Loon Lake and did a family swim out to the ski dock before BBQing at the cabin and watching Soul Surfer.
Then once at my mom’s we did our fair share of deck sitting and my mom threw together the freshest Caprese salad I’ve ever tasted from the basil and Cougar-Red tomatoes growing in her planter boxes. Of course we did some shopping too between going out to Greenbluff to pick fresh raspberries and then to Arbor Crest winery where a big band orchestra played live music while people danced and drank wine in their lawn chairs.
I also got to spend some time with all three sets of my grandparents along the way, something I am really grateful for.
My travel experience back to San Luis Obispo proved to be more event-filled than I would usually expect. On my first flight I sat next to a girl my age named Sugar. She was up in Spokane visiting one of her four boyfriends. The 40 year old one in Spokane doesn’t know about other 40 year old in San Diego or the 21 year old in Arizona. Yikes! We talked about relationships and family and about how she keeps feeling like she should go back to church, but she doesn’t know why.
During my layover I bought a trash magazine to find out about how Bachelorette Ashley and fiance JP are doing. But as I sat down to read it, I decided to take advantage of my mom club membership and strike up a conversation with a woman holding her one and half year old daughter. Turns out she was traveling with the youngest of her six kids. So I got to hear six separate incredible labor and delivery stories. And since I’d been reading from The Birth Book on the flight to Spokane I knew exactly what all the different terms she used meant. Points for me!
Then, on the last leg of my flight, I sat down next to a friendly, talkative guy from Texas who told me how he was fed up with the games girls play. I thought to myself that it’s a good thing he didn’t meet Sugar.
The Ah-Ha moment I mentioned, happened at the airport before the whole magazine, birth story scenario happened. I was on the phone talking with Jon when I suddenly starting saying things out loud about how I was feeling that actually made sense. Ever have that happen? It’s the coolest. I think the clarity was a culmination of a conversation I had with my mom, the time I spent with the Jessicas and probably some other things as well.
If you keep up on my blog you may know that for a while now, I’d say about a year, I’ve been struggling in my faith and my relationship with the Lord. Not in a “I don’t know what I believe” kind of way, but more of a “Why? Why? Why?” kind of way. “Why do I not feel peace? Why do I not feel good about my relationship with God? Why is it difficult for me to want to read the Bible? Why do I feel unmotivated to do much about it except for short bursts that die out fast? Why?”
It’s made for a long year spiritually speaking where I’ve spent more time complaining about things than conquering them. And the added pressure of feeling like by the time I have a child I need to be the most amazingly-positive, faith filled woman on the planet hasn’t really helped either. Although Jessica S. assured me that the feeling was normal, but untrue all at the same time.
So anyway, in the roundabout way I’m choosing to talk about this, my airport revelation was this: the past three years have been a whirlwind of great changes in my life. I moved to California, met Jon, started dating Jon, got engaged, got married and am now preparing to have a baby. So my life has had a lot of transition relationally, practically and spiritually speaking.
Relationship wise, whenever one of these big shifts occur it means that all your relationships with your family, friends and yourself shift along with it. So sometimes good friends fall into the category of good acquaintances and new friendships emerge with your new-found relationship status.
Practically speaking, everything is different. I share a house with a man. I’m consumed with learning to cook and I consider cleaning to be a hobby because I care about making my husband happy. I schedule girl time rather than coming home to it. All good things. All different than it used to be.
Spiritually, I think things were supposed to shift here too, but the fact that they haven’t is, I think, the source for much of my angst. Before I got married and got pregnant, most of my spiritual energy (other than reading the Bible and praying) went towards activities and strangers that I hoped would become more than that. I think I based a lot of how I was doing with God on how successfully I was reaching out to people around me – and in college with 20,000 peers with similar interests, that felt easy. Also, before marriage it felt easy to be be at anything and everything and therefore feel involved. However, a problem arose…
When I got married, unfortunately I forgot to shift my thinking. Marriage brought with it a whole new lifestyle: new responsibilities, new use of time, a new focus… The Bible touches on this here:
An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)
So even though my circumstances had changed, I still viewed success as the amount of time I spent doing “other” things unrelated to my marriage. As I began spending more time focusing on my marital duties, naturally my involvement in “other” things declined and I started to feel bad and like I was failing. I felt like, “How can I ever possibly do as much and be as involved as I was before marriage?” And now with a baby on the way, the feeling has only grown. “How can I ever possibly do as much and be as involved after I have the baby?”
Well, the truth is that I can’t. Not that I want to become so consumed with my own life and my own family that I forget about the rest of the world- that is not my heart at all. But what I realized at the airport is this: When I become a mom, 90-95 % of my daily spiritual energy will go into my child and my husband – and that is a good thing. I can still pray for opportunities along the way and that God would use my little life in the world around me, but the “other” part will not be the main focus or the priority anymore. My family will be the focus and the priority and I’ll pray hard that God wouldn’t let the investment in my family go to waste.
This is probably a very simple revelation, but it’s been one that I’ve been struggling to get for a long time now. I think maybe I’ve just needed someone to come along in my life and let me know that, “Hey, you don’t have to be at everything to be important to God. You don’t have to be a missionary to prove your faith. You just need to be genuine and loving where ever He’s put you right now.” I don’t really know if I would have been so open to hearing that from someone until now, so I can’t really blame anyone or anything for the fact that I’ve been going through all this. I’ve had a specific picture of what serving God and living a full Christian life has looked like for a while now and I’m finding that it’s tough to change my mind and let some things go. But I need to. Because if I don’t, I’m going to miss out on embracing and enjoying some really special years ahead with my children.
So now what? I don’t really know. I think it probably starts with going back to a more simple faith where I somehow get myself to spend time in the Word consistently whether I feel like it or not. That always seems to be the first step. From there, I don’t really know how to embrace everything I need to. I think spending time around other young moms like Jessica S. would help a lot too. It was helpful to hear about how it’s a struggle to adapt your faith and your life when you go through transition because it made me feel like I’m not the only one.
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiates 3:1-2