What is normal life?
I’ve been longing for a normal life lately and feel the sadness in my bones for what I can’t have- a family of more than two.
After time spent with family, seeing cousins play and sisters share life, I feel so envious of their routines.
I hear friends talk about gardens and family trips and potty training and lost teeth and summer schedules and I think, They don’t know how good they have it. What I wouldn’t give for that normal life!
I think of my childhood and the memories made- swimming, eating popsicles, riding bikes, and playing with my siblings. I want that so. badly. in my home. A future, a generation of Horsts- my little tribe making memories and driving me crazy and making life chaotic, yet sweet.
And I can cry and rail at God, and beg and plead, but it doesn’t change the fact that right now He has not given me children. And, unless there is a miracle, there will not be any for a very long time; quite possibly- never.
What do I do with that? How do I handle this pain, this longing?
For some time, God was protecting my heart and the realities of infertility. But with a recent job offer, that was ripped away. With a sinking sense of dejavu, I turned to God and asked Him, Do you want me to step back into the teaching world? I didn’t want to. I didn’t even want to ask Him. I battled it for days. Because when faced with a possible career, my heart beat for what I couldn’t be- a mother. I didn’t want to teach. I didn’t want a cleaning job. I wanted to be a mother. I was so angry at God for bringing that desire back. Why now? Why allow me to feel this when it’s simply not possible to be a biological, adoptive, or even foster mother?
I don’t understand. And some days I don’t want to. I want to wallow in my pain and feel the misery of a life gone wrong. I want to let my heart turn to cold apathy towards my God, because, let’s be honest- it hurts to be real. But a person can only live so long numb, before he leaks or explodes.
What do I do with this messy heart? I bring it to God over and over again. I battle and surrender, battle and surrender. This hurts so badly God. I don’t know what You’re doing. I don’t want to spend another summer waiting, with life on hold. I want children so much I think the pain will kill me. Why me, God? Why?!
What do You want me to do with this pain, this desire? What are Your plans?
And He answers. No teaching, more cleaning. No family, more time abiding.
In the midst of it all, God really is with us and for us. I have found that even during those times when the path is darkest, He leaves little bits of evidence along the way- bread crumbs of grace- that give me what I need to take the next step. But I can only find them if I choose to see. – Marybeth Chapman
And when I choose to look up, I see so much.
I see friends, making it up as they go, desperate for wisdom and grace in the midst of parenting and accidents and teething babies and toddlers’ tantrums and sleepless nights.
I see family, with busy schedules and heavy work loads and skinned knees and sibling squabbles and teenage drama and painful losses.
I see people longing for a husband or wife. I see teens facing tough choices, and marriages struggling to thrive in the busy mundane. I see a lonely widow or widower. I see an orphan longing for love, and trauma parenting, and a momma on bedrest while her family picks up the pieces. I see a couple getting older, wondering how long they have before poor health and memory steal the life they know. I see someone battling addiction, praying for healing, wanting it with all their heart but seemingly powerless to change. I see a devastating prognosis, and cancer, and a short time to spend with loved ones before heaven.
Really, what is normal life? Maybe no one really truly feels like they have it. Maybe we all need to look for the breadcrumbs of grace.
A sticky smile after a popsicle. Sunroof open. Leaves rustling in the trees. Marshmallows on a stick. Fireflies and jars and bare feet. Sunshine, blue skies, and green grass.
Good health. A cheerful whistle from my hardworking husband and a warm hug when he walks in the door. Evenings of leisure, just the two of us.
Last minute cancellations making for a shorter work day. A good book from the library. Rich, black coffee. Games with a friend and lots of laughter.
Friends to laugh and cry with, who teach me to be bold, to find joy, to stop being a hermit already! Songs from my childhood, scratching from the record player. Giggles from my nieces.
A building packed with believers, voices raised in song. Family that teases and supports and loves. A perfectly timed verse from the Bible. Freshly picked strawberries. Bright flowers in a mason jar. Coffee runs with the coworker.
Refreshing pool water on a hot afternoon.
Walks with the dog as the day cools. Honeysuckle lingering on the breeze.
But most of all, a God who heals me, Who loves me more than I could begin to imagine, Who gives grace upon grace. I am so blessed. Thank you, Jesus, for this normal life!
What are your bread crumbs of grace today?