In my last blog I told you I was motivated to reflect on the recent seasons in my life, after reading 'My Seventh Monsoon' by Naomi Reed . I looked at 2010 in my last post, and will ponder 2012 in the next.
But for now, reflecting on 2011. A year in which I can look back now, and see what I yearned to know in advance. I was thinking that conceivably it was my biggest year of change. But then I would have to discount getting married, becoming a parent, carrying a gun for the first time... Hhhmm, perhaps it was just a very different change to make. I will leave the bigger changes that came with moving to Jakarta for another post. My list is perhaps of the less obvious seasons, but they were significant...
Not for the first time. The inevitable when you move. More so this time as we changed cultures too. Tiring quickly of giving our life history to every person who asked, and longing to have a meaningful conversation with someone. Actually, not just someone. Preferably a person who can sit with coffee in hand, mutually expressing every thought whether it was rational or not. History brings that, but we don't have time for history here. So in the midst of the loneliness came reminders that He is sufficient, that my husband is my best friend, and that I enjoy my boys (nearly) all of the time. Plenty of memories being built within the walls. Effort required outside of them. In time, gorgeous people were revealed amongst the 18 million people living in this crazy city, and oh how I value those beautiful friends.
The backdrop changes and we find ourselves in a season of adjustment. Often, the adjustments are large and they take our time and energy. Sometimes it feels like its taking all of our energy and we don't have anything left over. Maybe the thing to remember is that we do eventually get there. Naomi Reed.
Surely a huge milestone in any mother's life. My 'yang terkecil', or little one, started school. Backpack down to his thighs, height extended with pride, stepping on to the bus (yes, the bus!) with his three big brothers. I sigh, reflect on five years and realise it is not really about the five years. It's actually the ten and a half years of motherhood, around nine years of nappies, four years of breastfeeding, and 35 months of pregnancy (I could have produced two and bit elephant calves in that time). He doesn't need me to stay in the classroom or tell him what to do; he's been watching the routines since he was a mere babe. We're both ready. I step outside the classroom, no sling, pram or stroller in sight. Feeling a certain sense of accomplishment. And ready to have a very quiet cup of coffee as I reflect on my time surrounded by little people, and to anticipate a very different season ahead.
Many will read the title and not need to read further. There was a lack of joy that had become habitual. It needed to change. In a rather convoluted way I found myself reading 'One thousand gifts' by Ann Voskamp, and it altered my perspective. I discovered abundant blessings that I had been missing in the monotony. They were always there, but I had become entrenched in serving my groom and four boys, to the point where I was too busy looking at the kitchen bench, or homework pages, or soccer fields, and I stopped looking up. And it's not about rainbows and sunsets. It's giving thanks for friends missed whilst overcome with loneliness. Seeing an opportunity to love when illness abounds. And grappling with the truth of God's love whilst surrounded by millions in poverty. Did I mention that the habit of gratitude also lead me to write this blog? Which in itself has been a gift.
Adding to our ordinary pictures can be an enriching process. It can be part of a very enriching season, particularly if we choose to see it that way. We begin to see beyond what we thought was there. Naomi Reed
What about you? What were your seasons this past year?
- Scrabble with my boys whilst lying on the bed.
- A chest infection for one of mine, which meant a week home from school and more time to talk.
- Sun on my bare shoulders - such a rarity in Jakarta that it was precious!
- Boys growing in character, by taking responsibility for their mistakes.
- A beautiful email from a dear friend - oh how I miss her!
- Surprising bananas, with names and personalities.
- The White Box Foundation moving into ziplock bags - tell you more later.
- Our six, working as a team to do good.
- News of a much awaited babe for my groom's cousin - joy!
- A crazy but fun evening with eleven children and too few adults.