Who I am has always been dependent on what I was doing. A student, international development professional, missionary, mother, pastor and housewife. What I was doing helped clarify my movements, perspectives and feelings about the world around me. But suddenly what I was doing became less important that what I wasn’t doing.
Rewinding to history----
I used to work for a UN agency. Traveling internationally advancing my career. Then life changed. We were directed to move to Oklahoma and go to seminary. God changed our plans. He spoke to my husband and I and asked us to go. That insistent, strong, powerful type of ask that at once makes you feel empowered by the divine and shaken to the core. We wondered what to do, asked Him to repeat Himself… but in the end who can deny a request from the Invincible power of the universe. So my husband and I left all we had and moved to the Oklahoma plains. Did I mention we were only married for 6 months at the time. What a honeymoon ride!
Two years in seminary and again God asks – Would you go to Indonesia. Nearly the other side of the world. My heart said a resounding yes! We are suddenly missionaries. Serving and loving a people who would become our family and life-long friends.
A return to the U.S. and motherhood is quickly upon me. That was after a stint of being homeless and poor.
I am a mother twice in two years and then pastoral ministry. Life is happening. Full speed, unplanned, full devotion. I am here. With laser focus on my children I deny my career and surrender myself to full-time parenting. I am a housewife.
This is life. Who I was, what I was doing. But now my children are growing and I desire to get back in the game. I’m ready to apply, interview and get that job. Or maybe create, design and implement my own nonprofit plans for this world. But it won’t happen overnight. What do I do while I wait…..
Join me on my journey to care for my children, family, church and myself to find my place in this world, achieve my dreams.
Your prayers, love and encouragement are appreciated!
Quick! Name 3 things you love about yourself. I ask that you to steer clear of things like “I love my eyes” or “I love my personality” or “I love my family.” Instead identify 3 things that truly make up who you are. Things that helped create the person you are today. The good, the bad, the ugly and the hideous. Loving every part of us, even if it is not pretty, is an important step to happiness and purpose.
My mom asked me, “Tell me, what do you think about your life.” I responded, “Its good but I have a lot of regrets. I don’t think I fully capitalized on the opportunities that were presented to me.” I went to a specialized high school but didn’t participate in the debate team (if you know me, the debate team and I are a perfect fit!) didn’t try out for sports, didn’t take any AP classes. Why? I went to a private college and earned a double major but I didn’t accept an urban planning internship offered by a professor because I was nervous about staying on campus during the summer. There are other such instances, some small some not so small but the regret is still there. Where would I have been if I was a bit bolder, had a stronger support system, wasn’t so Jesus crazy. The choices you make do help define you because they set you on a life path. We can course correct and redirect but it is always a time delay- making up for the mistakes of the past.
Walking through life with regrets makes it difficult to really love yourself. There is a secret self-condemnation that is applied. If I was smarter, If I was bolder, If I was prettier. Those Ifs are knives to the soul. Opening the wounds of perceived disappointment again and again. How can I love myself if I don’t forgive myself? How can I love myself if I can’t see the beauty in the life I’ve lived- mistakes and all? I can tolerate, like or even admire myself but I cannot love myself.
I love older people. The longer you live the more comfortable you become in your own skin. Crotchety, curmudgeon, bright, stylish, blunt, wise- liberated. Older folks can just be themselves because they know that all of life’s ups and downs are just temporal. It becomes easier to walk on the Earth because you know that each day brings the sun and life will go on.
As if having an epiphany, I’ve given up my regret. No more wondering what I should’ve been or who I could’ve known. But embracing all the ups and downs of life. The missteps and the extraordinary leaps. Because each part of my journey has a story and each story is a page in the ongoing saga of the liberation of Aisha.
So my 3 things are:
I love the way my mind works, deconstructing situations and things to come up with the best solution.
I love that I’m a fighter. I keep pushing forward.
I love that I believe in people. Second chances abound in my heart.
Today I challenge you to love yourself. You are the only you in this world. No one does it better. Every hill, every mountain, every slander, every hurt has created the beauty of the person you are. So with awe and wonder reflect of the greatness of YOU and be amazed. Now… list your 3 things.
God loves you and so do I.