At age 9 I was certain I was going to be a famous singer or at the very least a famous back-up singer who travelled the world, wearing slinky black dresses and strappy heels whilst pouring my heart into the music for everyone to enjoy and be moved by. I love my 9-year-old self - she was fearless and confident that the world was hers. Unbent by the middle and high school angst to come, 9 year old me believed in her dream, knowing God had big plans for her. Big BIG plans. I was going to change the world from that stage. Why else give me a singing voice?
Sometime during my sophomore year of college, I started to give up on my dream, which in reality by that point had become more of a fantasy anyway. After college, with marriage and kids on the heart not to mention paying off student loan debt on my brain, I prayed I would be able to do both/and, but my plan, THE plan, the BIG plan just wasn't taking shape. So I let it go, moving boldly forward to the next phase of my life, eagerly anticipating all the goodness and beauty that adulthood would bring. I was fearless and confident that this world would be the world in which I would flourish, thrive and make a difference. The 9 year old’s dream would forever be a nice memory.
Here’s the thing about adulthood. It isn’t easy. It is messy and most of us are woefully ill-equipped for all that it brings. Yes, marriage is wonderful but it is hard, hard work that takes humility and humor - both of which I’ve had to dig deep to find. Birthing 3 kids in 4 years was joyous and exhausting but raising those 3 humans took everything I had - in a good way. But somewhere between the diapers and the carpools, doctors appointments and teacher conferences, sports practices and piano lessons, I began to feel it was too much, that I wasn't handling any of it very well; in short, I started to believe the lie that I wasn't enough - for me, for my kids, for my husband and least of all for God. And in my mind, God only has plans for those who have their act together. I used to be that person, but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I felt locked in and lost; I forgot how to believe in me.
My heart and spirit remained crushed under the weight of the lie that I wasn’t enough for decades. It was a long, long season; one where I had no idea how to bloom.
And then along came beautiful grace. And the lovely truth. And much-needed healing. With encouragement from a dear friend and a great spiritual director, I finally worked up the courage to ask God why He never called me to do BIG things, to be important, to be in the spotlight making a BIG impact. Why was there no plan for me? He made me after all, so why let all that I had to offer go to waste? Leaving these questions at the foot of the cross was hard. Waiting for the reply was even more difficult. It took many prayerful encounters.
And then His reply came, as it often does for me, in a soft whisper. He patiently asked me to examine my life with His eyes, noticing the things He called me to do and those moments when I said yes. The burdens I helped ease with a meal, kind word, hug or smile; the way I noticed when people were in pain and I reached out even when I was in pain myself. The love I shared with my husband and children, honestly and faithfully. The give and take that is my marriage, the carpools and doctors appointments, the conferences and practices and lessons that was my daily routine for so many years. The way I have been obedient when He has called me to switch jobs, taking me out of my comfort zone time and again. This list of those moments of yes is, as He reminded me, endless. These were the times where I bloomed and shone in His eyes. These were the times I was enough.
At that moment, I realized His plan was to work through me, to bring everyday, ordinary moments of grace to others. Looking back, He gave me everything I needed to accomplish what He planned for me all along. The ideas, the heart, the temperament - all from Him. That is how I will change the world - one sweet yes to His will at a time.
It's true that grown-up me never became that world-famous singer; I am quite content being in the audience these days. Little black dresses come in a much larger size now and include the letter W to indicate I have the figure of a woman. While I do own a pair of strappy little heels, I only wear them on special nights out with my guy. And the dream of making it big, of changing the world? I understand the plan now and am good with it. It is enough.