A few years ago I had 2 kids under 2 and scrolling through Instagram nearly killed my soul. EVERYONE (maybe not everyone) was going out with their friends, attending important work events, and travelling the world. But not me.
The travel pictures were the hardest to look at. I had always imagined world travel being a part of my life forever…obviously…and then life happened. My passport with my new last name only had one stamp in it for 9 years.
I went to a Beth Moore conference during that season, hungry for encouragement. She asked us to do something simple. There were two columns, and in one we were supposed to list the advantages we had in our life right now and in the other the disadvantages.
Go ahead…think what might be in your columns right now, or even take the time to write them out:
My disadvantages column was quickly scrawled with some therapeutic venting; including not being able to travel. Right near the top I wrote:
My husband’s job
We were in a tough season of marriage (did I mention the 2 kids under 2?) and at the same time my husband’s job became all consuming. Like 100 hours a week and frequent travel consuming. I was torn between trying to support him during a stressful professional season and trying to be the voice of reason for our family. Mostly I was frustrated and lonely.
Beth comes back on stage. She tells us that our disadvantages are D.I.S.advantages, as in “Delayed Integration Showing”. She says one day God would use even those things in our life as part of his calling for us.
It was the first and only time I have ever rolled my eyes at my hero Beth Moore.
Sweet, Beth. The workaholic culture of Silicon Valley is tearing my family apart, devouring my husband’s soul, and throwing me into existential crisis. Let’s be real, not everything has a happy ending.
Fast Forward past my cynicism….it might take a while…
Over the next few years, Mike and I had some amazing conversations about the role work played in his life and our family. About the way his passions, talent, faith, and design were made better by his work as they were making his work better. We began a rhythm of continually rebalancing and being explicit about our needs and values as a family. I don’t think we would be nearly as conscious about any of it if we hadn’t gone through the part that hurt.
Fast Forward AGAIN.
Mike gets a call a couple weeks ago, just as I am coming up to a writing deadline, that he needs to go to England for work. He quickly schemes to bring me with him, and our friends and family conspire to love our kids while we are both away.
Mike’s company pays for everything for Mike, and I tag along at minimal expense. And post Europe pictures on Instagram. Me.
Instagram pictures never give the full story, so here it is.
I thought Mike’s work was the enemy of our family, our marriage, and the space for me to pursue my own interests. Instead (dang, that Beth Moore is good!) God used Mike’s job to sharpen our marriage, build up our family, and give me the most incredible writing retreat of my life! Making the most beautiful space in the world for what I barely dared to whisper as my calling before- writing. (While Mike was at work I was writing in the grandeur and glorious book smell of the Cambridge University Library)
If you feel like you have a long list of disadvantages and “I could never” right now, I challenge you to pray about it- and even dare to be optimistic that God is working in and through the things you least expect.
…and that’s the longest postcard you’ll ever get from England.
If you missed me over at Instagram, I’m easy to follow! @lizditty