From my journal, September 15, 2016:
…show me what are the things that You have for me. What are my things to do in Your kingdom? Help me to focus on the next step, the next thing, in front of me.
My hubby and I were just preparing to take a huge step of faith regarding adoption. We had sensed the Spirit gently nudging us in this direction.
And yet, on a personal front, I was feeling torn in a million different directions. As a stay-at-home wife and former teacher who now worked part-time from home, I was struggling with my purpose in life. I know, I know, it all sounds very 17-going-on-mid-life. I had taught for 10 years, at home and abroad, and loved it…until I found myself becoming jaded with the teaching profession in the States. I LOVED living and teaching in China, but God had closed the door to that season in my life. I had a Master’s degree in Intercultural Studies (fancy name for missions), but found myself working a short stint at a coffee shop in the rural Mississippi town where my husband and I lived. Who needs a Master’s degree to work in a coffee shop? Although an argument could be made for missions in rural Mississippi…
In short, all the work that I had found fulfilling for the past 10 years – teaching, living life overseas – was gone. What was my calling now?
Now, I knew that my calling as a wife was unquestionably number one; that was given. I hit the jackpot with my man. And I do mean JACK-POT. Being J’s wife is the best dang job in the world, and if that’s all I ever do, I am a blessed woman. Truly. Marriage is a great adventure, a beautiful picture of God’s heart for us. But my heart was also itching for another side of the adventure, something I could pour myself into that was even bigger than just J and I.
So I was searching.
You know what happens when you start looking for something to pour yourself into? Everything starts looking like a good opportunity. Everything. And I wanted to say yes to it all – blogging, pursuing adoption, counseling, starting a crisis pregnancy ministry (I know, what?? because I obvs know ALL about being pregnant…), being part of about 10 different ministries within our church.
Except I knew that doing it all wasn’t the answer. Which was evident in my journal entry above. So, gradually, I slowed down my doing and started listening. Started asking God to help me find my satisfaction in Him alone, not in my completed to-do list or in my work. Started listening to the things He put on my heart, the desires He had given me.
Then one day, I ran across this verse in Isaiah 58:10.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
YES. That was the same whisper we’d heard in our hearts nudging us toward this adoption. I needed to pay attention here.
You know when you hear the same thing several different ways? A Spirit-whisper here, a heart tug there, a Bible verse now, a song then? Pay attention. God’s most likely trying to catch your ear.
And then a third whisper, this time while I was reading a blog, either Crystal Stine’s or Jen Hatmaker’s, I don’t remember which one. She mentioned this company called Noonday Collection and was gushing over their jewelry. Heaven knows I love me some good funky jewelry, so I clicked on the link, and it was all the heart eyes at first sight. Everything was fair trade, made by artisans in other countries, and my hippy, multicultural heart was oh so happy. But that wasn’t when I heard the third whisper.
It was when I clicked over to read the mission behind Noonday. Turned out, it was started by a woman named Jessica Honegger when she and her husband were raising funds to adopt their son from Rwanda.
*Pay attention here, Lauren*
And the inspiration behind the name – Noonday Collection?
Isaiah 58:10. The very one.
*There’s something here for you. Something bigger than just jewelry, bigger than you.*
So… because, like Jessica, we would also be needing to raise all the funds possible for this adoption, I took a second step. I listened to those little whispers, stopped stressing about doing it all, and chose one thing. I signed up to work with Noonday as an ambassador.
Tomorrow – my hubby’s reaction to my new job.