Monday, September 26, 2011

the saga, part 2

So, here's part two of my saga.  I apologize that it's long and rambly.  I'm trying to be concise, but I'm also, admittedly, just doing some processing of it all myself.

Last week I told you I was initially in 'scurry' mode, trying to wrack my brain to think of/find a job so I could make some cash.  I, to my own self, was downplaying the very important (and totally NON-lucrative) jobs that I currently have...wife, mom and pastor.  Yep, those are the three main hats that I wear, and frankly, I really enjoy my life (well, 95% of the time, anyway...hee hee) and that I get to devote my time pouring into things that I love.  As Todd and I talked a bit about the 'job' searching idea, he kept saying, "But what do you want to do?  What do you love doing?"  Well, my first response was simple...I want to do what I am doing.  It is what I love to do!

Would you believe this moment of honesty with myself brought conflicted emotions?  Part of me was happy to know that really, if I allow myself, I can be completely content with what I am doing in life.  But a greater part of me was flooded with guilt and frustration.  Guilt mainly because I feel "too" blessed - spoiled, in fact - to be having the opportunity to do what I love, and not having to 'bite the bullet' and put up with a job that is a 'necessary evil' in life.  And guilt because I feel like my freedom comes at the cost of Todd's long hours at his job.  Also, frustration because I feel like to really get ahead financially, I really 'should' do something that brings in more money.

Now, let me clarify...when I say get ahead, I'm not talking about us not meeting our bills or carrying a boatload of debt.  We've always seemed to be able to just 'break even' in everything, so we aren't talking about a clear and present 'need' per se.  My thoughts waiver between feeling like "God will supply all my needs, and I want 'extra', that's selfish" but then also thinking that there are good stewardship principles in being able to be wise with our money, making it work for us, and being able to be intentional in investing...not only financially, but into our children, missions, and other things we would like to sow money into.  And I actually do have a job that pays...I receive a small salary from our church, and it would actually be wrong of me to neglect that work, since I actually feel it is what we are supposed to be doing.  I have to remember that I can't place the importance or lack of my job based on how much it brings in.  It's still a real and valid job that I put time into.  But it can be hard to not let money take the driver's seat during seasons like this.  I find myself becoming very reactionary and driven to make something happen when I feel like there's a great opportunity before us (in this case, this house we all would love to move into).  Especially when the actual house feels like IT fits with everything God has called us to, and who we feel like he has made us as a family.  This particular situation has me tied in knots a bit, because it seems like it would be such an amazing opportunity for us to be able to, not only have a place with enough room for our family, but to really invest in our kids.  I may bumble around a bit, but I'll try to explain what I mean...

I feel like God has very much put on our hearts over the past few years to "think generationally", not only in terms of money, but in good patterns, habits and spiritual decisions that we know can have carry-over effects to our children, and even grandchildren!  I know this to be true, because we have most certainly seen such effects - good and bad - in our own lives from the choices and patterns of the generations before us.  We feel like intentionality is definitely something God has called us to, but boy is it hard.  It's much easier to live in the moment, make the choice in front of you, and sort of let life take you where it will.  But I think there is wisdom in breaking out of that mindset and choosing to make some difficult decisions short term and looking for a long-term return.  We try very hard as parents to pray for our kids and watch and discern what God is doing in their lives...what giftings, talents and desires that He has placed in them...and do all we can to cultivate those things.

Kate is in the final phase of school (high school), and it's not looking like college will be her next step.  She loves all things 'arts' related, and would love to pursue photography.  She draws phenomenally well, and can spend hours losing herself in sketching.  And drama and musicals...well, yeah...we'll suffice it to say she's obsessed with those, to the point of, on occasion, drilling family members about their song knowledge from musicals current and past.

Bryce, from the time he was an infant showed a keen interest in music, and a unique talent for it as well.  He began playing drums from very, very small...and in a rhythmic way that wasn't just banging!!  :)  He has always played drums of some sort, has never taken lessons, and has even played with our worship team.  He clearly has a strong passion for worship, and has even led worship himself at our church (with the adults!) twice.  Last year he took violin lessons at school, and did incredibly well for his first year, but decided it wasn't for him.  His teacher begged him and us not to quit, because she saw such a knack for it in him.  (He has opted for wanting to learn piano and guitar instead).  He also is singing in 3 or 4 choirs at school this year.  It's pretty easy to pick up on this one. 

