I have never been a planner. The attention span required for me to pay attention to detail eliminates my ability to focus long enough to PLAN. I actually notice ALL the details which creates well-intentioned but short bursts of started but never finished thoughts which never transition into action of any sort.
I spend many of my days wondering how I accomplish anything at all. Lucky for me (although I do not believe in luck) since I began living a life of less, the list of life’s duties is short creating a decreased need for detailed, well-established preparations.
If ever there was a word to describe me, unprepared would fit the mold…along with a few others – high-energy, type-B (insert laughing emoji), charismatic (which actually gets you a long way in life given my lack of other type-A characteristics), over-the-top…I will not prolong the list and bore you, but unprepared definitely tops how I feel a majority of the time. No matter how many lists I make, evening baths I take, clothes I lay out, spreadsheets I create, or dinners I prep, I always end up short. I wake up earlier than normal, but I can never manage to use that early to get out of the house on time, or create lessons more than a day in advance, or stick to the plan I develop in my head.
Even now, I am trying to determine how I am going to finish this blog post, grade the mountain of papers I swore off doing at home, fold and put away today’s load of laundry, finalize tomorrow’s lesson AND get to bed at a reasonable hour…
And my best friend came to see me today, to help because my husband was going to be on the radio so he would be home late. She bought some clothes for my new son. She bought some pajamas for my two other children so they would not feel left out. She asked me a million times how she could help, but all I wanted to do was sit down with another adult, and small talk about nothing. I had no energy to tackle being a mom. I just wanted to be a friend for a moment. I wanted to tell her that I was completely and totally unprepared for life…for this…I wanted her to know that I am just an ordinary girl trying to find her extraordinary. But I did not say any of it. I just enjoyed her presence – her willingness to offer a helping hand. For now, I just needed a someone who knows me for me – the crazy girl who used to let herself into her best friend’s room for coffee at 1AM, wake her up, and ask her if she would like some.
Sometimes the effort involved in being a wife, a teacher, a coach, a mother, and a blogger are more than I can handle. I am unprepared for each of them making me unprepared for all of them.
And to think that God sees fit to send another life into my household, into my care.
I give Him a confused look, and I tell Him, “I am NOT prepared. I can hardly handle myself, and if I mess up my marriage, and my own children, I can live with myself. But to mess up someone else’s children…c’mon God. I mean, I teach, and that at times is already too much. I am NOT ready. I am unprepared.”
And He sits me down, and He smiles, but His smile has serious undertones. I hardly ever see Him like this, and He responds. He says, “Usually, I allow you to figure these things out yourself, but this time I need a moment to explain so that you can clearly see. I have prepared you for this your whole life, Brittany.
“You see, when you were young, I told your parents to take in your cousin (who you now know as your sister) so that you could see that when family needs you, you absolutely say yes. And I knew that your sister would have children, and I told you when her son was born four years ago that you would raise Him. At some point, you seem to have forgotten so every once in a while I stepped in with some reminders. You just did not know the exact day, but you have always known this day would come because I prepared you even when you were in grade school.
“When you had known your husband for only three weeks, I told you he was the one so that you would marry a man who would love and accept a son that did not belong to him. I knew that even with all the racial tension in America, in a world where black men are dying and white privilege is rampant, that your white husband would not bat an eye at accepting responsibility for someone else’s black son. I prepared you for him and him for you – all for right now.
“When you started teaching, you had the idea that teachers must get past the fact that most students do not want to learn, and who in the world would put themselves in that situation? You went in eyes wide open, and I hand delivered you the toughest cases so that you would be prepared to teach inside of your own household because you recognize that all you can do is your best, and let Me handle everything else. As a teacher, you learned that nothing is truly personal and EVERYTHING is truly personal, that some of your hardest students have the biggest hearts. I prepared you for the biggest teaching position of your life – to be a mother to a child you had no hand in delivering.
“When you started attending a church, I made you youth minister before you or anyone else at that church knew what hit them. You ran a $40000 camp on a $10000 budget. You learned that I do what I want in My house. That I can make children love to learn math and English in the summer time. That I can take no money and create money from nowhere. That inner city kids with no money and parents that drop them off just to get rid of them for the day can be taught to behave without referrals and a principal and in-school suspensions. You received a standing ovation when you introduced yourself at the commencement program to the crowd, and you were touched and overwhelmed to tears but it was because people in your program looked at you, and they saw Me. I prepared you to let Me lead because when you let Me lead, I do the impossible.
“When you left the position, you could not understand how I could put your whole life on hold. You thought you were in a period of transition so you learned the most effective way to run your household. You learned how to live with less. You learned how to focus on “those things.” You learned how to capture calm in chaos. You learned how give to those who can never repay you. You learned how to love in the midst of war.
“You were absolutely prepared for this. You were made for this.
“You just did not expect it to happen right now.”
And He hugged me, and He whispered, “Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me.” And He ended with, “Mission Accepted.”
And I challenge each of you who have made it to the end of this post who feel unprepared for all that life has thrown your direction to accept your own missions. To see that God has created you for this, whatever this may be.
Recognize that God makes no mistakes. Recognize that your entire life has led you to right now. Recognize that you are absolutely prepared.
What are some ways that you feel unprepared for life’s curve balls?
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