Saturday, August 24, 2013

But...but...what about ME?

As I've mentioned before, we didn't want kids for most of our marriage. We hung out by ourselves, were involved in lots of different stuff, and we've been slowly figuring out what we want to be when we grow up. Kids weren't part of the picture until they suddenly were. And it did feel sudden. Like, "Wait a minute here! I thought I was going down this road over here." A left turn.

I'm in seminary. I used to say that I wanted to be a pastor, even though I didn't know what kind. (Now I'm not sure I'll ever be a pastor in a church, but my call remains.) My call was nebulous, but I had a vague direction. As I felt my way through school and plugged myself into various ministry positions at church, I started feeling my way towards a more concrete direction, and that direction was high school students/college students/young adults.  Those are the people I want to hang out with, teach, and help. It came as somewhat of a surprise, but looking back, it really shouldn't have done. (I'm British now, yo.)

Then the parenting itch/call/bomb happened.

And it all stopped. The official college/young adult ministry had petered out on its own, but it was still very sad. Then I was overwhelmed by all the foster care stuff that started, and high school ministry was the only thing I could take off my plate. I was crushed. 

It didn't make any sense to me that once I finally started getting clarity, God gave me a big ol' nope. The good news is that, for a year now, I've been back involved with high school students, and it's better than ever. I feel like God gave it back to me and then some.

But..but..I've still tried to stay connected to graduates. I still want to walk with them and be part of their lives and "minister" to them. And I am still friends with many and get to hang out with a few, if not often enough. 
I have kids now. That is what my life is about, for the most part. I can't have people over like I'd like and can't go out with people as much as I used to. And I know that this is something I want and that parenting is the clearest calling I've ever had. I know this, but that doesn't always make it easy to let go of old ways you had of defining yourself. Of old dreams.

I understand that all/most parents feel this way about one thing or another or a whole host of things. I know that I don't have to let go of all my dreams and plans. I'm still plugging away at school and planning things and dreading things that have nothing to do with my kids. But it hurts my heart a little bit every time some of my friends talk about the young adult group they've started. "Wait! I'm supposed to be doing that!" "Can I help you?" I wonder if I read my calling all wrong (the old one) and I'm actually not good at it and wasn't meant to do it. 

I have 8 year old twins. They just moved in a week and a half ago. Seth & I will be quite busy for a long time. They are my focus, at least for a while. They need us desperately. I worry that as I spend time focusing on them, I will get older and older and this dream I barely had time to water will die or its time will pass me by. 

Parents: can you tell me about new dreams you got for yourself after you had kids or old dreams that you got to still work on or go back to? Especially those of you who may have been surprised by your kids for one reason or another.