You were Meant for Today!
It was quite a shock when I found out I was pregnant, for the third time, nearly 5 years after having given birth to my last little bundle of joy. To complicate matters, we received the news just weeks after we announced that we would be moving from our beloved community, leaving behind a life of ministry and part-time jobs that I loved.
Suddenly, I had to come to grips with the idea that I would now be going backward. Or, at least that is how I interpreted the situation. Of course, I have pursued motherhood out of a calling and it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. But, this time I had to convince myself that I could parent a young child again. Not only that, but I was anticipating less hands-on parenting and more time to devote to career opportunities I couldn’t pursue before.
I decided to cope by repeating to myself that I could be a good “waiter,” and try to be happy about it.
All I could think about was waiting. Postponing. Putting things on hold. Biding my time. Being patient. It became a cycle. Thinking about waiting only lead me to keep thinking about waiting.
Suddenly, I thought. Wait a minute! Probably the only time I should’ve actually used the word, “wait.”
Wait for what? I had self-inflicted an attitude of “wait.” Rather than living for the moment, I was living for the future; just filling my mind with ways that I could ease the pain until I got what I actually wanted.
That is not a life. It is time spent wishing I had another life.
In scripture, we see that Paul ministered through what could be considered severe setbacks. Paul gained momentum in his ministry and then suddenly it came to an abrupt halt. While motherhood may often seem confining, Paul would actually go to jail. He did not develop an “I’ll wait until I get out of prison to continue my ministry,” attitude.
Some of Paul’s most dynamic ministry was conducted from a prison cell. Take, for example, Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. The book of Philippians contains some of the most circulated scripture for the modern Christian. He offers words of peace and joy through the practice of prayer that have echoed for centuries and have certainly increased my faith and dependence on God (Phil. 4:6-7).
In my present circumstances, grappling on the inside with malcontent, waiting until my precious little one is old enough to receive more care from others, Paul has ministered to me through his teaching on the art of contentment (Phil. 4:11-13).
I want to be like Paul. If he can shape the Christian world while sitting in a jail cell, for years, listening to the Holy Spirit and developing an entire ministry based on correspondence, then what in the world am I waiting for?
I want to live in this active state of contentment that Paul lived out. It is a state of mind and living that depends on the Lord for everything. It is trusting that the Lord will provide joy in the moments of dissatisfaction. It is believing that whatever my situation, I have been placed here for a reason. It is not so I can sit around and wait for different circumstances to arise so I can get started doing the things that I want to do. This is a time for living in the moment, taking hold of God’s new mercies for my life on a daily basis, surveying the life I have before me and actively seeking out how I am to serve God on this day. Not tomorrow, not when my kids are older, not when I get more sleep, not when I’m happier with my body, not when I have more friends, not when I have a bigger house, not when I’m more influential. Today.
There is so much that could be said here about the joy of raising my children and how I believe God has called and equipped me to prioritize time with them, but it doesn’t change the fact that I needed to mourn the loss of my personal time line, leave the waiting mentality behind and pursue each day with purpose.
No matter what you or I are waiting for, it is not an excuse to postpone life in Christ. There is not one day set before us that lacks God’s design or purpose. As we learn from Paul, no matter our circumstances, opportunities for ministry are alive and well, whether it is designed for the prison guard or the infant.