Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Honest Truth

Ever want to hum that old Michael W Smith song, "My Place in this World" in your head?

If you are a woman, my bets are on a big fat yes. John and Staci Eldridge hit the nail on the head in "Captivating" when they said that all women struggle with 2 main lies "I'm too much" and "I'm not enough".

What they failed to tell us is how we could struggle with both in the same day!

Yep, it's been one of those days for me. I know that most people who read this don't really know me. . .I have no clue what you really think of me, if you think I have it all together or are the most UNtogether person in the world. If you love me or hate me. Heck, if you think I'm "too much" or just "not enough" The truth is that today has been a struggle. I often feel like I'm not really fitting in anywhere lately. . .like I'm not really sure of my place.

You see. . .I'm not sure if I can classify myself as a "stay at home mom" anymore. The truth is that my volunteer hours probably take up as much as a regular job. . .they are just weird hours with conference calls stuck in during drives, nap times and running and "work" hours are 8-midnight.

With all of that, you can imagine that I pretty much never feel like I'm good at either. Tonight as I set off to run I felt so overwhelmed. With the Uganda stuff, I am doing things that are FAR outside my proficiency so I don't feel all that great about the job I'm doing (I mean like writing million $ grant proposals and development plans. . .amazing to be a part of, but not something I'm good at). . .add that to the pressure and burden I feel to see this succeed and to see these children get sponsors. . fast. Oh yeah, and doing it all while working with an amazing group of professionals (the HopeChest staff) that I'm pretty sure I'm not even qualified to be their assistants! (I'm a stay at home mom who didn't even finish college!) sigh

But, I LOVE it. I feel so alive and in the center of God's will when working in this ministry. I love the vision casting, the brainstorming, the sharing of the passion. so yeah, "not enough" comes up in this realm a lot.

Then the biggie. . parenting. Parenting 3 small children! As you moms know, there are great days and there are bang your head against a wall days. Today was the latter! A day when the kids were out of control, I was trying to get a project done all while trying to do all of the laundry, dishes and various housework of the day. I NEVER feel like I'm a good enough mom.

Oh yeah. . and the ever present feeling that I'm not so great on the friendship front. I'm pretty sure I'm not a fun friend. Who wants a girls night with a girl who only thinks about starving people? That added to the fact that my availability has been more limited because on top of the fact that my kids go to bed at 7-7:30 I'm also on conference calls during the days / evenings.

So that's me. . .a working/stay at home mom who never feels like she gives her kids what she should. a volunteer who's a little more committed than the average volunteer and yet struggles to know her place b/c I don't feel qualified to even be in the circle and it's not like I have any clue what role I'm supposed to be playing. . .and a 28 year old American girl who doesn't fit in here and knows she won't fit in there either. All while learning more from Jesus than I ever have before. Oh yeah and none of that even touches the fact that I recently stepped off of church staff ( a position I volunteered in for 7 years) to get more involved in HopeChest Uganda.

So there. . .if any one of you ever thought I had it all together, you don't now!

But what I realize in all of this is~ drumroll please ~ I'm always going to struggle with this!

Lovely thought, huh? It's true though. . anytime I take my eyes off of Jesus and start trying to figure out where I fit in all of this, I'm going to struggle. I'm thinking He actually wants it this way, it keeps me running to Him. and man did I run to Him tonight. I poured it all out and He reminded me once again that HE is where I find my value and my place. In HIM do I take refuge. I'm simply responsible for listening and obeying. I was reminded of the verses we are learning. "If you spend yourselves on behalf. . ." wait, that's how I feel. . . SPENT some days. And I imagine it to be a horrible thing. Maybe it's here in the struggle that I find Him. It doesn't make the struggle easy but at least I know where to go with it ~ straight into the arms of the Father.

How about you? Do you struggle with your place in this world? In friendships and parenting and marriage and ministry and work?

25 comments:

Amy said...

Bran...you ARE spending yourself on behalf of those whom Jesus loves deeply - YOUR OWN CHILDREN (even on days like today when you wonder if you've ever done anything right), YOUR HUSBAND (who I KNOW loves and respects you for all that you do and are), YOUR FRIENDS (and can I tell you how relieved I am to know that I'm not the only one who wonders if the phone is going to stop ringing with requests to go out because much of what I can only think/talk about is Africa?), HOPE CHEST (to whom God has clearly called you to minister alongside and who I know would say your absence, whether you feel proficient or not, would leave a gaping hole) and those SWEET, PRECIOUS PEOPLE IN UGANDA (who will come running to find you in heaven some day to thank you for loving them with your life).

