I was cleaning my kitchen and getting lost in my own thoughts when one of my friends popped into my head. “I should text her” I thought as I loaded the last plate into the dish washer. I picked up my phone and shot her a text asking her how she was was doing and if she wanted to get together soon for a girls night. I put the phone down and picked up the dish cloth to clean the counter but was interrupted by the vibration of my phone. I willingly allowed myself the distraction and picked up my phone (as if I was some one extremely important) to see what urgent situation needed my attention. To my surprise my friend had already responded and asked if I was available that following evening for an “after kids bedtime” mommy date. We set the time and place. The excitement of a child entering Disney land for the first time, was nothing matched to my excitement of a girls night away from kids and cleaning. I love girls night. It is what feeds my soul. I love chit chat over food or while walking side by side with someone who enjoys hearing about my life and what matters most. Judgement free Adult conversation can not be matched.
When I woke up that morning it was like any other morning and I went about my day not knowing that that very evening, my out look on my own life would be changed by just some simple words spoken from a life long friend.
My sweet friend and I have been amigos since we were 10 years old, over 20 years of friendship holds us together. We have lived blocks, cities, provinces, countries, time zones, and what seems like, worlds apart from each other over the span of those 20 years. We have grown from children to teens to university students together. We watched each other get married and we shared the stages of pregnancy side by side. Belly to belly. It is safe to say that I trust and cherish this girl and what she has to say.
We ordered our drinks and our shared appetizer and got our conversation under way. We brought each other up to speed on each of our lives. As we covered the basics of kids, marriage, school, and jobs, we reached a point where it inevitably was time to go a little deeper. My sweet and probing friend asked me a question (after listening to me complain about not having any vision or goals) that will forever change the way that I make plans. “Where do you find your worth? Is it in a pay check? Is it in what you do? Is it in who you are? Why does it matter “what” you do and not “why” you are doing it?”
This kind of floored me. It is advice that I would have given someone else but not one that I was thinking should be given to me. Where do I find my worth?
Before I had children I was a friend, a wife and a Preschool teacher and found my worth in those relationships. I mostly identified with my job. I was made to be a teacher and to spend my days with little ones who saw the world in such a pure and untainted way. I loved when their little hands reached out to me to hold mine and to guide me over to where they were playing with full intentions of convincing me to join them. I loved their singing voices that would quickly turn into shouting as they got excited about the silly parts of the songs we would sing during circle time. I loved their imaginations and creativity. I found great pride in working with children and with their families. I loved when parents would ask my advice on parenting and I would respond like an inexperienced but over educated professional. Then I became a parent and life as I knew it changed.
When my son was born I got a kick in the head and forgot all I thought I was sure I knew. All confidence in who I was as a teacher did not transfer flawlessly over to motherhood like I was expecting it to. One of the biggest areas in my life where I found my worth started to vanish. Who am I in this role?
My friendships took a different place in my life as well. Where I used to be willing to drop everything and help out a friend, now I hesitated. Life got a little messy. My friendships that were the most valuable to me before I became a mom, were now changed. I made new friends with other moms and those friendships became more important for my very survival. Not forever, but just for now. For that moment in my life I needed people surrounding me who knew what I was going through. I needed friends that asked me questions about baby poop and who swapped exhaustion and birth stories like I used to discuss vacation and weekend plans. This little child that entered my life, and soon the addition of his sister, would alter my outlook on everything for the rest of my life. Parenthood changed me.
Parenthood changed my marriage as well. We were no longer two independent people doing life nonchalantly. We were forced to grow up and to actually realize what living selflessly was all about. Fighting over who was more tired became our constant conversation. Resentment and loss of identity became our reality. Learning how to navigate through this new world became our goal. We are now 5 years into it all and we are still trying to find our way. We have come a long way since then. I am proud of the progress and find so much comfort in the unity we share as parents.
As I sat there running her simple, yet profound, question over and over in my head. “Where do I find my worth?” I couldn’t help but feel lost as well as the feeling of being found. It was like before she asked me this question, I was walking around an unknown world without glasses and everything was blurry and new. Now, I have found my glasses and but I am still in an unknown world, but at least I can see. This question still remains, “Where do I find my worth?”
I have always been a planner. I made lists, set goals, and loved initiating action plans. After high school I had everything planned out. I was going to move out, get my Early Childhood Education, then get married, then find jobs, then find our own home. Then after all that we would start our family. My plan from then on was a little less structured. After giving birth to our second child we knew the next part of our plan. Adoption. We were going to complete our family through adoption and applied for a sibling set. But that is where my plan stopped. That is now where I sit.
My children are 4 and 5 and I am a year into the waiting process for our next two children to join our family. Now what? While I wait I find myself lost and confused. Unfocused. The planner in me has to be put to rest and I need to learn to now be patient. In these moments of feeling useless and as if I am aimlessly wandering around I am learning where I find my worth. The truth is that I know I should be finding my worth in the one who gave me this very life I am living. The air in my lungs, the children who cuddle me, the husband who adores me, even the very the dreams that I dream. They are all gifts from the very One who I need to be finding my Worth in.
I have been coming to the realization lately that while figuring out what my the next list of accomplishments will be, I need to let the very One who created me in on my plans. What good are my plans if they do not include Him? He has given me the dreams and desires that are deep in my heart. It is in Him that I will find the answers to this aimlessness that I feel. What am I actually here for? What am I supposed to be doing with my time while I wait? I do not need to be making millions to be worth something. Not everything I do needs to bring home money or change the world. The small things are not always small. I tend to make grand plans and then become overwhelmed by the enormity of all that needs to happen see these plans come to be.
So, now what?
My prayer and hope for this new found outlook on my life is that I will keep my focus on “Why” I am doing what I am doing and “Who” I am doing it for. I will try to keep serving God as my main priority and sharing His love for others and myself. In doing this it will help me focus on what is important while I make plans for what to do with my time. My children will both be in school next year and I will have time. My goal is to make sure that I find worth while projects to fill my time. I do not want to find my worth in the things that this world deems important. I want to set my eyes on the one who made this world and has higher plans for me.