Monday, May 18, 2009

When I Grow Up...

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" That's a fairly common question when you are a child, or when you converse with a little one. My oldest daughter will be graduating from high school in just a few weeks and she is getting a bit tired of the question, "What are your plans after graduation?" Like me at that age, she wasn't so sure what she was going to do for certain after high school and that can leave one feeling a bit unsure; sort of like your letting circumstances dictate your life rather than having a decisive vision of your future.

Fortunately, she can now answer that question with relative confidence. She will be going into mission work; combining her love for the Lord with her love for horses in Wyoming. I couldn't be more thrilled for her to go out and fulfill the great commission and do something she loves! I wish I had more of a surety of God's direction at that age!

But, God is good and He is faithful and I just walked forward in the light I had at the time. Which is perfectly where God wanted me to be, though I didn't always know it. I haven't any doubt that I married the right man for me or in any way did any sort of disservice to the Lord by starting a family and being a stay at home mom. I regret none of that. I know the Lord was right there with me through all of that as we raised our children in a way that honors Him.

However, my youngest is now 10. I can see the end of the road as a home schooling mom. Seven more years and I am retired! Or, out of job...depends on how you look at it. Either way, that time is going to zoom by, just as it has with my oldest. Either way, I am going to be one bored individual if I don't have something on the horizon to do with myself!

Thankfully, being a mom stretches you in ways you never thought possible. Causes you to do things you never dreamed you would be doing (picking nits? playing in the rain? enduring someone learning an instrument? cleaning up--what is that? learning to bake homemade bread??? me???) yes me...and I would bet you too! It's all good, isn't it? But, then what? Sure are a lot of question marks in this paragraph...and often in my life.

During this time of stretching, one thing the kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing together is reading books (might I suggest the Gregor series?). That is, I read, they listen and beg for more. All of this to the peril of school work because I get into the books at least as much as they do! In fact, I have had so many ideas spring from books we have enjoyed and life's events that I have started to write books myself. I have discovered that I have a love for words, for writing, for story telling and also illustrating.

I have discovered what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be an author. Not bad after almost 40 years, eh? So, my plan is to take college classes, a few each year, over the next seven that are left with my youngest, and actually have something beyond being a Barrista at Starbucks as a career option for myself! This was a scary decision, in some ways to come to. Sort of late to do something like this, my fear-of-failure side would remind me.

I wasn't sure how my husband would feel about putting ME through college when we have a bunch of kids that are likely headed that way; but he was wonderfully supportive. I told him I was having a special kind of mid-life crisis-- a loss of identity sort of thing-- when I view my future as an empty-nester, and he totally understood. He was a bit disappointed, I think, with me not being a Barrista and all; he was hoping for some free coffee.

Okay, so, how about you? Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Is it too late to contemplate that question? I think not. It is never too late. Perhaps in another blog I will explain how I probably have no business teaching ballet because I didn't begin dancing until I was an adult. Yet I am really enjoying using this gift to teach kids to worship.When I look at someone like Helen Keller and see all that someone with her challenges was able to achieve, I have to chide myself for being a big lazy scared-y cat! Get a hold of a biography of her and then see if you don't believe that God has gifted you with many things to accomplish. I am not just referring to career-oriented gifts; we can all use our talents in many ways, we just must submit them to the Lord, in all of our ways "acknowledge Him", and see where he takes us as we mature.

I once heard a preacher say, "pray you grow up, before you grow old." How true that is on so many levels. When I heard that, I thought I was grown up (all of 18 years old that I was). Now, I really can appreciate how long that process takes. It has taken my kids growing up, physically at least, to make me take a hard look at what God wants me to do as a grown up walking in a new phase of life. Where is He leading you?

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.