Saturday, October 14, 2017

Finding Our Purpose

On Thursday my Bible study group went to lunch together for the first time. While sitting in a little nook in Panera Bread we all shared how we met our husbands. Funny, warm memories abounded. I am sitting here laughing at my own memory now--meeting Cash on this little ol' blog. This blog has seen me through a lot of phases in life and has been my outlet when I needed to sit and just hammer out my feelings in words. But I beg of you as I did of them, please don't go searching my old posts. I. Could. Shutter. One of the ladies asked me what I even wrote about before marriage and children. I don't know. Stupid stuff I'm sure. But it was my outlet for that season of my life too, and even though it would be downright humiliating to be forced to reread those posts I am so thankful for getting to express my life through writing.

Lately I've had on my heart what purpose means to me and to my family. A lot of times when we are kids or raising kids, we wonder what their purpose will be. For the first few months of AnnLouise's life I would stare at her in awe and think, "Baby girl, what are you going to do? What is your purpose? I know it will be huge."

Then about a month ago it hit me. She already has a purpose. So does Henry. So do I.

We began visiting folks from our church, mostly shut-ins and widows. It did not matter where we went, the kids were a hit. They adored AL's smile and laughed at Henry's boyishness. One day I sat there and just took it in and watched as little ladies at a local retirement home lit up when AnnLouise would throw a smile their way. And the men, oh those precious men, they would laugh at Henry daring his mother to chase him around the parlor.

You could almost see the memories in their eyes as they watched my children laugh and play. One lady, whom we had merely passed in the hallway, was overjoyed with their smiles and waves. I heard her tell another resident, "I needed that today."

When I got to my car, I could have wept. Neither of them have to wait for a purpose. They have a purpose today. Their purpose may change as they grow older, of course it will. But today, today they already have a purpose. And those shut-ins? They have a purpose too. They STILL have a purpose, and they need to know that.

We all have a purpose. I mean, we are told that from day one in the church. For me I think I've always looked at that as "big picture" purpose. Sure, I have a purpose--something that when I look back in life it will be the really big thing that sticks out. Yet I've come to realize our purpose is daily, hourly even. Our purpose changes over time and evolves. It can look big and life-changing. Or it can be small and life-changing too.

all giggles before a football game

He only takes a picture standing still if I am with him. He also had to have his rain boots. The high was 84. No chance of rain for about a year.

playing with Mr. Lion

The Bible study I'm in right now has the theme of making room. They've talked about making room for your kids, the brokenhearted, our neighbors. Then Thursday they talked about making room for orphans. I thought I would zone out. I mean, I don't even know any orphans to make room for.

As the lady spoke I tried to choke back tears numerous times. I'm not a crier in public. When I told my group last year that we were losing the child I was pregnant with I just said it stoically and did not shed a tear in front of them. So when I was choking back tears throughout the talk on orphans I did not know what to think. Where was this even coming from?

The speaker described one of the foster children they ultimately adopted. When he was first placed with them they were shocked to find out (after some time) that the child has a rare condition. When they took him to an annual check-up in Austin, the doctor told them he was doing great as usual. And then she recalled his words, "It is amazing what love can do."

That came full circle for me. Purpose. Making room. Love. That's it. That's what we are called to do. Love--that's our purpose.

Whether it is the widow in the nursing home, the pre-teen boy who can't quite figure out how to navigate his way through middle school, the innocent girl who was thrown a medical curve ball, the orphan who longs for a home--our purpose is the same. It is to love. When we do that, we will be amazed at what God can do.

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