In the last year my life has gotten very small.
In the fall of 2014, we were set up to begin fostering a 14 year old with the intent to adopt her. We had had a whirlwind spring and summer completing paperwork, taking classes, and knocking out our homestudy. At the same time we were preparing to begin another year of homeschooling. I was tutoring in our co-op, working several hours a week for our church, supporting my husband as a music coordinator at church, soccer mom, etc., and etc.
Life was full. I had places to be! Things to do! People to touch base with!
Eight weeks after our foster arrived, she was pulled from our home. She didn't want to stay . While she had many issues, we were, to put it bluntly, rejected. I felt small.
About a month later we took a second placement. Two sisters, strictly foster with the intent to return to family. They kept us on our toes, along with our own four.
In January I stepped down from my church job. I was stretched too thin across six kids plus homeschooling plus getting two others from public school and helping them with school work. Later in the spring, we decided I ought to take a year off tutoring from the co-op. There was still just a lot on my plate. Our foster girls returned to family and it was back to our four. When the calls started coming in to take a third placement, it was a hard decision, but for now, I had to admit that I could not do a good job with foster care and be the primary teacher for our children's education. We closed our home. I felt small. Ineffective. Inadequate.
I rolled into a summer of emptiness. There were empty beds in our home now that we had thought would have a couple warm bodies in them. My calendar was blank - no commitments now that school was done, my job had wrapped up, and no social obligations. (That had kind of fallen by the wayside as I was unable to leave the house for much more than a grocery run.) Smallness. Unnoticed. Unneeded.
Emily P. Freeman's new book Simply Tuesday has come during a time when I am working hard to heal (for lack of a better word) from the last year. I had a full calendar, full email, and full to-do list this time last year, but it was not a good pace for me to try and keep up with. I had opened up the limits of what I thought I could accomplish in my own power and now I'm in the midst of God's reeling me back in to a smaller more manageable place.
Emily's words in the book were spot on for me:
My limits - those things that I wish were different about myself are perhaps not holding me back but are pointing me forward to pay attention to my small, eight foot assignment.
It seems when I finally recognize my inability is when Christ shows up able within me. But he doesn't equip me to do every job possible, he equips me to do the job meant for me.
It has been hard to see this limiting as a good thing. It's been a struggle and one that I am still processing and working through. Keeping my eyes focused on the four walls of my home and the work I do inside them; tending to the laundry and lives of the five others that live here; sitting on the bench in my backyard and soaking in sunshine and a good book; and looking at where God wants meet me in my smallness.
There is a daily-ness to my work, a small-moment perspective that whispers for me to connect with the work in my right-now hands, not because it's going to become something Big and Important, but because Someone who is Big and Important is here, with me, in me, today.
Smallness is not a punishment but a gift ... my smallness can be a celebration.
This smallness that I am now choosing to embrace is just one of the things that I have pondered from Emily's new book, Simply Tuesday, which releases today. Where I am today, whatever the circumstances, however small I feel in them, is where I am supposed to be and there is beauty in the small, the broken, and the slow. It's a reminder I needed and I encourage you to pick up a copy of Simply Tuesday if you think this is a message you need to hear as well. There is also an Instagram community that shares the moments that make our Tuesday's special amidst the ordinary using the hashtag #itssimplytuesday.
The book was provided for me as a review copy but all opinions are my own.