The beauty in being spent is that we get to be filled back up with all the strength, power and grace that we need. God shows up when we're spent. You just sit back and watch. He will. Can't wait to see how He takes that million dollar proposal you didn't feel proficient enough to write and uses it to literally bring people from death to life. God's grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness. So, embrace your weakness, sister! You know how much I love you!! (And when you come to Cincinnati we'll have an evening out and talk about starving people and what we can do ALL NIGHT LONG!)

Jman's momma said...

I love what Amy said!!

I just watched War Dance and was going to change my status and then saw your post. Man oh Man! I am with Amy - I can't wait to see where this all leads. Trying not to force my will but be patient with His.

I have a long drive tomorrow if you need to talk about Uganda. I don't feel I have tons of input but I want to learn and know more. I have that will I ever feel competent enough?

Love you girl!! A

Oh, and that movie makes me want to spend the rest of the summer in Katakwi.

Anonymous said...

I know you didn't write this post for anyone to praise what you do but I think you do a great job! I especially like that you don't think you have it all together, because then you wouldn't be as passionate or driven about the things you love... your family and Africa especially. You rely on God for your strength and direction. You go to him when you are feeling weak and he gives you strength. Keep up the good work. I love to read your blog, it teaches me a lot about trusting the Lord and serving others. Thank you for your example.

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

The other commenters responded so beautifully, so I'll just say YES, I can relate. I struggle with good and bad days as a mother. Luckily, God refocuses me, and each new day I get to start over.

Yes, I can relate to not knowing where I fit in. Sometimes with some groups of friends, I long for deeper conversations. I WANT to talk about starving people!

I am happy for you that you are so in the center of making a difference. I am struggling trying to figure out how God could/will use me. I beg Him to.

Peace to you. May God grant you provision and strength to accomplish all that you need to.

elizabeth said...

Brandi.
THank you so much for being so raw, real, sharing your heart with us. I know so much what you mean when it comes to wearing the hats of work and mother (without a nanny!) It's not easy and always feel like something is falling short. But God has given you such an amazing passion for others. It is so beautiful. And I KNOW you are a great Mommy, unfortunately, that doesn't make our kids perfect :) There are just days like that. So I guess all I'm saying is... Your doing great, keep it up :) Love you.

Andrea said...

Okay so everybody alse was really eloquent with what they said. I'll just say this...I didn't really like you that much before I knew you. It was annoying to me that you had it all together!!! Needless to say, I got to know you!!!(sometimes you still annoy me) :) You are great just the way you are, you love Africa you love your friends and you LOVE your kids and that's all they need to know. They won't remember the days when there was too much laundry or you yelled more than usual, they will remember that you love them.
Love, Andrea

Chris and Sarah said...

Yes, yes, yes I feel like that. Oh, and I had one of those days with the kids yesterday too.

I just told my husband last night that I feel completely out of place around my "normal" friends. I spend everyday reading blogs of people that have the same passions as me and then I get on Facebook and wonder where in the world do I fit in.

I know people probably get tired of hearing me fight for orphans and starving children but how could I not fight for them.

So anyway yes I feel have no idea what my place is in this world other than fighting for God's children.

Amber S. said...

I love that song, and yes I have found myself humming it. We as stay at home moms (or work at home moms as I consider myself and you should too!) are our own breed, which often fosters loneliness. We do not always go to lunch with friends (although hopefully today we do!), we have no cubicle friend to go talk to when we are having a bad day. It's often just us and the kids, with only the internet or phone to connect to the outside world.

All that being said, I often feel guilty for not being more involved or more passionate about something other than my family. You are an awesome example of continually seeking the Lord's will for your life at each and every point of decision. Knowing you and your passion is challenging to my soul, which is a very good thing. :-) Love you!

Sunday said...

First I must ask you friend to forgive me. You see I am so wrapped up in my life, my strained marriage that when I saw you earlier today I did not even ask you simply "How are you, how are you REALLY doing?" If anyone has lived the example of caring for others right in front of me it has absolutely without a doubt been you. I am sorry for not caring for in the way that you SO have cared for me. Please forgive me. I love you Bran.

Joyful Living said...

Brandi-wow, it was so refreshing to read this this morning as I've been feeling this same way for much of this week. And, reading all the other posts too, I see that I am not the only mom/woman/friend/working mom that feels the same way. Praise God that we don't have to be "good enough" for Christ and we can bathe in His grace daily and know that He loves us no matter what.

jeff and katie said...

just want to say...
I love ya,
and
Thanks for sharing your heart!!!
kt

Jill said...

