I am in one of the most interesting chapters of my life. One I never thought I would find myself in, but am now very grateful I did. My husband got work in Ireland in February. It was a wonderful opportunity, knowing that we might have only this season in our lives to travel - just the two of us - with no real commitments. Not going just wasn't an option. But what I never realised was what I would have leave behind, let go of, and then what I would find. My chapter begins.
Before coming to Ireland my identity was an entrepreneur, a business women who thought I could do anything I wanted. Business was in my genes. I was passionate and totally in love with my small business and the entire team that made it up. I was goal orientated, and always tried to find a leadership position in everything I did. Failure wasn't an option. Being entirely dependant on anyone wasn't either.
Four months before coming to Ireland, my passion for my business slowly changed. I think God was slowly weaning me from my business, and it was hard letting go. I got a clear message that I should bless it to the manager who certainly had put her hard work into, and deserved it. It made sense when we were moving here why I had to let it go, to hang on would have stopped the journey I was about to embark on.
I landed in Ireland with a list of goals I would have achieved by the following Friday. I would have found us a home, got settled in, found my running route to train for a marathon in Dublin that I had searched for as a goal, and found a job. I thought it would be easy.
I found us a lovely home and settled in, an awesome farm running route, but not a job. And the struggle with my identity began. In the begining I would repeat a line I am ashamed to say I had before told other unemployed friends, "if you don't have a job, you spend 8 hours a day finding a job as your job". I applied it and put that pressure on myself. The immigration officer finally confirmed to me that no foriegners were allowed to to be employed in the recession. No more work permits were being issued. My pride still kept me applying. Until I asked myself why... I realised that I was afraid of what people back home would think when they heard I wasn't working. 25 years old, totally capable, and at home just spending her husbands money. I thought my family would be ashamed of me and of who my husband chose as a wife.(This being very unfair to my family who I know love me, but being filled with self doubt, I doubted them too). My last attempt at achieving something was to train for my marathon race. At least I could tell the voices in my head that I was achieving something. I kid you not, two weeks later I fell running in the rain and tore the ligaments in my right ankle. I could do nothing!!
I eventually got to a place where I had convinced myself that it was okay, I had silenced the self critical voices in my head. I think I may have even silenced them long enough to start feeling happy. Until I experienced a very defining moment. I had befriended a lovely professional working women, who may not have known my internal struggle. After having a lunch with her and a lawyer friend, we were walking down the street, and not in an offensive way (I think she actually meant it as a compliment) she said "It is strange I get along with you so well. You don't have any of the accolades of the studied professional lawyer, yet we get along so well"...
I tried to take it as a compliment, but deep deep down in my heart it broke me! I felt it confirmed the voices.
I figured the only way I would ever be of worth was if I finally finished a degree, because only then it seems you are valued, no matter how normal you are. If I got a degree maybe I wouldn't be looked down on, I would finally find the affirmation I needed to feel like I belonged, would be employable even though I cannot get a work permit, and deserve the husband I love. I began with my list of goals again. I realised I was lost, totally totally lost. I was likely at my lowest point. I was drowning in self doubt. I was convinced I was a failure, anything I had ever achieved was pointless, not even God needed me. I was worthless... a worthless housewife.
Well, I tell you, Thank heavens for that moment! It took me on a journey that has given me the greatest gift! Knowing that my value isn't found in a job, affirmation from anyone, or a sense of belonging. I have nothing to my name 11 months later, not a marathon medal, not a degree. I volunteer at a coffee shop, I love it there, we laugh. I have found such joy in just encouraging, spending time and growing with the people I meet.
I have no accolades to my name and I am in my happiest place. I have come to know the truth that my husband loves me for who I am, just the way I am. Nothing more matters. Thats incredible! My family accepts me, I don't have prove myself, what my profession is doesn't matter, time with us matters. And coming to the place where I know for sure that the only qualification that matters is the qualification of the kingdom of heaven. In that place I find my greatest joy and purpose.
God never did not need me. He was just waiting for me to let go of my pride, so that I could find my real joy, self acceptance, and where my true value lies... in the One who made me. I know God has a mission and a plan for me. I know it in my heart. But I also am very grateful to know that he stopped me trying to achieve it in my own strength, to achieve it for the sake a being successful, and finding worth in that success. There would be no joy or honour in that. I wouldn't want that either.
Thank you Lord that we are fearfully, wonderfully made and that we are worth everything to you, without any 'extras', but worthy just because we belong to you and were made by you in love.