Sunday, May 15, 2011

What a weekend!

Wow. What a weekend! Starting on Thursday evening I spent 2.5 days at a conference that billed itself as 'high tech on a low tech budget'. Yup - I spent a lot of time with some teachers who are crazy about using IT in their classrooms. It was... invigorating, stimulating, incredible, amazing, fabulous, exciting... and utterly, utterly exhausting!

I got to network with some folks, which was nice, and learn lots of new stuff, which was brain-numbingly overwhelming (in a very good way!), but the best bit was being able to do work 'stuff' with my wonderful husband by my side. You know you've married the right man when you spend your date nights talking about how to create a self-marking test via cell phone that an ordinary teacher could use!!

It was slightly spoilt by the argument we had on the way home about - of all things - our debt. Sigh. (We did resolve it and manage to discuss things as calm, adults, but it took me a while to get there. This being an adult thing is tough.)

Today was another busy day - G was doing sound at church so I was looking after kids this morning, then shopping, then off to a family tea. But - in the midst of all the busy-ness (did I mention that we're doing renovations again??? Nearly done, nearly done.) God showed up.

Over the past few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about the calling on my life (or lack thereof). Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I believed that God had called me to be something particular. I've thought this, and been dreaming about it since I was about 9 or 10 years of age.

Then, after a period of self-examination and cross-examination while we were living in London, it turns out that it wasn't going to happen. Maybe it was the timing (the 'not yet'), the location (the 'not here') or the organisation (the 'not with these people'). Maybe it was that I needed to do some growing up. Maybe it was that if it HAD happened Zoe would not (or Janel, or Nathan). Or. Maybe I (and several other people I trusted) heard God entirely wrong.

Being me, I've always assumed it was the last one. I got it wrong. I must have. Because why would God lead me down the garden path (as it were) only to suddenly let me fall off the cliff into the abyss like that? Nope, must have been me.

Since then I've been trying to shelve the idea. I've been pretty successful. I've had incredible kids and immersed myself in my family, my job and in dealing with losing Zoe. But the last few weeks.... I just couldn't get this idea out of my head - every time I stepped into church, or whatever, I would start thinking about it again. What if...?? What if it wasn't that I heard God wrong? What if it was something else - like location and timing and a need to grow up a bit? Or what if it was to enable me to have Zoe? What if God's still got the same plan for my life?

As I've been thinking it through, all the familiar excuses have been playing through my mind: I have no time to do this... I'm not eligible to do this because who am I to do this? My relationship with God isn't what it should be - hasn't been for the longest time. How dare I step into this if I have nothing to give, if I can't model how a Christian should be living and relating to God? And because of my circumstances (small kids and a busy job) I don't have the relationships in my church community to make it happen. And I don't see any of that about to change....

And then.

Isn't it funny how God is the god of 'And Then' moments?

And then. In his still small voice, I heard the whisper... What if I'm bigger than all that and I can work through you DESPITE all of that? Don't you think my grace is enough for that?

Well, how does one compete with that?

So I took a leap of faith. I've decided to just trust God. I feel insane to do this. After everything I've been through - to just let go and trust him like this. It feels insane. It feels... well, I guess faith isn't faith until it's all you're holding onto, right?

Anyway, I decided to trust God and leave this in his hands. If it's meant to be, it will be. If it's what he wants me to be doing, then he will make it happen - I just have to be willing to let it happen, willing to trust him.

Where to now? Well, I've chatted to a few people. I've started the conversation again. We'll see what happens. It's in God's hands now. What a weekend!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's Day

I know it's after the fact, but I wanted to record something of what took place yesterday, because it felt like such a significant day.

Between the rush of church and family gatherings, I scarcely had time to think about some things that cropped up for me.

Just recently I've found myself thinking a lot about Zoe. Mother's Day obviously brought her to mind in a big way, but I've caught myself looking at her photo a lot in the past few weeks, and talking to her again. I haven't done that in a long while.

Did I tell you about the painting I saw at Kirstenbosch recently? There's a permanent art display near the nursery up at the top gate, with rotating art by local artists. G and I decided to go and see it while we were there recently. While there, I saw a lovely little painting of 3 blonde kids playing in the surf: two girls with a little boy. Their ages looked correct for Janel, Zoe and Nathan as they would be at the moment. It's a fairly simple painting, but it captured my heart. Maybe that's why she's been in my thoughts so much of late... I've promised myself that if we have enough money left over after our current renovations & G's op & a few other essentials, that I'll go back to see whether it's still there, and if it is, I'll buy it.

But getting back to Mother's Day. The sermon on Sunday morning was on.. wait for it... "Is God in control?". I know, not the sort of topic you would expect for Mother's day, but there you go. Given the place my heart is in right now, it was a timeous topic. This is one of the things I have always struggled with since Zoe's death. Why didn't God save her? Was it because he wasn't able to, didn't care enough to, or was there some other reason? I've come to accept that it's the 3rd - that there was another reason for her death. However, this sermon really helped me to firm up that foundation, to remind me of how I can know that God IS always in control, and that he continues to care, but that his purposes & plans are bigger than me and my little life. It was one of the best sermons I've heard in a long time - and I wound up in tears. (Now doesn't that sound familiar????) I'd recommend you listen to it. (Click this link to download it from the church's website.)

Then, my mom and I had such a fabulous talk - HOURS long - about all sorts of things, both trivial and meaningful. We haven't had an opportunity to talk like that in a very, very long time. I've missed it. It was so awesome to connect with her again.

All this following on from pancakes in bed for breakfast (my man is the BEST!) and special pictures from my kids made this Mother's Day a special one to remember.