Is your life different than what you pictured it would be? What did you want to be when you were growing up? What has God called to do that differs from that dream?
When I was little, I always wanted to be something cool and I think everyone does to an extent. But when I was little I dreamed of being a superhero. Not somebody with a cape or tights or anybody who wore their underwear on the outside, but a real hero, like someone in law enforcement. I dreamed of being in the FBI or the CIA or the military even. When I was in high school my workouts would consist of passing a PT test for the Army. I poured over and over and over the requirements to be an agent with the FBI or the CIA. It would take a lot of college. I always doubted myself, and I think that’s a big reason why I never really lived up to that goal. I never had anyone in my life telling me that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I never had that motivator in my young impressionable years that told me to follow my dreams. I was told to settle and to do what I knew I could accomplish. I was told not to try anything too scary.
I contacted a recruiter for active-duty Army. There’s no doubt in my mind that had he been a better recruiter and followed up with me I would have joined very soon after high school. But again, I was scared. I knew I could do it, and I knew I could be good at it so maybe that’s why I was scared. Being scared of success is a thing right? What would people think of a preachers’ daughter who was thriving in a secular, male dominated profession? By being good at something in the military or law enforcement that meant that I was not going to be the cookie cutter pastor’s daughter. It meant that I wouldn’t go to Bible College, I wouldn’t marry a preacher boy and I wouldn’t join the ministry, none of which have I ever felt called to do anyway.
After I graduated college I moved around a lot. When I started Bible College as a freshman they always joke with you, “Ring by spring or your money back.” I was one of the many girls who graduated Bible College without a suitable suitor in sight, and guess what? I got no money back. When you get married, especially to a preacher, you don’t have to worry about what you want to be when you grow up, you basically get to coast through life off your husband’s calling…or so many women think.
The Lord speaks to the man and the man leads the family and so I don’t have to worry about what I want to be when I grow up…huh? That was not the case in my life. In 2009 I looked into pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice, so that I could pursue being in one of those three-letter agencies or even the military. Shortly after that I found out I was pregnant with my oldest son. Thats when the dreams I had for my life shattered. I don’t want to make it sound like my oldest son shattered those dreams, that’s not at all what I mean and I know a lot of you moms can identify with me there. When you are in the position of becoming a single mother I think a lot of remorse, regret and guilt is felt. Not remorse, regret and guilt because you regret your child or feel like you’ll ruin them, but the remorse and guilt you can only feel when a decision that you made intentionally came back to bite you in the butt.
I still have people telling me on a regular basis that my dream of being a three letter agent is something that I would be good at. I’ve been called the top 1% of the shooter population by ex-navy seals. I’ve been asked what police precinct I work for. And I’ve been asked how long have I been in the military. Each one of those questions stings badly. My husband and I have had long conversations, literally dozens of times about my going back to college to pursue my dream of being an agent or joining the Army. That’s my dream for my life. But I have a family now. I’ve got two boys and an amazing husband. How much sacrifice is too much to follow your dreams?
My story is weirder than some. My life is quite different than I thought it would be. But, my life is still pretty awesome. I’m married to a good, godly man. I have two wonderful boys, one of whom just invited Christ into his life! My husband and I, who both have an affinity for firearms, decided back in 2014 to start our own training company so we can teach others how to defend their families. I absolutely feel called to be a wife and mother. I absolutely feel called to be an instructor. It’s something I’m really good at because of the above mentioned mindset.
Now, I still might have the ability to pursue one of these dreams. I’m only 29, I have a very supportive husband and family. But any of those options that I choose takes me away from my family for a few months. So again, I ask myself, how much sacrifice is too much? How can I be the kind of mother I want to be and the kind of wife I want to be, and leave my husband and children for 3-9 months? It’s not that easy. It will never be that easy. I’ve had these dreams for a very, very long time. I could go and join the Army tomorrow. I could go back to college and get my degree in Criminal Justice and work towards joining the FBI or CIA. I could work on advancing my skill set to make myself a better instructor with our company. But I don’t see those doors opening right now. I could push them open, but I would have to undo a lot of locks first. Does the will of God require blasting through locked doors? I don’t think so.
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Lord knows what my next few years hold. He might open those doors and he might not. I know that I am called to be a witness of Christ, a wife and a mother. I hope that I’m called to be more than that soon, but for now this is where I am. A teacher in Bible College had a quote that she used often. This is quite literally the only thing I remember from any of her classes, but I think it resonates here. “Grow where you are planted.” We don’t have to like the dirt that God has put us in, but we are meant to grow roots and serve Him wherever we are!
I Corinthians 10:31 “So, whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Right now I am a wife. Right now I am a mother. Right now I am on a praise team. Right now I am a firearms instructor. Right now I am supposed to grow where I am planted and serve God to the best of my abilities in this moment.
1 Timothy 2:1-4, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kinds and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
I truly believe that there are areas of our lives that God gives us the ability to make decisions in. For example, should I have ice cream for dessert? Or cake? I believe the Lord gives a certain authority over areas of our lives; like what clothes we wear and if our hair is long or short and if we drink diet coke verses coffee. There is a caveat to that however. Read 1 Corinthians 10:31 again; as long as we are glorifying God in ALL that we do, I believe that he gives us the authority to pick if we want chocolate cake or a cookie for dessert, or if we want brown hair or blonde hair.
Lastly, let’s look at Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Whatever our lives looked like in our head before we realized that we were in the middle of our life already is almost irrelevant. We are to glorify God where we are in that moment, and grow where He plants us.