I See that Van


I am considering buying a mini van. It may actually be more than considering, my husband is cyber stalking every car lot within 100 miles. We had dinner tonight with close friends and before the night was over all four of us adults stood outside admiring their…van. Life is funny like that. 

I graduated high school when I was 16 years old. I remember going to work day after day as all of my friends continued on in school. I remember choosing to travel abroad and help a missionary couple with their children. I spent hours with these little ones and the stirring that happened to me during that time still surprises me. I remember reading to them and imagining my own life. The man I would marry the home we would live in. I remember at the time being so ready for that season. Within my first year of college I met my husband and the rest seems like history. At times it feels like this crazy whirlwind of a blur. Our oldest daughter will turn 6 this year.  I will be a mom of a 6 year old. I am not sure on what planet that seems correct, but it isn’t this one. I can still remember those beautiful moments when it was just her and I . The hours I spent holding her as she slept on my chest. She was so small. Now she dresses herself and helps me with her siblings, she truly is my right hand woman. She is beautiful and strong. 

I used to think life was like a jigsaw puzzle that you were handed each piece one at a time in perfect order. Each step perfectly fitting with the first and in the end it would be a perfect match to the pretty picture on the box. Wouldn’t that be something? What I have realized is life is a lot more beautiful than that. It is an incredible gift of choice. Everyday that I wake up I am given the ability to choose. I choose how to love and who that love is given to. I  get to choose how I will live my life. You see what I don’t remember being told as a teenager is how incredible my choice is. How much of a gift I have been given to daily walk this earth. I am now living a life that was created when I sat with those children at 16 years old. It is all choices. Those little everyday often insignificant choices that lead us into the right now. There are many choices that I have made that I am not happy about, but I cannot imagine the life I would lead without them. My picture perfect life at 16 would be crushed in comparison to the life I lead today. Compared to the children I parent and to the spouse I married, “that life” looks a candle next to the sun. The truth is we don’t have to graduate college by the time we are 22. We do not have to be married with children by the time we are 26. No-one should ever feel like they have to have their high paying career nailed down by the time they are 30. We were created to look different. We were created to parent different children with different gifts and callings. 

So to the woman who feels helpless and alone. The man who feels stuck and desperate, remember it is all about our choices. It is those everyday intentional moments that create the most beautiful stories. My 16 year old dream never… ever… ever… pictured a mini van, but do you know what?  The thought of driving one todayactually makes me smile. Life isn’t about the ideal, it is more about the living. My challenge to each of us, throw away that stupid list or light it on fire.  Celebrate the life that you have chosen and if you have built something you aren’t proud of make a different choice. Love those around you harder, longer, more intentionally. Don’t throw them away.  I believe one of the biggest benefits of thankfulness is moving ourself out of a state of victimhood. You are not a victim, you have the power to choose…and if part of that choice is a mini van, then I celebrate with you.