Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Gifts of Experience

Before I had children, I had a lot of ideas about what I thought parenting would be like. I had lots of opinions on what parents should and should not do. But Motherhood gave me a tremendous gift: the gift of imperfection and not needing all the answers. Six years into this journey and I find that I enjoy my life much more than I ever thought I could.

I've had the same experience with our time in Kansas City. I had some ideas about what our lives would be like here. And I've been surprised by the gifts this experience has given to our family. I wanted to share them with you today, at least in part. (Sprinkled throughout are some of my favorite quotes.)

1. The Gift of Appreciation

Removing ourselves from our home, from our family, from our friends, helped us appreciate them all so much more than we did before. It's not that we didn't love them, not at all; but this time apart allowed us to realize how deep that love goes and much we value those relationships. And stepping out of our comfort zones and living in a large city has helped us appreciate our small town life so much more. We have missed the quiet evenings, the fireflies, the friendly neighbors, the small town pizzeria, seeing someone you know every time you stop in the grocery store. That's the life we love and didn't even realize it until we moved.

2. The Gift of Perspective

Perspective. This gift has been invaluable. We had some really specific ideas about what we wanted from this life in Kansas City. And once we were here, and we were living that life, we realized that it wasn't what we wanted at all. I don't, not for one hot second, think of this as a failure or a mistake on our part. This move brought us so much perspective about what we truly value and you cannot put a price tag on that gift.

3. The Gift of Clarity

Kind of along the lines of Perspective, this experience has given our family Clarity. We now have a very clear picture of where we want to go as a family, of what our priorities and values are, of who and what we want in our lives for the long haul. We have clarified our vision for the future, and it's given us all a new excitement and passion for what's ahead. We now live with purpose like never before.

4. The Gift of Confidence

When we left Oklahoma, I think we were a little (or maybe a lot?) insecure. We knew we were headed into an adventure and a new life, but we also felt a little lost. We knew God was telling us to make this move, but we didn't really know why yet. And there were those who were, let's face it, a bit mean-spirited about us moving away. I don't know if they intended it, but they were kind of Debbie Downers about the whole thing. And we were really excited about it, so it was a huge blow to us. We felt hurt and misunderstood.

Flash forward to a year later and although I understand that they were just processing their own feelings about this change, I now realize that I shouldn't have let their response affect me the way it did. I was offended and resentful and that's not okay. This experience has taught me that ti's ok for me to fully embrace the life that God's called us to, even if other people don't get it. They don't need to get it. It's our journey.  It still bugs me when people make good news about them, but I don't carry it like a heavy weight anymore.

I feel like this experience is one I'll be unpacking for a long time. I've often said that I'm a Crockpot thinker, not a microwave. I really have to mull over things, and sometimes it takes me a really long time to process things. This experience is one of those I'll be processing and unpacking all of its gifts, for a very long time.

It may not have been everything (or anything) that I thought it would be, but it's been everything that I needed. It's been a gift and I want to receive it with open hands.



  1. Hi April! This should be a published article. Really great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to write it!

    I hope you don't mind, but I kinda put the comment you left on my blog yesterday front and center in today's post. You have a LOT of insight and beautiful/accessible revelations, and I wanted to be sure everyone saw it. Hope that's okay.

    You keep writing. :)

    1. Oh Brin, thank you so much for your kind words!! What an encourager you are...I so appreciate your support. You're a blessing.