The last two weeks have been some of the most hectic, with the most big-ish changes in such a short time.
Two weeks ago, on a Saturday, I got my nose pierced. I had talked about it for a couple of years and had never done it for every reason, and finally decided I wanted it. My husband loves it, and I really do too.
The following Tuesday, I began working at my new, and first full-time job. I quit my part-time job in retail, hung up my red Michael’s vest, and said goodbye. And I was so happy. I was happy to finally be done working in an environment where I didn’t feel encouraged or appreciated, to be done working a job that felt like just a job and lacked deeper purpose I was searching for. So I work at a daycare now.
I work with about 6 two year olds and a 5 month old baby every day, for nine hours (except for a half day on Fridays, praise). And I love it. I love their laughs and their questions, their love for favorite foods and for outside. I love that they learn how to listen, share, obey instructions, and how to count and share their feelings. Even when they ignore our directions, they are loved. These small kids have mommies and daddies, and stories and different struggles and intetests. They’re all different, and I love that. And I love that my boss and I get to be with them all day each week. I love that I get a front row seat to see them grow, because it is too cool.
Here, I’ve found that depth of purpose. These are little lives that we care for and are responsible for, and not just ensuring they’re alive at 5:30. We’re responsible for teaching, loving, and assuring. For their minds and hearts, for their diapers and comfort. And I love it.
But it’s exhausting some days. And after my first day, I fell on the couch and was too exhausted to even tell Alec about it. I just cried and he held me.
Additionally, since my first day, I’ve been sick. For over a week I had a horrible, tight throat and a cough that wouldn’t stop. I was trying every remedy with no luck, sucking on cough drops until I ran out. Around last Thursday, I finally was hoping I was feeling better.
But it turned into a sinus issue on Saturday night. Runny nose akin to a faucet, sinus headache, and a pleghm-ridden cough.
So today I’m back at work (with kids mind you, who seem to always be sick), and my upper lip is raw from blowing my nose. I’m drinking apple cider vinegar, taking Mucinex, drinking water and hoping that I’ll be better soon. Struggling to believe my Jesus for that because it’s been a long struggle, but He is good anyway.
And just a week ago, Alec and I adopted our rescue pup Jasper. We went to the local Humane Society just to look, and left with our year and a half old pitbull/terrier mix. We’re learning how to work as a team to be parents to Jasper, and seeing how we each do things differently. We’re learning how to love him, how to be stern with him, and how to teach him to lay on his stupid bed at night, because apparently it’s not as appealing as ours or the couches.
And sweet baby Jas also has an infected toe from who knows what, so we give him antibiotics daily and dress his wound with Bacitracin, some gauze, and my socks.
But he’s a good boy, and really is the perfect dog for us. He is gentle and sweet, and generally quiet and is pretty good at listening. We love him, and we’re so thankful we have him.
Financially, it has been intense these two weeks. Adopting a dog, buying his supplies, and paying for his antibiotic and other medicines. Transferring the title of my car from my mom to us, paying to register it in Michigan, and getting insurance for it. It’s amazing how much everything adds up, and how it can make you feel just a little tense when you see the figures.
While these two weeks have been something else, there are glimpses of Jesus and His kindness. A sweet friend of mine from high school sent us a belated wedding card with $200 in Target Visa giftcards. So, the very next day I got to go to Target and buy lovely new pillows to brighten our living room, and a bulletin board to put above our desk to better organize the space. And it felt good.
On Friday evening, I voiced to Alec that I wanted to out to T.J.Maxx and just browse and walk around. And he doesn’t like to shop, let alone walk around with no real intent to purchase anything. But in an incredible effort to pursue me, in which I saw Jesus, he continued to tell me he would go with me and not rush me or anything. And he did. We were there over an hour and a half, and he never pushed me or rushed me to make up my mind. He never told me not to buy something. He never said he was over it or wanted to leave. That man, that husband of mine, walked around T.J.Maxx with me and was just who I needed. He celebrated the things I bought with me, like a travel mug and a birthday card, and helped carry things to the car. I felt so loved.
On Sunday, just yesterday, our church was in week two of its series on the book of John, searching to see who Jesus is and what He says in his I AM statements (i.e. I am the way, I am the door, I am the true vine). And because of how John chose to write this gospel, he inserts little snippets of John the Baptist just until chapter 3.
And do you know what I learned about John the Baptist? He was entirely focused on who he was NOT in light of who Jesus was. When asked by the Pharisees who he was, John 1:20 says he responded, “I am not the Christ.” He didn’t say who he was until later in the story, but he knew who he wasn’t.
He points out Jesus as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, and when his disciples leave him to follow Jesus, he knows it is right. And when one of his disciples pointed out that ‘Hey Teacher, you know that Jesus guy you baptized? Yeah well, everyone is following Him now. What’re we gonna do?’ And you know what John the Baptist says? “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease (Jn. 3:29-30).”
And with that, John the Baptist’s ministry closed.
And throughout the whole message regarding him yesterday, I was teary thinking how much I want to be like John the Baptist. How much I want to know who I am not, because Jesus is. He is the I AM. How much I want to rejoice at the bridegroom’s claim on me, and how much I want to point to Him. It’s Him!! He is the One! He is the Lamb, the I AM, He is Jesus.
How much I want to bear witness that I am not. How much I want to see what I lack, to have greater and deeper confidence in Jesus. To recognize Him, like John did on the Jordan.
I love John the Baptist’s story. And when in prison, he sent one of his disciples to Jesus to ask, ‘Are you the Christ, are you the one we’ve waited for? Or do we wait for another?’ And instead of freeing John from prison, Jesus told the messenger to tell John that the blind see, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised. I AM. I am who I say I am, and I am the Jesus you’ve awaited and pointed to. But I am not freeing you John, because this is how my Father is going to not only work in you, but point to me as well.
And as I’m sitting at work, during the kids’ nap time, I’m pondering what if these two hectic, sometimes frustrating, sometimes sad, and always overwhelming weeks have been to serve the purpose of me just knowing Jesus and pointing to Him?
What if these weeks have been meant to tell my heart that I am not, but He is.
“He confessed, and did not deny,but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ'” Jn. 1:20
I confess, and will not deny, I am not the Christ. I am not my own hope, peace, or refreshment. I am not my own stability or joy. I am not my own savior.
But behold, the Lamb of God has indeed come, full of grace and truth to rescue all of the I am nots of the world.
And I’m so thankful for that.
I am so thankful that even when I don’t point to Jesus, that doesn’t affect Him being everything I am not. He is not swayed away from being mine and calling me Loved.
Because He, I AM, must increase and I must decrease.
“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16