School started for us this week. The two oldest who attend, absolutely love school. They are eager to learn, happy to be with their friends, interested in the things they are learning and proud of any new skills they've attempted and have started to master. I am happy for them to be able to be at school - to be where they love to be, yet I miss having them here.
As I sit and think about time gone by and wonder how it went so swiftly, I am scared.
I am scared not because I fear for my kids while at school, or worry about how they will behave or who they will become friends with, but I'm selfishly scared. I have two children out of four in school. As quickly as this time has passed, the following years will too. Soon I will wake up and have four children in school, and no babies at home. This is what scares me.
I am at a cross roads of sorts. I feel a pull in a direction I am unfamiliar with. I can do babies. I can do diapers, late night feedings, homemade baby food, puppet shows, dress up, puzzles and coloring all day, nursery rhymes, Goodnight Moon, 3 baths per day, snuggles on the couch, screaming and crying fits, and rocking and singing to sleep.
I have been identified as a mom with a baby for the last eight years. That's what I'm good at. That identity is fading. I am not sure if I am ready for a new direction. I feel my insecurities steadily creep in and the king of lies himself telling me I am good at nothing, I have no skills, I cannot relate to the working mom, asking myself "who am I kidding trying to make a fitness career", and even doubt my ability as a mom. Enter the Compass Plant.
In an earlier post of mine I talked about a nature center that I took my kids to earlier this summer. The tour guide on our nature hike pointed out a plant. A plant he called the Compass Plant. This plant is a member of the sunflower family and produces a similar flower between late June and August here in Wisconsin. Parts of the plant have been used by Native Americans for a number of reasons, one of which is a chewing gum to cleanse the teeth and sweeten the breath. But what interested me most about this particular plant is its leaves. The plant protects itself by orienting its rigid, sand paper like leaves in a north to south direction to avoid the direct rays of the midday sun, thus leading to the plant's common name, Compass Plant.
Maybe this is not as astounding to you as it was to me. Maybe you are well versed in the particulars of plant life and know numerous interesting facts just like this about other vegetation. To me it was remarkable. To me it was notable. To me it is peaceful. As I struggle with a new direction my life is heading, I am reminded of the Compass Plant. About how thoughtful my God was when He created this particular plant - to design it in such a way that it will protect itself from its biggest threat, the sun. This same God has designed me. He was just as thoughtful and particular when he designed my life. He has given me the means by which to protect myself from my biggest threats - the world, my sinful flesh and the devil. These means are the Word, the Spirit and a church family and friends who are believers.
Reading God's Word daily is a game changer when it comes to finding peace and feeling Jesus' presence. If you are struggling with a new direction in which you are being led, I encourage you to read God's Word. Daily. Follow along with our daily Scripture lessons that are posted each morning on Facebook.
God freely gives us his Spirit in holy baptism. God freely gives us his Spirit and unifies us to each other and His body in communion. He lives in our hearts. This Spirit is powerful and is alive. Do not underestimate the power that is within you. My favorite Bible passage is 2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline
Attending regular church services really helps me gain perspective and it has offered new, lasting friendships with fellow believers who understand the struggles I face living in this world, yet not being of it.
And I would be remiss if I didn't mention how much exercise really helps me focus. Exercise doubles for me as prayer time. Whether I'm exercising on my own, with my kids or teaching a class, I am constantly talking to God to help me; to clear my head and to enable me to see things from His perspective. I pray for discernment, for direction and for discipline. Prayer is powerful. Exercise enhances my focus and allows me to concentrate on what I'm saying without having my mind wander.
I do not have to be scared of a new direction. I can remember the Compass Plant. Whether or not I'm headed in a new direction in life, I find comfort and peace in the redirection I am awarded through Jesus. Because of Him, I am a Child of God. That's the only direction I need.