Last month was the 10th anniversary of my big move from California to Florida. My new life in Florida began on August 21, 2003.
This made me think of who I was 10 years ago…and who I am now.
ME 10 years ago:
-Young (Boy, was I young! 23 years old. I had no clue how “young” I really was back then, or how much freedom I had to enjoy, haha.)
-Shy, scared to talk to new people
-Homesick for California
-Moved back in with my parents
-Loved God…but also looking for my future mate to fill my needs and desires. I was so anxious for “my happily ever after” to arrive!
-Loved to journal and play with photos
-Not a big reader
-Not a kid person, although I knew I wanted a big family someday
-Married for 7 years
-Just returned from China to adopt our new daughter
-Led numerous small groups (parenting and MOPS groups). Love to speak/teach in front of people.
-Love God more than ever…knows He is the One who fills ALL of my needs and desires.
-Learning more about truly becoming who I was created to be…a worshiper of God, not just in songs but also with every detail of my life.
-Love to blog and play with photos
-Love to read
Life lessons learned….
By being married to my husband, I have learned the true meaning of LOVE. LOVE is not a romantic happily ever after, but a daily choice to say “I do.” Marriage is an opportunity TO LOVE and serve. Opportunity to grow. Yes, it has many happy, joyful moments full of laughter. But there are tough times as well, and God MUST be our rock.
By being a mother to Peanut, I learned more about FAITH (which also happens to be her middle name). Motherhood is not a constant blissful season that I dreamed of. It’s a constant LEANING on God to guide me with wisdom. Constant test of faith (especially when blessed with a strong-willed child!): to stay consistent even if I don’t see the fruit right away, continue to have FAITH in the BIG plans God has for my child, and continue to parent towards the future.
By being a mother to LittleBit, I have experienced so much JOY. There is so much joy in parenting. The “oh you are so cute” moments really make all the frustrations from the day disappear. I’m learning to find joy in the little things. I’m learning to take a break from the busyness of life…and just ENJOY the blessings that are all around me.
Within these past two months of being a mother to Mini-Lu, I’ve been a recipient of abundant GRACE. It’s not about being a perfect mom who has it all together. Sometimes I mess up…badly. Sometimes my children show goodness “in spite of” my parenting and not “because of” my parenting. But even in this, God is whispering to me, “It’s OK. You will mess up sometimes. But keep trying. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep leaning on Me to be the mom I have created you to be.” With each new child, God enlarges my capacity. He also shows me GRACE through my children. Often times, they are so much more gracious than I am. They are so resilient and forgiving. Their love and trust in me do not waver. Everyday, I receive a dosage of God’s GRACE through my children, and most especially through Mini-Lu.
I love my life. Oh, how I love my life. It’s not always easy. I have many more days of feeling exhausted, frustrated, and out-of-control than I did ten years ago. But I would not trade this life for what I had. No, definitely not. I have more gray hairs and wrinkles…and my nails are hardly ever polished. But…I have gained so much more wisdom, love, joy, and strength on the inside…through all that God has allowed me to experience in the last ten years. Most importantly, Jesus is more real to me than ever before.
Here’s the biggest lesson I learned in the last 10 years. 10 years ago, I was chasing after my perfect sandcastle…my happily ever after. 10 years later, I’ve learned…it’s when my own sandcastle is SMASHED, when I’m broken, and when I’m so very aware of how imperfect I am…these are the times I run the fastest into the arms of my Father. In midst of this sweet surrender, I finally find my “happily ever after”: my heart so engulfed by His love that I don’t know whose heartbeat I’m listening to…mine or His.
No, I wouldn’t trade this Divine Romance for any other kind of life this world may have to offer.