Laughing at the Days to Come

8:47 AMHeather

Here we are. My last day in my 30's. Honestly, in my own mind, I'm stuck at about 20 or so. So, I don't care about the number. But, I am amazed at how quickly time has flown. And, I am amazed at how young 40 REALLY is? Because when I was my kids' age, it seemed so old.

So, now that each of you know me better than I know myself, I will finish sharing my life story and bearing my soul. Oh, wait--I won't really finish that today because y'all know that every day on this blog I do that. But, I WILL wrap up the Top 40!

33. Surrendering to God's will ALWAYS means blessing. So many times in my life, I think God has challenged me to give up my agenda for whatever His perfect will was. When I was so eager to go ahead and get married, I felt this challenge in my spirit. "Okay, Heather--what if you went ahead and got married but I had a more perfect time--which would you want?" Hmm...even my stubborn self knew that PERFECT was better than my thoughts. And, the most vivid lesson here was when we were pregnant with our Collin. We'd already had one miscarriage and then it took what felt like a long time to get pregnant. And, I worked with infertile couples. So, I was already SURE we would have infertility. But, alas--I was pregnant! My doctor wanted to run blood work to check my hormone levels. While I was at work one morning, the nurse called to announce that my HCG levels were too low to support the pregnancy and another miscarriage was imminent. In a fog, I drove back to the midcities, repeated the bloodwork, and waited at home for Chris. I cried buckets, and then called my sister. And, she so wisely said, "You have to surrender this baby to God no matter what may happen. This child is His first." Chris and I sat back, prayed, and continued waiting for the call with the blood work results. I let go and decided I'd trust Him. In the peace He gave me, I fell asleep. The phone woke me with a baffled nurse on the other end. She said, "I don't know WHAT happened, but your HCG has tripled in 2 days instead of just doubling. All looks good now." I told her I knew what happened--GOD! Sometimes when you surrender, He allows you even more than you'd wanted. And, sometimes His plan is far different. But, either way--submitting to His plan brings blessing.

34. Don't pray too small. For anyone who has taken BSF, you know the meaning behind what I am about to say. I started BSF the year it was the Minor Prophets. WHAT on earth? The homework would be reading 3 books in one day. But, the next year was much more manageable and I was glad I pressed on. And, the biggest lesson I learned was to pray Ephesians 3:20--"He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine." My BSF leader told the story of writing out the things she wished for in a new house. Then, she said she prayed that the Lord would give her immeasurably more than she could imagine. She challenged us to approach God, not as a genie or Santa Claus, but in a reverent attitude that God can do even more than we imagine. Don't box Him in. So, as we looked for a house, I prayed that God would do more than we could ask or imagine. Our first house had even more than I could imagine. Then, I prayed this for a new job when I reached burn-out. Guess what? Working for an agency that was 115 years old, I found that they were created a never-before position--and I got to work from home full-time, setting all my own hours. Yep, don't pray too small.

35. Friends--those around you need you to BE REAL!!! I was so overconfident as a new mom it was pathetic. I had given discharge orders to new adoptive parents for four years. But it only took until the first feeding at home to realize how very wrong I was in my assumption that I had a single clue what I was doing. It didn't help that every phone call or visitor went on and on about how fun and wonderful it was to have a new baby. Honestly, I was sore and hurting, I was exhausted, and I was emotionally overwhelmed. I just knew I was missing something. Until one friend called and asked if I felt like I was babysitting and in over my head. Alas! Someone I could relate to. Moms especially--please be real with each other about your struggles. We need to know we are not alone in the ups AND downs of life.

