So happy to welcome Becky Lusk to the Welcome Wednesday feature. Becky is a single mom, school bus driver and writer. Her work is transparent and honest. What do we do when purpose doesn’t align with our dreams?
It starts early…
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asked. She was aiming the question at my then three year old daughter twirling in her Princess dress wearing a cowgirl hat with magic wand in hand. “A Princess”, she answered. It did seem the most logical answer.
My daughter has since expressed interest in firefighting, veterinary service, cowgirl and even just an ‘ordinary mom’ (her words, not mine.) For several years, this changed daily. Today at almost seven years old, her list of possibilities is still quite lengthy. We just add an ‘or’ in between.
This pressure to find our destiny begins earlier than what we would care to admit. By the time we enter our freshman year of high school, we’re encouraged to get serious. And if you have a senior who still has no idea what to pursue as career, then surely college will help direct that path.
Sometimes it does. And sometimes it doesn’t.
Sometimes we hit the ground running, only to slam head-first into a brick wall. Adversity found around every corner; dreams within sight, but just beyond our grasp.
And other times, we’re living the dream, only to be surprised by a change in plans.
That is where I found myself about a year and a half ago. Wife and stay at home mom working for my family and my husband’s business and satisfied. But it was not to last. I was surprised by a marital separation and now pending divorce; his choice, not mine.
Shattered dreams all around, the future slipping through my hands, purpose has become that much more important; and even more uncertain.
The day to day….
As a single Mom to three young children, ages eight, seven and three, I’ve found most days are more about survival than purpose. I now work outside of the home at a part time job to help provide financially for my children; financial survival.
Parenting survival; let’s face it, I’m outnumbered. Between running back and forth to day care, preparing supper, homework, errands and endless hours of teaching the ways of life to these precious little people, I’m exhausted. I give, and give and give and never get the opportunity to share the burden with anyone else. By bedtime I’m spent only to wake up exhausted to do it all again.
I wish I could say I always have a smile on my face and I’m praising God for this challenge and this opportunity to build character. But you want me to be real. And reality is, some days I’m just down-right angry. This is not the purpose I signed up for. This is not how it was supposed to be. Surely there has to be something more!
As I finish my rant, He gently reminds me I do not have to have all the answers. He has told me that this: the day to day love for my children; spilled milk, laundry piles and all, does have purpose. And sometimes the fruits of our labor are just under the surface of the muck and mire, to be revealed in a day of His choosing.
He’s also shown me that the day to day obedience is just as important. To listen to His Words and do even the smallest prompts of faith walk, and eventually I’ll find myself down a path of purpose I never saw coming, but was in His plan all along.
The belly of a whale…
Jonah recounts the infamous story of Jonah and the whale. The Lord asks Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to a wicked people. Jonah instead flees from the Lord headed in the opposite direction. On his way to Tarshish, a storm blows up and Jonah is thrown overboard by the captain and crew. He is swallowed by a whale and spends three days in the belly of the big fish.
He eventually is vomited onshore and heads to Nineveh. But what does not show up in this familiar children’s story, is why? Why did Jonah flee in the first place?
Guess what? Jonah did not like his purpose. He did not like this wicked people. He didn’t think they deserved a chance from God to repent. (Jonah 4:1-3) He knew God was compassionate. And he didn’t want to be the one to pave the way for the Ninevites to receive it.
And Jonah fought his purpose from the get-go; even as he sits in the belly of a fish. (Jonah 2) Scripture does not document all of Jonah’s time, but based on his stubbornness displayed later in the book, I’m guessing his prayer of repentance and surrender were preceded by a couple days of resistance.
Sometimes God asks us to do the unexpected: to step out of our comfort zones and take a chance, a chance on ourselves. To grow and bend and trust that He knew our purpose all long.
Remember that Princess at the beginning, the one dancing and twirling? I’ll never forget her getting all dressed up with shopping cart in front and purse on her shoulder. Expecting her usual answer of Momo’s, I asked, “Madelyn, where are you going?” “Nineveh” she quipped. And off she went.
Shouldn’t obedience be that easy for all of us?
I wonder if there’s something you’re fighting? Can I encourage you today to lay it down? Obey Him even if it’s not what you want. Obey Him in the little things and the big things. Because purpose my friend, is just around the corner.
Becky Lusk is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary God. She is a single mom to three and works by day as a school bus driver. When she has time, she writes from the trenches of life, sharing the good and the gritty. She believes that hope can be found beyond our circumstance and that above all, nothing is greater than grace.