Seth is our brainiac...with Luke close on his heels.  Both of these two love to figure things out, put things together and explore.  Of course, Luke is only in first grade, so we're still doing a lot of watching him emerge.  Seth, however, has always been our focused guy.  He has always been tuned in to things in the sky (even as a baby, he'd point out any and everything in the air), and especially loves planes.  He wants to be a pilot.  He also has a knack for understanding how things work, and loves to take things apart just to learn what's going on inside them.  He wants to go to college, and is already planning for it.  Oh, and he's decided to save any money he gets for a pick up truck...and at the rate he's going, he might just be able to buy one on his 16th birthday!!

Okay, okay, you're probably saying.  Enough about your kids, already.'s got a point.  And here it is.  God's given us these amazing children and the privilege of partnering with Him to bring them into their destinies.  That means being intentional.  Now.  In some things that might seem like they don't matter.  But we feel like it's all the 'little' decisions that do matter....taking music lessons?  Yeah, it matters.  Trying to do whatever we can to help Kate pursue art....lessons, running her to practices and performances?  Yeah, it matters.  Occasionally investing in 'learning toys' (which tend to cost more than your run-of-the-mill, mindless junk)....yeah, it matters.  And none of it happens without making some choices, and trying to be aware of the things that might be worth a sacrifice now to have benefits later.

This brings me to the angst currently being caused by this house is that it feels like, for our kids, it would be a HUGE and great investment into all of them...a studio space for Kate, plenty of room for Bryce's instruments and music equipment, lots and lots of space for Seth and Luke to explore...and room for us to have others into our home (a big desire of my heart, that our current home just isn't conducive too).  At the same time...the money makes it just out of reach.  Unless I would get another job...  Which we already covered...
And so before us lies a decision. It is so hard, because I can't 'make' anything happen.  And both things (not finding an additional job, and trying to get this house) seem like the 'ideal' to me...and yet don't seem compatible.  So, there's nothing to do but wait.  And pray....a lot.  Which is what I'm doing.  I don't see a way.  Maybe God has something different in mind...something I have no clue about.  I'm trying desperately to be okay with that.  Maybe this house is out of the realm of possibility.  Maybe God brought it before us to show us something else...not to actually have it.  Again...I really want to be okay with that...some days I even am!

So that's the process that I'm in.  Not really a fun one right now.  And lucky you!  You get to watch me on this roller coaster ride!  ;)  Or you can click away...that's okay too, and the beauty of a blog.  I'll keep you posted, and hopefully keep things a little less long-winded for a while. 


Christelle said...

Love you Jess

Zoanna said...

I can relate. I haven't "had" to work to make ends meet, but come January, our college tuition money will be gone and there will still be private school tuition for many more years. I also want a kitchen and can justify it as "an investment in the house for resale," but we don't need it. I have thought about taking a part-time job, but when I look at my week at what needs to be done (housework, taking son to/from school daily, grocery shopping, dinner, help friends in need, do projects around here), teach art voluntarily cuz I love it and they can't afford to pay me, attend ladies' Bible study, Weds night home group, plan this fall for a big anniv celebration for my folks, plus the spring for my son's wedding, I don't see where a job would fit in. Who would hire me to work from 10-2 on Wednesdays only? Hee hee! And for what? 8 bucks an hour? It would be a bigger headache to work than to find places to save money! I love the house picture. I can envision a happy family there, unless you're house poor. And I absolutely "get" the "raising kids in the way they should go" (meaning according to their God-given bent) with music lessons for this one, drama ops for that one, building toys and tools for another. It's essential, not optional, to make the sacrifices for shaping those lives accordingly. I've rambled too long on this comment, but suffice it to say, I'm in the trenches with you and am just a little farther along. I am so glad we gave sports to our sports guys, drum lessons and GOOD drums to our drummer, said yes to many babysitting ops for our daughter who is now is EArly Childhood Ed and loves it. And giving them a foundation with home education that I could help them learn to manage their time and learn to write for scholarships and merit scholarships which help reduce the tuition bill...which is where I started this comment--er, post!!! :)

Jessi said...

Thanks for the encouragement Zo. It's nice to know that at least I'm not alone... ;)