July 9, 2012

Missing Life

At the risk of making you incredibly jealous and ruining your perfectly good afternoon, I'm going to tell you what I did last week: whatever I wanted to, whenever I wanted to do it.
You see, my angel of a mother-in-law invited the kids to Texas for Cousin Camp at my angel of a sister-in-law's house for the week, which left my husband and I here, at home with no children. I could barely contain my excitement as I saw them off, envisioning a peace-filled week of being with my husband, leisurely reading, painting the front door and the ugly wallpapered-bathroom, and being a tourist in our own town. With a little strategery, we also kept the week free of any ministry commitments outside of our annual July 4th outreach event, which left time for coffee over newspapers, birthday celebrating (my husband's), tennis matches, and strolls on the Downtown Mall. A staycation indeed.

We've never done anything like this before and, to be honest dear reader, I loved every second of it. It was a weird sensation to clean up the house at the beginning of the week and find it still intact at the end of the week. It was also a weird sensation to be out moseying around at 9 pm with no urgency to get back to relieve the babysitter or get in bed in preparation for an early morning with the kids.

But there was something else, something else I secretly hoped to experience by stepping out of my normal life for a week.

I missed my life.

I missed my children, thinking often of the form of their hands and feet, or the way their voices sound through the house, or the way their arms feel around me. I missed having conversations with them and marveling at their thoughts and quirks. I missed playing games with them and seeing their little minds whirling in action. I missed reading with them, desperate with my 9-year-old to find out what happens next to Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I missed our little routine. It was weird to be me for a week without being their mom too.

I also missed interacting with people, both friends and ministry relationships. I loved having my husband all to my self, but I missed having people in our home for community group or meeting someone for coffee or a playdate. I missed getting to use my gifts and felt unusually dull by the end of the week, not having had to depend on the Spirit to lead, host, or counsel.

The funny thing is that I often spend mental space dreaming of the week I just had. If only I could spend a day doing whatever I want, not hindered by the kid's schedule, Kyle's work, or the needs of others. That would make me happy.

Don't get me wrong, it was wonderful. But I realized that what truly makes me happy is living the life that God has given me. I'm thankful for this life, the one where nothing stays clean and where the calendar looks as if it might literally explode. I'm thankful because this life is sanctifying me and satisfying and fruit-bearing. Sometimes we need rest or a break from real life, and I received that gift last week, but that pretend life that I lived could not be sustained for long. While easy and fun, it produced in me, I noticed, a bent toward selfishness and a feeling of wasting away.

I missed my life. And I love my life.

From a traveler who went away from real life on a staycation, I am happy to return and report to those deep in crushed Cheerios and potty training and church planting and endless responsibilities, that the life we've been given by God, no matter how difficult and burdensome it may be sometimes, is producing in us and our families something brilliant, something wonderful, something completely worth it all.

Please, dear sister, find the blessing in it all. 

Don't miss your life.