Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The start of a better story begins in Portland...

I began living my life through a story someone else had written for me. My first ambitions were not my own, but those of my late father. He was advanced in age when I was born, and he feared that he would not be around to share his heart with me when I would be old enough to remember. As a result, he wrote to me through several journals beginning entries before I was born. He passed when I was six, and those words became all I really knew of him, and his love for me. Much of what he had to say became cloudy between readings, but I remembered clearly that he wanted me to be a doctor. Perhaps even a surgeon, like him… but if not, at least a nurse, like my sister.

I entered into a relationship with Jesus when I was sixteen. I attended youth group where you learn to “pursue God’s will”, and ask Him what He wants you to do with your life; something I had never before considered. Very sincerely I began to I want whatever story Jesus had for me. I was open to a change in my plans (my father’s plans) for life. The circle of faith that my church was a part of encouraged a short list of options for the female thinking Jesus wanted more from her story. After high school she would go to a good Bible college and find a suitable mate, preferably someone going into a full time ministry. Her area of study is relatively inconsequential, because after she marries, she has children and would likely stay home from her profession in order to raise them.

After high school I met a wonderful man who had graduated from Bible college and was pursuing a youth ministry position. I attended a university for a year, during which we dated and then were married the following year. I had a baby boy, our first, on June 16th of this year, and he brings me more joy than I thought possible. We have been in full time youth ministry for six years.

Meanwhile, I have continued my education. I was a rebel of sorts and went to nursing school; something for which I received negative reviews from my husband’s then current employer (because of the time it required of me). I am currently employed full time at a hospital here in Kansas City as an R.N.

My father’s plan B for my vocation was nursing.

A wife and mother was all of what I thought God had for me.

I now have lived both… but there’s more. I feel it as much as I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face in this 100 degree heat. In no way do I degrade the privilege of being a wife and mother; or pretend that the effect we have in ministry is minute. I am proud to call myself a nurse; but that is not all there is. My story so far has been the product of someone else’s writing. I am learning that God is waiting for me to begin writing with Him.
This spring I was home in Ohio for a baby shower. While my mother made preparations for the party I sat with my 89 year-old grandmother watching television. Finding something that the both of us would tolerate was a challenge, especially at the volumes necessary for her to hear. Flipping through the channels I found a special about Jimmy Carter; particularly the impact he has made in Africa combating the devastating effects of the guinea worm. Because of him the disease is next to eradication. I know little about how he was as president, but after this program I had an enormous respect for him. Respect that stemmed from the fact that he decided to champion this cause after the age of 60. Most people I know begin to slow down at that age. Great story.
Part of the story I would like to live includes the adoption of a child from the Philippines. Because this is financially restrictive to us at the moment I have plans to continue my education to become a nurse practitioner. Once working this would allow me to finance the adoption. This would be only a small part of the rest of my story. I would love to write and teach, but only when I have a life and wisdom worth sharing.
I am certain that I want a better ending than beginning. I am certain that I will make my son proud to tell my story. I just need help learning how to begin a better one. A seminar in Portland might help.


Living a Better Story Seminar from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.