I'm going to preface today's post with a general countdown of the past 10 years of my life... since many of you may not be aware, and I haven't posted about it like this before.
2002 In a really fruitful and happy season personally, professionally & spiritually.
In retrospect, I believe much of the ability to hang on (or be held onto by grace) through the next number of years was due to the immense amount of studying both Chris and I spent in scripture, finance and relationships. We had no idea how much our faith and our studies would be tested and proven and how much God loves us.
We came to terms with 2 previous miscarriages/ infertility, continuing to trust God.
Worked with a great team of people and spent much time pouring into students lives, travelling quite a bit and prospering financially in our investments.
2003 Went to visit my sister in France in the Spring.
Took a leave of absence from work.
Found out we were expecting our first born after returning home from Alberta.
Our Church/ Ministry/ Spiritual Community (aka my job) began to go through the first of several upheavals (was asked to return to work early to help with troubleshooting)
2004 Our son Lucas was born, began my maternity leave.
Sister got married in Tulsa.
2005 1st Nephew born.
Went back to work in a new position at the church which was still struggling.
One of my closest friends moved to California. Another, moved far away shortly thereafter.
Found out we were pregnant with our second son.
We moved to Niagara Falls.
Another sister got married.
Had our son Max just after Christmas. Began Maternity leave.
2006 Went back to work early. (should not have done this)
Another sister got married.
A good friend went through hell. It affected all of us.
First niece born.
2007 Found out we were pregnant with our 3rd son.
The last sister got married.
Two days before the wedding, my father in Law who lived with us, passed away suddenly in our home. I was the one to find him and call 911.
Months later my dad was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Our third son, Carter was born.
More upheavals at church/work.
2008 I returned to work part time at the church, which was in the process of a leadership change.
The end came suddenly and we buried my dad a year and a week to the day we buried my father in law.
A week later, another nephew was born. My sister had a health scare.
Chris left his job and joined me at the church.
Late in the year we decided to "diversify" and bought a business.
2009 Very soon we realized we had been lied to, and began losing serious money.
Serious stress on all fronts. We all deal differently.
Experienced some betrayals that almost crippled us.
2010 Some of our other investments began to falter.
Another nephew was born.
It got very dark.
Chris went back to his former job in a new position.
2011 Hallelujah! Just when it seemed the darkest... things began to turn around...
We were able to begin to rebuild
We sold the business. Another Nephew was born.
We made some serious decisions - leave job, leave church, invest in direct sales business, homeschool, etc.
2012 Today - I'm happily homeschooling, pregnant again, though things are far from perfect and still not where they were, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We are growing and moving forward in Jesus.
Things i would tell my 27 year old self...
On the call of God/ my life's purpose/ etc.
Relax. No really….RELAX. I say this knowing you are a type A personality. Knowing you perpetually deal with feeling useless especially having so many things that I want to do each day, and maybe getting ONE thing done.
10 years ago, you were in a very fruitful season, you loved working with the students, serving in ministry, creating, doing things you thought had “eternal value” (and they did) – but those things had no more value than what you do now. The only difference is that those things had results that were quicker to spot and you had a lot of people encouraging me all the time. Now, it’s very “quiet” on the encouragement front (as in you have to encourage yourself most of the time - though God always brings ppl along to help with this). The results of you “work” are yet to be seen. When I say relax, I mean, you are walking with God right? He’s well aware of what you are up to and is well aware of what you are meant to accomplish by the time your life is over, and He knows how to see it through, what’s the rush? He’s not worried, why are you? The most important things in life are good - the people in it. Is that not more than enough? Matthew 6:19-20
On God's Provision
I caution you, don’t close out the provision of God by being small minded. When He provides, HE PROVIDES. More than enough… but you have to expand your mind/ life “tent” to be ready for it, otherwise you will not be able to contain it or hold onto it long enough to learn how to manage it. Isaiah 54:2-3
One of the voices you keep hearing is, “I should be helping my husband provide financially… he works so hard, I want to make his burden easier…” All I can say is that this is up to each couple and how they deal with it. Men are designed to carry this burden, we are not. Just like we are designed to carry the burden from the beginning of time for home and family. It’s just how we’re designed. Obviously we are able to bring in income too (Prov. 31) but I wonder sometimes if Godly women are buying into the worlds idea of family, roles at home, etc. more than we should. Chris has told you that he is happy and fulfilled knowing that you and the boys are being provided for…what's the problem? Also, are you being a good steward of the money that does come in? – ie. Budget for food, clothes, etc? There are many ways to be a financial asset in the home.
On feeling like you aren't able to express yourself fully
You have a voice, and the only one who is limiting you from using it is YOU. Maybe you have not locked onto the message you want to say, and that’s why you are frustrated, or if you have found it, you are not ready to give it voice, even if you feel like you should be. No one else has the power to stop you, except you. You have a tremendous ability to effect people. To soften hearts, to encourage, to build up, to extend the love of God to the world around you and that in the end, that is of the greatest value.
On not using your gifts right now
Yes, you are an extremely creative and artistic person, so this will inevitably lead you through seasons of melancholy. To be able to capture beauty the way you do, to understand light and darkness and contrast the way you do, unfortunately means that you live it in a way that many others don’t. It’s just who you are. As much as you know yourself, you need to trust yourself more too. As dark as feel, you also get to experience the highs and the “light” in a more intense way than others do. Count the cost. Remember Kind David? He was all over the place too, yet he was a “man after God’s own heart” and one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. Ps. 139 Bloom where you are planted right now. The time to sing, teach, create is now, inside your home. Someday it will grow beyond that. Relax.
Know the Season you are in. Perhaps you feel limited because of the demands of your time and energy (kids, etc), and all I can say is Yep, you are in that season. You are a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, a woman. You know what though? It’s not really going to change. You will always be these things, there will come a time when you have more time for yourself, but it's not now. However, you can change how you embrace your now, how you see the moments that are making up this season of your life right now. This season will soon be gone, and you will look back with longing. Enjoy it. In the next 10 years, you will lose 2 parents and some great people (friends and family) to illness and circumstance. You will wish you had enjoyed more time with them. You won't miss doing your more of own thing, or ministry, or business or making money or other things that seem “worthy”. In light of eternity, they don’t matter as much. I know it’s a bit of a dichotomy – life is too short, aren’t we running out of time? No, I believe it’s too short to get it wrong. Life is too short to focus on the things that AREN'T happening, when I believe that He wants us to fully embrace the things that ARE happening. I also believe that we get so caught up planning and living for the complicated things when we are designed to find extreme pleasure and benefit in the most simple things. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 esp. verses 11&12
PS - Hang on for the ride of your life!
Lots of Love 20 something Tammara - I love you, He loves you more and the best is yet to come!