I like to look ahead. I like to plan. I like to set goals.
Normally August is my planning month for the fall. I think in some unconscious way knowing that I would not have my planning month this year was part of my pre-trip panic attack. Yet I knew it would be futile to plan ahead. I didn't know how God would speak to me on the trip and where he would lead me when we got home. Something that was evident on the trip. I had decided to keep my little 7 hour a week job and told my boss to put me on the fall schedule before we left. Yet within days of being in Africa I knew I should quit the job which is exactly what I did when we got home.
As we have been home and have been processing our experience and wondering what is next for us I have had an unusual experience. I am blank. I have no idea what to do next. Yet I feel so peaceful about it. I have no fall plans. Isabelle isn't going to pre-school. I am not working. I am not in charge of any ministries at church. I am free to simply get up each morning, focus on my family, spend time during the day with Isabelle and be a homemaker.
You don't realize how busy your life can become until you come to a point where all your activities are gone. I did sign up this fall for a morning bible study with a friend. I have done many morning bible studies over the years but as I thought back I realized it has been 6 or 7 years since I have done one. One day I was a homemaker with my son in school all day and plenty of time to be active in bible studies and ministries while still having time for myself, my home and family. The next day I am driving my son 30 minute across town for school 3 days a week and supervising his online education the other 2, managing a commercial rental property, selling a commercial rental property, adopting a newborn baby, helping start a new church, heading up a women's ministry, leading the vestry, helping my husband run a business, close a business and then re-open a business with a new focus, getting a job, saving money for Africa and flying across the world. Someone stop the ride I want to get off!
While I have loved every single thing I have done over the last several years I am so excited for a fall of doing nothing. A fall to spend with my family encouraging their growth, teaching Isabelle, feeding and nurturing them. A fall to spend in my home working on long ignored projects, cleaning lost closets. A fall to spend with friends and extended family drinking lots of coffee, visiting lots of parks, sharing meals and stories and laughter and love. A fall to just stop and listen to God. To learn and grow as he prepares me for whatever is next in my life.
I would love to know what is next, I want to write it in my notebook, think about how I will make it work in my life, put it on the calendar, set goals around it. But that is not what God has for me right now. Sure I have ideas of what I might do next. Some dreams I have had for years, some new ideas, some that are so big they scare me. Maybe one of those ideas will be where God leads me next or maybe there is something entirely new in my future. For now I am looking forward to a fall of renewal and grateful for the opportunity I have to spend it caring for the people I love.