Sunday, January 31, 2010

"What do you do?" and "Do you have any kids?"

These are the top questions that reach my ears day-in and day-out. And as much as I hate those questions, I'll admit, I sometimes ask them myself. Although less frequently these days. I suppose I've become a bit more sensitive on these subjects.

A few years ago, it was somewhat easier to answer these questions. I could say that I was working in the Christian publishing field with a major Christian publisher and be done with the first one. As for having any kids, I'd say "I'm not married," and that would shut them down fast.

Now things aren't so easy...or as simple.

Those who know part of my story have heard that I met my husband on and after knowing him for 11 months, married him, and moved three hours away from everything I knew. And this was, frankly, one of the smartest things I have done in all my life. He's amazing, a keeper, a faithful partner in all things.

But then I moved...found myself sitting in a car insurance office transferring my insurance over to his...and the inevitable happened. "So what do you do?" the woman asked. To which I didn't actually reply because I had no idea what to say. I wasn't yet freelance writing, I had left my job, and I was actually getting settled in to my new home.

"Let's say you're a housewife," the woman casually said.

"No!" popped out of my mouth before I could censor myself. "Don't put THAT down!" And the husband began to laugh, guffaw really, his face all lit up with a mischievous grin. After he recovered, he told the nice lady to put down "freelance writer," thereby saving my sanity and the joy of my new marriage, in one fell swoop.

But to be honest with you, I still haven't recovered from that incident, and I'll tell you why: my life has not consisted of tending to a home as my primary occupation, and I'm not sure it ever will, although it could for a short season. And, truthfully, I do believe that I am presently a "homemaker" and "a seminary student" and "a freelance writer" and "a sometimes chaplain" and a "biblestudy teacher" and a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend.

Truth be told, my life is a great hodge-podge of activities these days, and it's a wonderful life. Just not easy to define. Not easy to categorize. Not easy to pin down.

And when I am asked if I have any kids, I say "no" or "not yet," and risk the stares of those who think I'm too old to be considering children. And then I smile, take a deep breath, and remind myself that I am my Abba's daughter, made in His image, as a strong ezer (helper, warrior, and rescuer) in the service of His Kingdom. It may not sound like much to the world at large, but in my heart it defines who I am, my next act of service for Him, and the importance of the work He has put before me, however varied and inconsequential it might seem.

"What do I do?" I literally ask my heavenly Father to order my days. "Do I have any kids in my future?" Maybe you should ask my Father in heaven. Only He knows. But either way, He'll be entirely good. That's one question I can answer before it's even asked.

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