7. Where you are in your life vs. where you thought you would be at this point.
When I thought about it as a teenager, where I thought I would be is in Tennessee with my UT-educated husband, cheering on the Vols with our six little blonde boys in our little yellow house in a quiet neighborhood tucked deep in the Appalachian Mountains, attending the church I grew up in, and having the folks over on Sunday. A sappy sweet dream, really.
When I found myself in love with a man at 22, I thought that by now I would be married with three or four children and stay at home while he worked, and we would spend time with the same friends we had had in high school.
When my life disintegrated soon after and everything as I knew it was taken away and I learned some hard and fast truths and sailed away (literally), I thought that by now I would be married to a missionary and living in the deeps of some far-flung region in a tent, always with a few kids of our own and a few we had adopted along the way, sharing Christ’s love as full and deep as we could every single day.
I have always wanted to be a wife and a mother. Always. I cannot remember a time that I didn’t want that for my life. As an adult, I have cultivated practices that would minister to a family with love. I long for it. Sometimes I ache for it. The dream still eludes me.
That said, where I am is exactly where I am supposed to be. It might be my forever, and it might not. I do not have the adventurous fellow, or the children (preferably sons, Lord, if you are reading this!), or the little house, and my fractured family lives miles and miles away – much too far and much too scattered for family dinners. But I have more love in my life than I ever imagined. And more beauty around me than I could have dreamed up.
I have met amazing people to whom I would still be a stranger if it were not for the fact that I am single. I have had the privilege of holding the hands of people at every hour of the day or night to simply listen to them. I have laid down on floors to make a family feel safer. I have held so many babies who did not belong to me in an effort to give tired mamas a break or to soothe a neglected little one. I have cried over loss and loved ones and broken hearts, and I have laughed uproariously with those who have found freedom from the bondage of their own hearts. I have enough adventures and stories in me for a lifetime, and I hunger for many many more. I have learned much about love and how to love well in these past seven years. I have failed, and I have succeeded, at this. These are not boasts but, rather, examples of how the Lord has let me live my ordinary instead of my dreams. Where I am is grateful. I wallow in it, I drink it up, I dance in its welcoming arms, I relish the moments where it seems like nothing extraordinary is happening because that is exactly when something extraordinary IS happening. Where I am is grateful. ‘Tis a good place.