It was a little over a year ago, about last June to be more exact, that I decided that I'd had enough anxiety over the loneliness that being a stay-at-home mother of two young children can cause, and I wanted something more out of my life. Six months previously I'd become the mother of a second sweet, little daughter and also counted myself as one of many housewives in Suburban American instead of rural, small-town U.S.A. (Let's not rehash my Philadelphia roots here and exactly why Ed and I had ended up in a small town, but I'm glad to have had the city as my foundation, the country as an experience, and comfortable suburbs as my reality). My daily interactions in the country were pretty much confined to the Dunkin Donuts workers at the Maidencreek, PA establishment twenty minutes away (ghastly considering that now I have about four Dunkins within six miles) and Sandy at the post office on my street. God bless Sandy and small conversations over how astonishing it was to see the teeny, tiny interior of the post office crammed full of a Christmas tree and holiday decorations and also about the time that I actually owed a penny on the postage of a letter I received.
God had moved my family and I to the home that we prayed for, the area that He had purposed for us, and like our forefathers who He always looked after, the place where He would prosper us. All I needed was faith, which meant not only the hope that God would provide for my happiness but also the boldness in my actions to allow Him to accomplish His plans.
So, what happened next? I became that lady with the toddler around her leg and the baby on her hip who was accosting other women (um, "conversing over cute dresses") at Kohl's, chatting moms up about breastfeeding in the sandbox at the park, talking about the weather three times a day to three different people.
I remember knowing that God wanted me to be bold. He wanted me to step out of my comfort zone, open myself up to new experiences, not worry what people thought about me. Who cared if a lady in the book check-out line in the library thought that I talked too loud? Would it ruin my life if the mom at the playground wasn't as friendly as I was? The feeling of joy that I received after putting myself out there socially, being there and making connections with other human beings, was worth any little ounce of self-doubt that creeped in and tried to steal these wonderful experiences from me before they'd even begun. As time went by, I realized that self-doubt left right before sweeps and rarely made a cameo appearance. God promised that He'd bring me into joy, reminded me again and again to simply allow Him to do it, and He only required that I be willing to receive what He would send.
Following God's plans for our lives doesn't mean knowing exactly what He wants us to do...it means just doing, and doing boldly.
"Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.' Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."