A little over a year ago, our city was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
Our house wasn’t flooded, but 4,000 homes in a 5-mile radius of us were. We stayed and rode out the storm, we housed friends that lost power, picked up friends who got evacuated from their homes by boat, and did whatever we could to help. Once the water receded, the clean up and relief efforts were in full swing.
At the time, I had a 5 year old, 3 year old, and 18 month old. Due to the ages and sheer volume of my kids, I didn’t think there was anything I could do with the relief efforts. I couldn’t help gut a house when I had my 18 month old with me.
My husband, Clint, was going to be busy mucking houses and spearheading relief efforts for the foreseeable future. I decided I was going to drive to Kansas City to my parent’s house for a week or so with the kids so we would be “out of the way.” I packed our suitcases and was prepared to leave the next morning.
But then I saw a text message on my husband’s phone. It was from one of our friends and it said, “It would be helpful to have childcare so more adults could help.”
I started thinking about what providing childcare would look like. I talked it through with my friend, Whitney, that was living at our house during the storm.
At that moment I decided, I’m staying here and doing this.
I sent a text message to the nursery director at our church, Jane, and asked if we could open the church nursery the next day for people that were flooded or were assisting with relief efforts. Jane had just gotten off the phone with her daughter who had asked her if she was going to do that exact thing. Truly, the Lord had this whole thing planned out way before we did.
So we did it. We opened up childcare to our community, served over 500 kids and had over 100 volunteers over a 5 day span. We even had an impromptu fire alarm at nap time on the day we had 195 children.
Hands down, it was one of the most impactful, exhausting, and meaningful weeks I’ve been apart of.
Every night I walked past my packed suitcases on my bedroom floor and was thankful I stayed.
I was fully prepared to do the thing that made the most sense, the easiest option. I had to choose to live into the purpose that was right in front of me.
When you have young kids, the excuses to not do things outside your four walls are plentiful. Babies are hard. It’s exhausting, draining, and at times can feel all-consuming.
So as a result, we opt-out of our own lives.
We watch Netflix instead of talking with our spouse at the end of a long day.
We say no to every social gathering.
We say no to every service opportunity.
We have another drink to destress.
We tells ourselves that “it’s just not my time to make a difference.”
We avoid hard conversations because keeping the peace is easier than broaching difficult subjects.
We take the easiest option presented to us, every time.
Opting-in to our lives requires us to do things that are hard.
The hardest things in life are the ones that shape us the most.
So say yes to things that sound hard, require more coordination, sound crazy on paper…because most likely, those are the things that are going to change you.
Opting-in is always worth it.
All too often we think our purpose is going to come eventually or worse, we think we don’t have one.
We can’t live a life that we don’t have, so live the one you do fully.
The hard lesson I’ve learned is that my purpose is exactly where I’m at, with who I’m with, with what’s in front of me. If we spend our lives waiting for some grandiose calling instead of pressing into the life that we are in, then what’s the point?
The life stage you’re in? The place you’re in? The people in front of you?
It’s what you’re called to at the moment, so opt-in to your own life.