That Michael W Smith song was our graduation song! I have many fond memeories of it!
Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed, as I know how draining this feeling can be....
God has given you your calling girl! No need to feel inadequete! HE has it all planned out!
Hugs, Jill

Lindsey said...

Brandi...I started reading Crazy Love and this morning was Chapter 2: You May Not Finish Reading This. I took away from it that we are to live TODAY...right now, this very minute, because we might not have tomorrow. God is teaching you to trust Him, lean on HIM and believe in just HIM. He doesn't need us, He WANTS us. And the WANT is what makes all the difference. He is using you and the fact that you are letting go and letting Him do that is amazing. Just know that there is a woman in OKC who thinks you are great...and we've never even met!

Vanessa said...

Brandi, Thanks for sharing your feelings so openly!! You have put into words what my mind and heart has felt many days while I struggle to find my way with the mission work in Guatemala. I want to grow and learn and be a great mom, friend and wife at the same time and I struggle to "fit" in many days! Guatemala has my heart like Uganda has yours so I truly understand!

Cindy said...

Love your candor. Yep, I struggle with feeling like a mis-fit, when to speak, when to be quiet--most times it doesn't seem that I fit in here anymore. Yet here is where I am for now. You are so right...keeping our eyes on Jesus is the only place to find our peace. He is working on me in so many ways.

Oh, and I would LOVE a girls night of talking about nothing other than starving people :)...talk about getting down to the "real" stuff in life.

Sean and Lisa said...

Brandi, I just love your transparency. You are a woman full of passion and life! I believe we all struggle with where we fit..I know I do...daily! Sometimes home just doesn't seem world changing enough and I long to do "More." Ya know?! You are an excellent mommy, just look at your kids! I do believe this "place" helps us to press in to Him more and yearn to find His will and purpose for our lives and really...that's all that matters.
Hugs!

Amy said...

I am so glad you said all this! I have been feeling like this a lot lately. Im volunteering more at church, therefore not putting as much in at work. Feeling guilty that Im not enough there. Been too a few extra meetings and bible studies ...feeling like im not enough for my kids. Then im starting with these silver pines kids..and one minute i think "maybe im doing too much with them"...then the next minute im thinking "im not doing enough".
........And yeah, I generally feel like you have it all together...you are my number one role model...so im still gonna pretend like you have it all together.
......but Im glad these struggles are normal..and a struggle towards jesus!
love you...
ps...im soooooo proud of you : ) !

Brittani said...

Brandi,
we are doing the Esther study right now and one of the things that Beth said during the video session was that "one of the most important parts of fulfilling our destiny will be transparency." If you try to hide behind an image of perfection, then all is lost in the purpose of showing Christ's Greatness. When we are obviously desperate for Him then it becomes obvious to everyone else that they desperately need Him too. And THAT, afterall, is the whole point. Thanks for your transarency before us... I find that very beautiful in a Believer.

Andrea @ The Train To Crazy said...

wonderful post. As I was reading it you ended up writing exactly what I was thinking.

And, I'm pretty sure preschoolers are God's way of bringing us to our knees!!

AT said...

balance in life is one of those things that make it so beautiful. thanks for this post. so many of us women can relate in so many different ways.

Brother Frankie said...

dear lil sister,

you asked for scripture, you got it.

need more look at matt 14:19-21

sorry this is long.

you are loved
brother frankie
a biker for christ


Exodus 3:11-12 (MSG)
11 (MSG) Moses answered God, "But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?"
12 "I'll be with you," God said. "And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: ......

He was inadequate all by himself. But God wasn't asking Moses to work alone. He offered other resources to help (God himself, Aaron, and the ability to do miracles). God often calls us to tasks that seem too difficult, but he doesn't ask us to do them alone. God offers us his resources, just as he did to Moses. We should not hide behind our inadequacies, as Moses did, but look beyond ourselves to the great resources available. Then we can allow God to use our unique contributions.

Exodus 4:10-12 (MSG)
10 (MSG) Moses raised another objection to God: "Master, please, I don't talk well. I've never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer."
11 God said, "And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn't it I, God?
12 So, get going. I'll be right there with you—with your mouth! I'll be right there to teach you what to say."

Moses pleaded with God to let him out of his mission. After all, he was not a good speaker and would probably embarrass both himself and God. But God looked at Moses' problem quite differently. All Moses needed was some help, and who better than God could help him say and do the right things. God made his mouth and would give him the words to say. It is easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but if God asks us to do something, then he will help us get the job done. If the job involves some of our weak areas, then we can trust that he will provide words, strength, courage, and ability where needed.

Brother Frankie said...

that should have been in the shaky post, sorry

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