This is how grateful I am.

Friends, consider this Part II of how I know God loves me. I’m going to share the three major ways in the past three weeks that prayers have been answered in my life over and above what I could have imagined. This is Thankful Tuesday at its most giddy.

1.     Three (or was it four?) weeks ago in the midst of my most self-pitying weeks of pregnancy nausea, I had an in-bed tearfest to Chris about much I miss ministry. Though I always miss the high school kids I worked with, I most missed being part of the lives of the volunteer leaders I mentored. Most of them were in college or just out, most were struggling through dating relationships and quarter-life angst, and most of the girls I met with were people I just wanted to be friends with. I miss long coffee chats. I miss challenging them, teaching them, and sharing my life with them.

If I’m recalling correctly, my tears that night were something along the lines of: how can I ever get to know younger women again when I’m stuck in Mom World? And even if I did meet them, I can’t really invest in their lives. I’d have to demand they come to me. That night when the weeping subsided I think I asked God to show me what I can do to serve. I don’t want my life to become so obsessed with my own children that I fail to see the need around me. I was asking God for some sort of opportunity I couldn’t name.

A few days later I got the most random sort of email from a girl I’d met through a Young Life friend (she’s a leader here in SF) and whom I’d run into every once in a while at church. She, on behalf of her Bible study group of twenty something single women from my church was asking me to teach them, based on reading my blog. (What?! Seriously, you all know what a spiritual mess I appear to be in this thing.) It was miraculous. And I love these girls. And so far, they don’t hate me. But I think it’s because I keep feeding them chocolate. I’m so grateful to have the chance to teach them.

2.     Around the same time, I had a conversation with a mentor and friend from Philadelphia. She’s one of the smartest women I’ve ever known, a physicist and professor at Swarthmore who, along with her gifted husband, is raising her two incredibly talented children (her daughter’s poems are stunning) and living a beautiful life of faith in Jesus. I admire her so much.

Catherine wanted to know how my writing was going. She knows I’m trying to write a book and she wanted to know if I was actually giving myself time to write or simply setting unrealistic expectations and then feeling guilty. Basically, I was doing the latter, trying to write during naptime but feeling forced to spend half of that time doing dishes or checking tasks off a list. Not the most fruitful way to write a book.

Her advice to me was significant. If I really believe God is calling me to write this book at this point in my life, she said, then I need to find a way to have child care. I knew she was right but our budget had no room left for August do more than go to his art preschool program one morning a week.

Did I even pray about this or just feel bummed? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter though. Enter miraculous email number 2. This one was from the SF Young Life Metro Director. He asked me to consider doing ten hours worth of admin work per week (from home!) and it just so happens that I already know how to do all of it. The money I’ll make is enough to get my boy to school three mornings a week, time that I’ll devote to writing. Answer to an unprayed prayer? Yes. A beautiful answer. I will love working with Young Life again, even if it means doing administration.

3.     We found a home. Not just an adequate home that we could afford. We somehow found a home we should not be able to afford. It’s that lovely. It has all the things I longed for: It’s in the city. It has parking. It has a washer/dryer. It has a big enough second room for a two year old and a baby. But, then, it goes over and above. Bay windows with sunshine streaming in. A bathtub I’ve dreamed about. Carpet on the floor in August’s room that he can play on all day long. A stove that my husband can’t stop smiling when he thinks about. Four blocks from our church. And, I’d had no idea: one block from the Young Life office. How did I not know where the YL office was? I don’t know. But, I have to believe that God lined up every detail for us, even down to how easy it’s going to be for August and I to stop by the office and get work done.

I don’t understand how God works. I don’t understand how he can be involved in the most minor of details in my life and still allow another woman and her children to sleep in the open on the streets. In fact, that is a problem I cannot reconcile. But, what I can say is that I believe God loves me and I believe he wants me to know he’s willing to not only meet my specific needs, but to lavish sweet things on me.

When I watched Chris’ face as he saw the stove in our new kitchen for the first time this Saturday, I understood how God must find such joy in giving us good gifts. There are plenty of things I don’t deserve and I don’t understand. But, right now, I’m so thankful that I’ve been given so much.


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11 Responses to This is how grateful I am.

  1. CAQ

    Okay, I think you need to write a book. You know that on your own. I am always willing to read pages…just scribble. Just start scribbling. (I am writing this as if I am wise.)

    I am sooo glad you found a new place! I knew it would happen-but the search is so stressful, and you are claro juggling so many things right now. I renewed my lease on my not-awesome apt this summer because moving is so annoying-and I was mired in the nausea fest (not pregnant). I am so glad so many things cohered for you at the same time.

    Right now I wish I could sleep but I am still grateful: for my photography project and writing in general, for the fact that my Dad is seeing his girlfriend from law school (go Dad!), and for the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (well it’s a law but that’s what it’s called). I am a grateful that when my mother emailed me two days ago for the first time in years, I dealt with it. Okay I wish I could sleep, but I am dealing with it. In not-unhealthy ways.

    I am grateful I get to go to NYC next month and hopefully see some humans.

    I am grateful for your posts. I know I am the childless agnostic commentor on this blog, but I love them.

    If I can ever eat again and make my way to the Left Coast, Chris better cook me something on that stove. Tell him I said so.


  2. Lauren O'C

    O the blessings! I love that even as you are being grateful, you temper it with remembering others and being puzzled - but then end with great joy. Congratulations on finding your new home!! And hooray for wise counsel, serendipitous interventions, and spirituality-and-chocolate-hungry twenty-somethings.

    For me, I am thankful for:
    1) My husband’s chocolate-chocolate chip cookies.
    2) That my older boy has a playdate today
    3) The time (truly miraculous that it keeps appearing) and the motivation to write this essay I’m tinkering with. Now, just need the courage to submit come Friday!!
    4) A relatively easy over-night call
    5) Many other things my post-call brain can’t quite translate to actual thoughts…

    Thank you for your thoughtful (and well-written) sharing.

  3. Yippee! I bet you’ll be close to me when you move…thanks for your encouraging testimony to God’s abundant faithfulness.

  4. I’m just so happy for you guys! Your new place sounds amazing.

  5. Ok, so I knew about the new place because you guys told me about it on Sunday… but wow, it sounds perfect. I’m grateful with you both today.

  6. Christina

    I haven’t been feeling especially thankful today after an afternoon cryfest (kids, not me) but here it goes:
    1. Community - christian and not
    2. Work - not just for the money, but I’m thankful to know a trade and I’m thankful to have plenty of work even though I am in a luxury field and I’m thankful that I can usually control that one large part of my day. That’s probably a wrong reason to like work but it’s true.
    3. The hubby - cheesy, I know, but he sure does a lot around here.

    Glad to hear about everything going on with you. Of course, I heard about the stove. Several times.

  7. As always, I love hearing your thankfuls. Thanks so much for sharing our excitement about our new place!

  8. I always enjoy your posts. Ten years ago I remember feeling a huge sense of loss about having to give up volunteer youth ministry at church because my own children, an infant and a toddler, needed more attention. I was banished to the Cradle Roll room of the church where I had never wanted to go, and I mourned the loss of my teenagers.

    Now, with a ten-year-old and twelve-year-old half grown-up and in school, not only do I have a day job teaching young people far more challenging and exciting than I ever could have imagined, but at church, as I continue to teach my kids and their friends, I realize I am moving back into youth ministry. It’s hard sometimes to look at your own life in terms of cycles and seasons but things really do come round. Blessings to you in your move.

  9. Pingback: Thankful Tuesday: Contentment | mama:monk

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