It’s hard to believe, but in a few days it will be one year since we moved back to California! To mark the occasion, I’m using this week’s post to share a little about what we’re up to, but I thought I’d do that framed by the always-great-to-ask-or-be-asked question in this post’s title.
So what is God teaching me right now? The short answers are patience and contentment, two things I continually struggle with time and time again.
It’s not that there’s something I desperately want that’s not materializing. Life is great right now, it truly is. But my heart is fickle and selfish and there are many areas where God is teaching me to grow in patience as we move forward a step at a time. Here are three.
The first is in Michael’s job, and by extension, our living situation. I should say first that there is much to be thankful for here. We moved back with a job already lined up, and when Michael was unexpectedly laid off at the end of January, God provided his next and current job the same day he was laid off! He’s working for an HVAC and refrigeration company and enjoys his work a lot. The downside is that this job is part of an apprenticeship program in which he’ll have to take classes two nights a week in downtown LA for the next four to five years. The payoff at the end will be worth it, but we didn’t anticipate him having to do more school or having to work a couple years just to work back up to the salary he was making in Houston. Then there’s the additional downer that he won’t get to see Nora at all two days a week now for most of the year. But in the grand scheme of things, we know these are minor, first-world annoyances. So God has been teaching us to be grateful and content with what He’s provided, and to relinquish our expectations for our financial and housing situations, always a tough thing to do. It’s definitely been a test for me to live open-handedly, trusting God and His timing for everything, and to grow in encouraging and supporting Michael through the disappointments of his work.
God has also taught me an avalanche of lessons about patience over the last 16 months through raising Nora. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the reasons for that statement. Babies are cute and wonderful but they also hard, hard work. But from about nine months on through the present, I’ve felt more and more comfortable with my role as a full-time mother (a role I am incredibly grateful for with not having to work), and Nora has gotten easier and more fun as time rolls on. Still, I am impatient for her to get older. I know, I know. I’m supposed to “cherish every moment” and not wish for it to go faster because it will and then I’ll miss it and be depressed forever…or something like that. That may be the case for most people, but honestly I don’t think it will be for me. I have accepted that I am just plain not a “baby person.” I can’t wait until Nora can express herself in words, be potty trained, and be generally more self-sufficient. Don’t get me wrong, she brings so much joy to my life and I do take time in little ways to just stop, stare at her cute face in complete gratitude to God, and enjoy her exactly as she is. But in general, I have struggled with patiently making it through this stage. So God has been teaching me about contentment, enjoying Nora exactly how she is and where she is, and I’m continually learning to increase my dependence on Him through each (often long) day of raising a toddler.
And thirdly, we’re learning patience in finding and building community. Due to a number of factors – moving, taking time to settle in, Michael’s work schedule, the general fact that a baby severely limits your free time, and our own laziness, we haven’t yet found a local small group or something similar. Thankfully, in the interim, we’ve still had great fellowship and encouragement just by living with my parents and by reconnecting with old friends in the area. Living with my parents has gone so well, and it’s been a blessing to have such edifying conversation on a regular basis both with my parents and with the many people who come in and out of their house. Plus it’s incredibly special to all of us that Nora gets to bond with her Gigi and Boppy, or “DeeDee and BopBop,” as she currently says. And I’m certainly thankful for all the extra help with Nora! So we are grateful to God for providing some measure of community through friends and family, and we’ll wait to see how He uses some of the activities I’ve recently picked up to continue building friendships and fellowship. I’ve started going to my library’s toddler story time class twice a week with Nora, I’m about to start attending a Bible study one morning a week, and I’d like to work out a place to serve at church soon. And that’s another thing I’m learning, to just “do the next right thing” even if it’s as small a step as getting together with friends for an evening or going to the library a couple times a week.
So those are some snapshots of the little and big ways God is teaching me patience, contentment, and moment-to-moment dependence on Him.
What about you? How do you see God moving in the light and dark of your life to make you more like Him? I’d love to hear about it!