Friday, May 20, 2016

What to do when you want to take on the world...

I'm a big picture girl. A dreamer.  

I've always been the one to get things rolling. Certain, solid foot pressed down hard on the gas petal, when others are hitting the brake.  My eyelids open in the morning and I'm ready to go. Ready to move. Itching to get out of the house and get "living"...

And so Sister-Mamas, please know as I write this, that it is coming from a heart who is constantly trying to reign her ambition in...That what I am learning, what I am about to share is not written from a high pulpit but from a lowly perch.

In truth, I’m struggling today with my calling. 

I'm writing this right now. 

Because I need to read this right now.

I was on a run last summer, (no, for the sake of depicting the scene accurately, let me rephrase that and try again…) I was on a "shuffle" a few nights ago (my lame attempt at exercise) and the Lord whispered something so mighty deep to my soul that I looked down and had actual chill bumps cascading down my sweaty and mosquito-bitten arms. He was sending me a heavenly reminder. Maybe you need that same one right now? 

I had my worship music turned up loud in my ear phones. His Word was penetrating loud, drowning out my noisy panting for clean, night air. It was late, after 9 pm, I think when I left the house, the puppy teetered to my side (yes, I was that desperate to get the heck of out my house and have some alone time that I went running). I was finally by myself and pouring my heart out to the Lord in desperate prayer. Drowning in the housework and the heart-training and the high-chair cleaning and the play-doh mess, I felt like my soul was screaming.

"I have so many dreams dear Jesus. Things I want to do for you and for your kingdom...but I have such little time and absolutely zero energy at the end of each day. I'm frustrated Lord! So confused as to why you would give me these passions and yet no space to answer their call. What are you asking me to do Lord? Where shall I serve? Guide me Lord. Speak to me...."

Days prior, we had just moved into a "new" property. We’d poured our sweat and money into an old farmhouse that took nearly six months to gut and renovate. Our stuff was everywhere. Boxes piled high in every room, random picture frames stashed in piles, toys unorganized cascaded the floor and bright, colored beach towels temporarily covered every dirty historic windowpane until we could fine the right type of window treatments for every room. I had half-organized our kitchen supplies, we were eating off of Happy Birthday paper-plates (again) because we hadn't yet unpacked the dinnerware. My (first-ever) pantry was screaming to be organized, full of snacks and half-eaten cereal boxes and spices and cake mixes somewhere squeezed in-between the bandaids and coconut oil. I felt chaos in my gut and in my home. Whoever said "moving is fun" (my words) was smokin' crack (my words and yes, I am married to a real estate agent and we flip houses together).

My days were so full. But I felt a constant tug away from where I was needed most.  My husband was busy building and training a real estate team, and asked for my help. I was also serving as a ministry coach for parish programs around the nation and there were so many women who were on my heart. Women who I desperately wanted to "pour" into. 

My email inbox was overflowing full with invitations to speak at various churches to share my testimony.  I was excited at the possibility of each ministry “yes”, that would take me to churches around the east coast, but struck sharp with the reality of what those yeses would mean for my family. 

My "tribe" of 6, four kids under the age of 9, was requiring a lot right now. Like, an around-the-clock-and-sometimes-all-night-lot-and-I-barely-am-keeping-my-head-above-water a lot.  I had one kiddo with head to toe poison ivy (yes, the "upside" of buying three acres!), one teething and dripping with beautiful snot, one with a bull eye's rash on an antibiotic with suspected Lyme disease and another - well, another simply age 7 and super needy with two loose bottom teeth (which required constant wiggling and examining). You catch my drift. 

My hubby and I had skipped our (mandatory!) Friday-night date night for the past few weeks because we had used every free minute to pack and move. Those missed times of connection were taking a toll.

But on my night run, I wasn't praying about THOSE things.

Instead, my list rattled on as I told God each dream and each goal and each piece I wanted to write and talks I wanted to give and the Bible study I wanted to compose to share the news of Jesus. I told him how desperately I wanted to have more hours to pour into women-leaders around the country who are shouldering the "holy discontent" of bringing Bible Study into the Catholic Church. I had scribbled down notes on a brainstorm I had earlier in the week to write and host a gathering for Mama-Daughters, as we studied the Saints and applied their life lessons to our own hearts. I was brimming with ideas, restless with creativity, and feeling trapped in the monotonous activity that was needing attention in our home. I was bombarding God with my frustrations that my gifts were going unseen and my dreams unmet. 

And that's when God whispered it. 

Whispered. It. Loud.

“Want to know your mission right now? Get your household in order Jodi. Take. Care. Of. Your. Tribe.

And let me take care of the rest.

I need you to serve here, at 101 Somerset Rd, and get things in order, before you can serve out there. And THIS WORK is just as important.”

It was the honestly one of the most audible times I have ever heard the Lord speak to me. 

And I don’t always have a stellar tract record of obedience, but in this case I did. I turned my body back toward home. 

But first, I had a good, long cry. 

This was not the answer I was hoping to hear. 

But after the run, I broke-through our red front door re-energized because I knew what I needed to do. I returned a kind “No” to each speaking invitation and then quietly crept upstairs to sit by each of my sleeping children, kissing their warm foreheads and covering them in prayer. For this past year, I have continued saying “No” as each new “ask” has filed in, knowing every "No", however painful, is a "Yes" to my family. 

And peace has abounded. 

Most of the time. 

But today? I am restless again. I've found my heart dreaming big. And on the home front? Yes, there is still much to be done. Laundry to fold. A sticky fridge to wipe down. Birthday presents to wrap and floors to be moped (does a quick vacuum-through count for this? I say yes!) I have one kid recovering from a broken ankle and another on antibiotics. A contractor is banging outside, busy replacing two of our old, dilapidated windows. 

3 pm school pick-up time is coming quickly and the Lord is reminding me that yes, those chores are important and they will get done. But most important? That my heart is in the right place when my kids come running in to my arms after school. And the only way to do that, is not to get too irritated and discouraged that I am “stuck” here? It’s to fall at the feet of Jesus. Again. Right. Now.

And those dreams? I take heart in believing His Word that they will come to fruition. In HIS time and not my own. 

So again today, I offer Him my heart. As I ask for His love to fill my soul, as I kneel on the smudged, kitchen floor. (and also, it would't hurt if He'd send me a cleaning lady!?)