Last week it took me away from home and my boys for four full days. And four days in toddler time is basically an eternity.
But after I got home, wrassled my boys, wrapped arms and legs around them, nibbled their ear lobes and maybe even licked their soft baby cheeks, I discovered something beside the missing pieces of myself.
I had found a peephole into the heart of God.
You see, for four days I had been listening to remarkable men and women share their stories; each offering a unique perspective on what matters to God. From science to education to social justice to peace. And they had accomplished remarkable things on behalf of these worthy causes.
It was enough to make anyone feel a tad teeny. But, the beauty of the experience is that I didn’t. I felt just right.
And it was all thanks to 3×5 index card.
Do you happen to have any lying around the house? If so, go grab one. I want to let you in on the secret.
Got it? OK, try this with me. It’s an exercise someone did with me a couple months ago.
On one side of the note card write down the single biggest, burning passion in your heart. What is it you would like folks to recognize in you? It doesn’t have to be grandiose; it just has to be real. What do you want to be true about yourself?
Ok, got it? Don’t read any further until you have completed this step.
Now, flip the card over.
On that side write down 3 questions you wish you could ask God right now. Three doubts or worries or struggles that you are wrestling with? Three turns you may have taken that you aren’t sure were the right ones.
Write those down. Be blunt.
The reason this exercise meant so much to me is that there was a long time in my life when I would have felt defeated that I hadn’t accomplished anything on par with the kinds of speakers we heard from last week.
I was born in South Africa at a time of political turmoil and change that would make history. I dreamed of being a human rights lawyer for as long as I can remember. And while I have a law degree I have not ended up working for the UN in Rwanda as I had once imagined.
Instead, I got two children I never imagined I would have loved this desperately and work for a non-profit all the while wishing I could stay home full time.
So, these are my 3 questions for Jesus exactly as I scrawled them down on my index card in December last year:
1 – Did I take a wrong turn 13 years ago?
2 – Did I miss the path to the Rwandan Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
3 – Is my call to serving mothers a consolation prize?
When I wrote these I was overwhelmed with a sense of having missed something I could have been. Something others said I should have been.
Read your questions again.
Now, flip the card. And listen to His answer.
Does that truth you are working toward wipe away the doubt behind your questions? It did for me.
Here is what I had written; what I wished to be true of myself:
She loves mothers and motherhood as much as the One who designed them and loved them in the first place.
It took my breath away to discover that I am not lost. I am right where He intended me to be. I have found my peephole into the heart of God.
Something that matters to Him, matters to me.
It may not be on the level of the national news, but it is crucial because it matters to the God who made me. So I burrow into that truth and crawl through it right into the presence and place where God’s call and my calling intersect.
Yesterday that was spread-eagled beneath a pile of flailing boy limbs as they leaped on top of me and loved me to the ground. Tonight it is telling the story to you.
And it feels like coming home in every sense of the word.