36. God is our instruction manual. I find it laughable to remember how overwhelmed I felt with my first baby. Because after having three, I realize HE was my easy one! But, the newness of it all was just so hard. I've told this story before on this blog, but bear with me. My sister came to help my first week with Collin. One night I was crying about what to do! I mean, the baby was crying. She gently said, "Um, Heather, babies cry." The next morning she gave me this verse, which is one of my FAVORITE Mommy verses: He gently leads those who have young. Isaiah 40:11. She said that I am writing the instruction manual for this baby one day at a time, and God is the one who made him. I just need to call on Him when I need help. I have prayed that a million times since--"Oh, Lord, you made this child. Please help me know what to do!"

37. He makes all things new. The Lord has done so much in my adulthood to redeem my old wounds, heal up my hurting places, and do new things for me. He has unraveled strongholds like fear and anxiety. He has given me peace where chaos existed. And He continues to show me where I need Him to step in and work in me and my attitude. He has shown me that unlike some who have disappointed me in my life--He is FOR ME! That is huge. To remember that even if others let me down or don't root for me like I'd want--He is FOR me! He has my back and He wants to make all things new and continually do NEW things for me.

38. I am a work in progress. Having grace on my shortcomings is one of my biggest challenges in life. I am a recovering perfectionist. I like to accomplish things--it makes me feel significant and worthwhile. I plow through a task until it is done--even if that means staying up late or skipping a meal. Not a huge fan of the idea that this side of heaven, I will never be who I want to be. But, I am coming to grips with it slowly. And I think I've even begun to embrace the fact that God will complete the work He's begun in me--when I get home to Him. I am learning, ever so slowly, to have grace on myself. It helps to look back and realize how far God has brought me. That gives me hope that although I may continually lose my patience with my kids or not seize opportunities to be obedient--God still loves me! And, in the last six weeks--if all I accomplish in a day is to rest in Him, then it has been a productive day indeed.

39. There is no such thing as "I'm JUST a mom." I have clung to the fact that I still do contract work to complete adoption home studies. That little shred of a career, albeit extremely part-time, has been my facade to the truth. My job is being a mom. Somehow, I have wrestled with this because my perception is that I'm JUST a mom. On those rare occasions that I am in a new social circle, it somehow hasn't felt very significant to say that I spend hours a day fixing food and cleaning up and negotiating world peace. But God has been working to help me understand that being a mom is kingdom work. No matter what society says or what lies the enemy feeds me, being a mom is the most important ministry I can ever accomplish with my life. I don't always do it well, but it is the best use of my time and energies. To shape this next generation through my three darlings. To invest in them and to rebuild old broken walls in our heritage. To leave a legacy. I am their world. I have great influence. So, I have decided that I will proudly proclaim that I am a domestic engineer. I can go buy the bacon with a coupon and fry it up in a pan!

40. Bloom where God has planted me. I have a big imagination, so I can always dream up things I might accomplish in life or new ideas for how to spend my time. I can waste lots of time picturing what COULD be. But, God wants me to bloom right where he's planted me. He wants me to consider those in my life and how I am ministering to them. That is my job--that is my call. I will probably never be a missionary in Africa (never say never however). I will probably never have a book on the New York Times bestseller list. And I will never be a household name drawing crowds at speaking engagements. But, God can use me in the lives of my friends and family. I can write a blog read by tens of people a day. I can obediently speak to a MOPS group or two. I can seek out ways to use my talents and time for His glory in the very places where's planted me.

INTENTIONAL challenge: So tomorrow I will be 40 and fabulous. Fabulous not because of how I look or what I accomplish. But fabulous because God has shaped and molded me and faithfully continues to work in me. Fabulous because I am a daughter of the King of Kings. Fabulous because my Heavenly Father is my Abba Father. Fabulous because He ain't finished with me yet--and I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds. Back in my loathing the Proverbs 31 woman days, I got stuck on verse 25: She laughs at the days to come. At that time, I couldn't imagine that--I just felt anxious about what might happen next. So I began to pray for that kind of hope and happy expectation. I can honestly say that today, I can laugh at the days to come. What adventures might await me? What about you? Can you laugh at the days to come? Remember that the God of the Universe holds them in His hands--and He holds you.

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