You Are My Greatest Adventure

To My People,

Recently we were hanging out with a group of married friends when it dawned on me that Daddy and I were the old-marrieds of the bunch.  Everyone else had been married two years or less…and here we are fast-approaching our 5th anniversary.  What the what???

I’m realizing more lately how quickly Daddy and I really did have kids.  Sure, we’d been married two years before Miles came along, but here we are five years and two kids into marriage, when some of our friends have been married five years and are still [purposefully] waiting.  My Instagram feed seems chock-full of childless married couples going on grand adventures together and living nomadic lifestyles.  Meanwhile, my personal Instagram feed is exploding with pictures of the cutest little chubby faces you’ve ever seen (yes, I’m biased).  And in case you didn’t get that, Little Munchkins, that would be you.

Settling down and having kids isn’t for everyone, I’ll give you that.  But for Daddy and I, it really was and is.  And really, the family life is a bigger challenge and adventure than any fast-paced action movie showing at the theatre.  What is an adventure after all?  It’s full of unknowns and fatigue and pushing you beyond what you thought possible.  It’s full of challenge and hurt and mistakes and worry.  What’s a bigger adventure than getting married and having kids?  I mean, the Fast and the Furious crew can’t hold a candle to me.  I’d like to see them navigate traffic with one hand holding a paci in the back seat and not be distracted by the loudest, most obnoxious screaming ever (again, a little biased).  Oh, and Jason Bourne?  I’ll bet I can function way better than you can on no sleep.  I’ve conditioned myself…I have babies.  Don’t get me started on kicking b*** with super human strength.  Have you ever tried to mess with mama’s babies?  And I’d like to see MacGyver figure out a way to hold a potty training toddler over a public potty while simultaneously holding a newborn as well as I can. (And Miles, I will be telling the pooping-on-my-foot story at your wedding someday because…you owe me.)

In all seriousness though, you all are the greatest, most fulfilling adventure I’ve ever been on…or probably ever will go on.  No, I don’t spend my days scaling mountains or living out of a station wagon, but my days are still incredibly rewarding.  We really try to keep traveling and going on spontaneous adventures with you little crazies in tow (#babywearing or #carrythemwithyou anyone???).  We throw in our fair share of crazy.  Think: flying cross-country with a two-year-old and an 8 week old, flying alone with a 23-month “lap” baby and an ever decreasing preggo lap, camping big and pregnant, camping with an 11-month old, or hiking with two kids on our back.  Yet, even on the days when I’m just home with you all day there are still challenges to overcome and new adventures to be had.  Although it may seem like it sometimes, being a wife and mom is not mundane.  It’s an adventure that’s not for the faint of heart.  It’s gritty and raw and revealing and strengthening all at the same time.  It’s one of the hardest and best things you’ll ever do.

Some days as parents, Daddy and I thrive.  Others, we just barely survive.  Yet, I know we wouldn’t trade the adventure of parenthood for a billion solo adventures out in the world.

Andy, Miles, and Nora, you are my greatest adventure.

Love,

Caitlin (aka, Mommy)    

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Instagram on Vacation

We went on a much needed vacation in June. I had the best intentions of posting a slew of pictures. As usual, however, life got in the way. So…I decided I’d share with you some Instagram pictures of our trip. Be sure and follow me (@thelifenotmyown). I love making new Instagram friends!
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Dr. Quinn anyone???
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Santa Barbara
Hearst Castle
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Old Mission in Carmel
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Pfeiffer Beach
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Beach Baby
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Desperate

As a single young woman, I was desperate to find a husband.  For as long as I could remember, my biggest goal in life was to be a wife and a mom.  That dream only grew as I was exposed to more Conservative groups in my later high school years.  Any other aspirations I had faded in light of the all-encompassing calling of being a helpmeet.  I decided to go to college, but only so I could get a teaching degree that would help me homeschool my children with fewer problems.  I worked a part-time job, but the rest of my free time was spent scouring blogs trying to figure out how to dress and act to snag a nice “Conservative” homeschooled boy.

