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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: This is my life.
By Tanya Dennis


“Alright, all I need now are your keys.” Slowly, reluctantly I handed the keys to my husband. The keys to my sweet SUV. I loved that car. As I watched my husband drive away with it, I started to cry. More than that. I was sobbing. We were trading in our hip little Honda for a monstrosity: a minivan.

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.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Kissinger06/01/06
You have expressed this so well, I couldn't have said it better and I have lived it already...good news the kids turn out great and they pick up the batton of purpose from us. Well written, well said.
Sherry Wendling06/01/06
Absolutely inspiring! Are you a columnist? I wish I could pick up a magazine and read you every day/week! I never had the joy of my own children, but I have had to learn to love what He does with me in the little 'dailies' that add up to faithfulness. Thanks so much for this.
Edy T Johnson 06/07/06
"We are supposed to be leaving our mark on the world. Instead I am cleaning crayon marks off the wall."

I just love this to the point of weeping! This is a masterpiece of writing, and you get your message across in the sweetest way: through the voice of your little one! I'm reminded of a "saying" floating around that goes something like, "I may not be somebody to the world, but I am the world to somebody!"

This entry is a good attitude adjuster and it goes in my favorites. Thanks so much!
Jessica Schmit06/08/06
Great work and congrats!!!!!
Janice Giesbrecht06/08/06
Wonderful encouragement and affirmation for stay-at-home Moms. Thank you! And congratulations!
Edy T Johnson 06/08/06
Congratulations, Tanya! A winner on your first entry---that is impressive! I'm so glad for you, and for letting us in on your story. Welcome to Faithwriters, too.
Millicent Pat-Nwaoyo06/21/06
You are a jewel! God bless you always
Millicent Pat-Nwaoyo06/21/06
You are a jewel! God bless you always
Deborah Porter 07/04/06
Tanya, I loved this when I read it for the first time in the Challenge, and I love it just as much now. It is a message that so many people need to hear--not just women. The last paragraph says it all.

Because it is such an excellent piece of encouragement, I want to see it reach more readers than it was able to in the Challenge. So, with that in mind, would you be willing for us to use it as our Front Page feature in the September Issue of FaithWriters' Magazine (www.faithwritersmagazine.com)? Could you send me a private message to let me know if that would be all right with you. If it is, then I will also need a short bio note to include with your poem. You can find examples of other bio notes in this month's Issue.

Hope to hear from you soon. With love, Deb (Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine and Challenge Coordinator)