By Kitty Hinkle
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
(Exodus 3:11, NKJV)
Do you ever feel like saying, “who am I?” like Moses did? Do you ever feel like you’re so mired in the day to day of managing life without your spouse that it’s hard to see beyond it?
Yesterday I wrote about how surprised I was at being able to put into words plans for a future beyond kids.
If you are just visiting this week for the first time, try starting at Part One and continue until you reach today’s posting.
Here are the five parts to this series:
Three years ago I couldn’t imagine a future without Tom. How did I manage to form a plan in my heart while caught up in the job of raising four kids?
Caught up is an understatement. I’m sure you’ve had a lot on your plates too. When we’re left with kids to raise alone and family affairs of the deceased spouse to untangle and manage, the process of life can become arduous and slow. You might have a hard time seeing a vision or purpose beyond the daily mundane.
I bet Moses felt that way. Last week at our church, a pastor pointed out the frustration Moses must have felt when he first left Egypt. He had been trained as a prince of Egypt only to spend forty years as a simple shepherd. As he tended sheep and wondered over his unused princely skills, I bet he didn’t realize the changes going on inside of him. Author/speaker Michael Kelley wrote a fabulous article about desert experiences and how God uses them in your life to prepare you for something. You might want to read it here. He explains how forty years in the Sinai desert as a shepherd softened Moses’ heart and prepared him for the years ahead when he led his people through the same desert.
There are times when I get lost in the tasks of the day and wonder if I can ever see the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s in those tasks where God is working on my future plan, not holding my plan back.
When I raise the boys with a God focus, the values I want to see in the boys are the same values I need for a healthy future for myself. By applying those values to them, I’m equally building them in myself. It’s kind of like Moses, in carrying out his duties as a shepherd year after year, shed his prideful nature and strengthened his surrender to the Lord. Applying God’s values to the kids is strengthening my values and vision for a future. Here are some examples:
- Writing – The written word is precious to me and gives me that creative outlet. I’ve encouraged the boys to begin writing. In turn, they’ve encouraged me to finish my novel’s draft manuscript and take on as many writing projects as I can handle. Who knows what career can come from that?
- Travel and mission work– I want my boys have travel experiences, so I take them all over the country. I’m adding mission work to the travel because it’s so important to build the character of service in the boys. Next month I take my boys to an Appalachian mission trip. We serve in soup kitchens every few weeks and I help out with the Youth team at church.
- Forethought and planning – We needed to support our mission trips so I’ve started a small fund raising operation. I want my boys to learn how to think ahead and plan for the future, so I talk with my teens a little about our finances. It’s gotten me planning my own financial future.
- Health and Wellness – I want to keep up with the boys and be strong so I take them with me to the YMCA where I do a Pilates workout several times a week.
Do you see how settling into my role raising the boys put into place some of the building blocks for a future? When my friend asked about my future plans, I only leaned on what’s been developing inside of me through where the Lord has placed me. Really, the future beyond my raising boys shouldn’t wait. It starts with how I’m raising the boys.
I sat at the restaurant with my friend—my thoughts spilled all over the table. They seemed so clear to me as I spat them out, but now out in the open they seemed lost in the confusion of clanging dishes and background music.
My friend scratched her head. She seemed to think something was missing. “But what about a career?” she asked. More on that tomorrow.