Looking back, I wasted precious time.  I was so focused on my goal of getting married that I missed out on much of the work that God had for me at the time serving others.  I was so desperate for a man that I didn’t even have a clue who I was or what God was calling me to do with my single years.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a spouse.  The ache in a woman’s heart for a man is normal and natural.  The problems come when that ache and that dream become the driving force behind your actions and your time.  Desperation to get a guy is a terrible trap, and one that I see many Christian girls falling into.

The first reason desperation is so common is that, like I said, that ache is natural.  It’s not wrong or shameful, but it must be fulfilled in God’s perfect timing and way…not ours.

The second is that the Christian subculture has put almost too much emphasis on a woman being a helpmeet and mother.  Single Christian woman find themselves portrayed as less important than a married woman because they have yet to achieve that “highest calling of womanhood”.  Single Christian young women in very Conservative circles have it even worse because, oftentimes, they are taught that having any other career ambitions are wrong.  They are encouraged to stay at home and “prepare for marriage” with no idea when or if Prince Charming will appear.  As the years pass and they watch friends marry off, they wonder what’s wrong with them that the “highest calling” hasn’t come to them.  Oftentimes they struggle with loneliness, aimlessness, and depression.

Finally, there is a huge emphasis placed on wives submitting to their husbands, a biblical and wise exhortation to be sure.  However, this teaching is often used to encourage young single women to bend to a man’s wishes and to be the only one compromising.  This is not good either.

It’s no wonder that these single women end up desperate for a man, and desperation can be a very dangerous and damaging thing.  You see, when you’re desperate to catch a man, your focus shifts from meeting and evaluating guys to trying to become what a guy “wants” in order to snag him.  As a single woman, I was an expert at changing my dress and speech to suit the eligible guys around me.  I was willing to compromise on a lot of things.  If a guy thought women should only wear skirts, by golly I would have been the best skirt-wearer that ever was.  If a guy thought women should never work outside of the home, or that any form of preventing pregnancy was wrong, I would have jumped right on board.  It didn’t matter that none of these were my own convictions.  If a guy was actually interested in me and was convicted about those things, I would have compromised completely, asking nothing in return.

I’m so glad I married a man who doesn’t want me to wear skirts all of the time, has encouraged me to work outside of the home at certain times, and who isn’t of the “quiverfull” movement.  Not that any of those things are wrong, I just know now that I would have regretted giving up all of the things that I was and I believed for him.  I know that, had I done all that compromising, I would be bitter today.  I would go along with all those standards outwardly, but inwardly I would be dying to just be the woman that God had called me to be.

Desperation can also blind us to the calling God has put before us for today.  When I first started classes to become a teacher, I saw them as a means to an end.  The funny part is, I ended up loving teaching.  Through it I came to have a heart first for the children, then the people of the rural county in which my husband and I now reside.  While I am no longer in the season of teaching in the schools, that heart carries over to my new passion for reaching the young moms of the area. 

Similarly, there are other talents and passions that I have only pursued and developed since getting married.  If I had wasted less time on trying to be somebody that I wasn’t when I was single, I would be a lot further along in my development.  You see, although my biggest task right now is marriage and motherhood, there are other talents and passions that God has put inside of me, and He has done so for a reason.  These are the things that make me uniquely me as God intended.  They are the things that now make me the wife, mother, and woman that God intended me to be.    

The right guy will love and respect you for exactly who you are and what you believe.  You will love and respect him for the very same reasons.  You may not agree on everything or have all of the same convictions, but the compromise will be mutual, not one-sided. 

My husband likes to say that he wasn’t “desperate to get married…but he was desperate to marry me”.  Don’t be desperate for any guy…be desperate for the right guy.  Be desperate to marry a man you agree with and believe in.  Be desperate to find a man who you can be a partner with in life.  Be desperate to marry a man who loves and encourages you to be the woman God created you to be, and not a man who wants you to be what he wants in a wife.  By all means, be desperate…just make sure it’s the right kind of desperation.

In the mean time, seek out the other passions and skills God has gifted you with and pursue them.  Find out what God wants you to do with your time right now and do it.  The places that serving God will take you are the very places where those “nice” eligible guys end up.  What better way to meet a spouse than by serving God side-by-side with him?

I don’t really know if every young woman can truly be “single and content”, as the phrase goes.  What I do know is that God has a unique and awesome plan for every woman in a season of singleness.  Don’t waste that plan on desperation.