Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)
TITLE: This is my life.
By Tanya Dennis
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There were several things I promised myself in college. In addition to living without regrets, I promised myself that I would never be domestic. I would never be one of those middle-aged suburban women with decade-specific style who look forward to Tupperware parties.
Now, look at me: I am the very definition of domestic. I am thirty, a wife and stay-at-home-mom to two; living in a safe suburb. I have a mortgage and a minivan. My last night-out was to a Pampered Chef party. Boy, was I excited to go to that! I spend my days planning healthy meals, cleaning house, and evaluating my kids' activities and TV shows. What has happened to me?! This is not the life I was meant to live.
I am supposed to be living in some third-world country feeding the poor and building homes. I am supposed to be working with an effective church-planting mission; inspiring Christians back in the States. My husband is supposed to be a powerful teacher – not a computer geek working for Wall Street. We are supposed to be leaving our mark on the world. Instead I am cleaning crayon marks off the wall.
Getting a minivan was the personification of surrender. Not the peaceful surrender one experiences from submitting to a loving husband or wise and merciful God. No, this was a last-ditch surrender: the reluctant retreat after screaming and fighting and finally raising the flag of defeat. Yes, with two car seats and frequent visits from distant relatives, we need the space. And, yes, the DVD player is great for those long road trips planned. It really is a wonderful car, and an extremely practical choice. But it is still a minivan. All those dreams of changing the world are now forever just that: dreams. How can I change the world in this? It simply screams “un-cool” and “mediocre”. If anything, my purpose is to be extraordinary! There is no way to be that in a minivan.
Okay. Deep breath. Who is really in charge here? God is the creator of all things. He is mighty and powerful and perfect. He knows what He is doing. He is bringing to completion His “plans formed long ago with perfect faithfulness” (Isaiah 25:1, NAS). That is His promise – is it not? How can I doubt that?
Sunrise. Sunset. Another day in our home. I wake up early and feed the kids. We watch a cartoon during breakfast then run outside to play. I chase Ellie around in circles and tickle Zach until he can’t take it anymore. Naptime. Laundry time. Snack time. A trip to the park and an hour of reading the same books – books I’ve had memorized since the first thousand reads. Finally, Daddy comes home. I have an adult to talk to! But only after we have dinner and play a little longer. Bath time. Bed time. This is my life.
Today Ellie came to me holding her doll. “Baby sick,” she said.
“Oh, I’m sorry. What should we do? Do you want some medicine?”
“No, Mama. Let’s pray! Baby better.” Was that my two-year-old? I am blown away. Not only is her first instinct to pray, but she firmly believes that God, her Creator can and will heal her baby.
A little later she comes to me again, this time with a big hug. She explains to me that Zach is her brother. “Thank you, Mama, Zach! Thank you my brother!”
How can I describe this life as anything less than extraordinary? How can I question my purpose when these miracles assault me every moment of every day? Motherhood is an overwhelming responsibility. An intimidating honor. Yes, I am just a stay-at-home mom, but my charge is enormous. God has made me steward of two wonder-packed creations -- to teach, mold, and guide. What an awesome task!
I am changing the world. Perhaps not in a grand, widely-visible way. My name will never be in the ranks of Elisabeth Elliott or Amy Carmichael, but my purpose is no less significant. I am changing the world one tiny soul at a time. How extraordinary.
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