When I was little, my mom kept these little books of each year of my life. And on the front of each one, it had my picture, age, height, weight, etc. It also had a space for me to fill in the answer to what I wanted to be when I grew up. It’s funny to look at the books, because my answer to the question didn’t vary much. In fact, for my 12 years of school, there were only 3 different answers: mommy, lawyer/judge, missionary – all in that order. I actually hadn’t thought of those books in a long time, but recently, those responses have been coming to mind as they are still my heart’s desire. Through all the seasons of my life and all the things that have come and gone, I still have the heart of the little girl who wrote those answers down. And lately, I’ve been feeling that heart again.
As I think back to the little me that was, I remember thinking that the mommy answer was a given as I assumed that someday I would be a mom. I knew that motherhood was for me and that I’d be a good mom, but I also knew that I wouldn’t just be a mom. Hence the reason for the other answers. The lawyer/judge idea seemed random, but really wasn’t. I’ve always had a heart for justice, and I think what I meant by lawyer/judge was really advocate. My heart was/is to be an advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves. My heart has always been for the teenage mom, the orphan child, the abused/neglected wife, the person who has no one to come alongside of them to cheer them up and to encourage them. That group now includes the pastor’s wife, the missionary kid, the nerd at school, the foreigner, the dreamer, etc. And last but not least, I wrote the missionary answer down when I was about 10 or 11 years old, and I stuck with that one for the rest of my school years as I knew that I knew that missions was me. It was what I wanted to do.
And I as look back over the decisions that I made during college and after, I kick myself for not leaving high school and going straight into YWAM or some sort of missions training. I always thought I’d have time for that later. I thought it would be better to get a tool or a trade that would make me useful on the mission field. So I pursued teaching. Yet through various twists and turns, many, many trips overseas, and even many offers to come and join this mission group, this missionary, this endeavor in that country, I just never made it. I don’t know why or what happened. I can’t go back and sort through my heart and head during that time of life. So finally, when I decided to pursue it again, I headed for Fuller Theological Seminary. And I took a class where we had to chart our journeys and work through every situation, every word that had been given to us, every encouragement, every twist and turn in life. I never did come to a conclusion after that long, heart-wrenching, 50 page project. Again, I thought that I would sit down with it and work back through it. And then I met Mark, got married, and moved to England. And my laptop was stolen, along with my life’s history. So I was never able to work through it again like I had planned . . .
And oh, how I have mourned and mourned over my loss. Still, 3 years later, I mourn over my past, over my memories that I can’t recreate and that are now foggy. I mourn over that paper that was supposed to have given me some sort of guidance, and I’ve repeatedly asked God why?
This past Sunday while listening to my dad preach, I heard him say how we are to stop looking back. He referred to Paul who wrote in the Epistles that he presses on; he’s not looking back. He’s looking forward. He’s moving forward. I haven’t moved. I’ve been holding on to memories, to would have, should have, could have beens. And all the while, I’m aging, and life is moving on. My kids are growing by the day, my life is passing me by, and every day is one more closer to Jesus’ return. Yet I sit and dream. I dream of holding African babies who’ve lost their moms. I dream of the beggars in Paris who just need a break and a hand out. I can smell Papua New Guinea and the other places I’ve been as I can feel my heart wanting to be there. Yet I’m not there. I’m in Longmont, CO working as a part-time accountant/full-time mom. And I’ve mourned that as I haven’t wanted to be here.
I haven’t wanted to be here . . . how many times as God heard me whine that? 🙂 How I’ve sat in self-pity and whined. And how He’s answered . . . .