Young and single. That was my first phase of life overseas. I remember sitting under a thatched roof, looking out over my misty little village in the Andes mountains. I was just a few months into my new life here. I was making friends, but there was this lonely ache in me like I had never known. “No one here really knows me…”
“Life overseas would be better if I had a partner,” I told myself, “a husband to do this with.” And then I went off to tube down the Amazon River, to hike volcanoes, to soak in hot springs, to throw my heart into street children, to live large and free.
For phase two, I was back overseas, this time with that partner. Together we figured out how to make a home and a life. Now when the hard days hit, I had a shoulder to cry on. I poured myself into my students, going on more outings than I could count, having all kinds of beautiful carpe diem moments with them. But when finals week rolled around and I had to sit behind that grading stack, I would think, “ I can’t wait until I can stay home and have babies.”
Phase three: the babies came, three big, roly-poly healthy babies within four and a half years. I’d lift the milk-drunk bundle to my shoulder, nuzzling creamy cheeks, breathing in baby scent and think, “This, this is what I’ve been waiting for.”
Mothering is the best… and the absolute worst. There were days I didn’t know how I could make it through one more sleepless night, one more spit-up soaked shirt, one more dinner made from scratch with a baby strapped to my chest and a toddler crying round my knees.
Making a difference outside the walls of my home felt laughable when I couldn’t even make a dent in the laundry pile. “Things will be better when they are a little older, when they can sleep through the night and wipe their own butts,” I told myself.
And now, lo and behold, we’re there. Or almost there. I’m still wiping one butt, but I’m sleeping through most nights. I’d say I’m officially in stage four, the one where I’ve got slightly older kids, the one where I’ve got a part-time ministry in addition to mothering.
So now I can find my niche, get in my groove. Right?
Except this homeschooling thing is crazy harder than I thought and I just lugged groceries home, how are we out of food already? And sorry, buddy, but Mommy is terrible at building Lego. And stop, get off your brother now. And no. more. arguing!
What I wouldn’t give for some alone time…
A few more years… that’s what I need.
Because I’m not buying that lie anymore. (Women ahead of me in years nod their heads, because they know.)
Every phase of life is hard.
And every phase is beautiful.
Finding your niche is about learning to live in both, with feet in the hard and eyes on the beautiful.
My niche is not a mirage ever dangling in the distance. It’s here, today, right where I am in the messy middle of my beautiful hard.
It’s a heart thankful for the good that is there, all around.
It’s a recognition of how God has uniquely made me.
It’s an acceptance of my purposes for this season.
It’s a fulfillment in the completeness He has given me.
It’s the contentment that flows from all of this.
This is my niche.
When have you bought into the “someday” lie?
Where is your heart at in finding your niche?
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