A few years ago I was twenty-five. I was happily married, a college graduate, and on my third year of inhabiting the corporate cubicle farm.
And I felt completely lost.
I had no interest in a career. I had passions but no real desire or direction to pursue them.
My friends were doing incredibly interesting, productive things with their lives. They were getting law degrees and moving to Chile. They were having multiple children and recording music that was played on the radio. They were becoming licensed therapists and sitting on boards of awesome non-profits (in addition to their high-powered full-time jobs). As far as I could tell, they had every bit of the drive and purpose that I was obviously lacking.
I wanted to love my work. But I didn’t. I wanted the perfect humanitarian opportunity to come along. But it didn’t. I wanted to feel a sense of clear direction for my life–to wake up in the morning and know that I was where I needed to be.
But I didn’t.
So, I waited. And time marched on. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. We decided to try to have a baby. Then we had a baby, and we decided I would stay home with him. And more days turned into more years. That baby will be two this summer, and one month after his second birthday I will complete my twenty-ninth year of life.
And now I see.
And I wish I could whisper into my twenty-five-year-old ears and say,
“Hang in there.
“I know you feel like you’re behind in life. I know you feel less than the career-minded wives. I know many of your friends have dreamed dreams of motherhood since they were old enough to rock a baby doll, and I know that was not you. And I know that all makes you feel like you are not fit or meant to be a good wife or mom, but listen to me:
That is a lie.
“You have a creator who formed you–all of you. He knows and has always known your fears, your interests, your talents, your passions, your desires. He has known for all of eternity that you would work hard in a job you loathed in order to support your husband through school. He knew before the creation of time that you would feel the way you are feeling. It’s okay. You’re doing the right thing. Be faithful. Draw near to Him. Enjoy your husband. Live your life. Because this, too, shall pass. And, oh Courtney, so much joy is coming.
“Your marriage will continue to mature. It will grow into something beautiful, and the more beautiful it becomes the more you look forward to the growth that still lies ahead.
“You will start to feel comfortable in your own skin. Your insecurities will still be there, but their voices will no longer drown out that of the Lord’s saying you are beautiful, made in His image, covered in the cloak of Jesus’ righteousness. You will finally begin to discover your gifts and you will desire to use them for the good of others and for the glory of God, and it will be the most wonderful feeling of purpose you’ve ever experienced.
“And you will become a mom to a little boy who has your eyes and his daddy’s smile (and feet). He will have colic and fevers, and it will be hard.
But he will fill your heart with a love you’ve never known.
“He will be sharp as a tack. He will laugh with ease, and his kisses will turn you to mush on the spot. He will test your patience and make you a better person, and every time you wonder how you could ever be the mother that he needs, the mother he deserves, the Lord will gently take you by the hand and say softly, directly into your face, that He chose you. He created you and He created your son, and He intended from the very beginning of the world for you to be the Mama of this little boy.
“When your two-year-old alarm clock sounds every morning and your feet hit the floor, they will feel guided, ordered by the God of the Universe.
When the flexibility of staying at home affords you the opportunity to serve your church or your community or your friends, to be faithful and willing in the mundane, it will feel bigger than the act itself, weightier with two small eyes watching and learning.
When you get hugs from chubby arms and hear ‘I luh yew, Mama,’ as you shut his bedroom door,
when you’re making lunches in the afternoon and you’re cleaning up sticky messes,
when you’re working hard to keep your cool as you discipline for persistent disobedience and when you’re bursting with joy and pride as you watch your baby learn a little more about himself and this world,
you will love what you do.
You’ll see. Keep doing what you’re doing.
And, for heaven’s sake, sleep in.”
What would you say to your twenty-five-year-old self?