Sunday, January 11, 2009

What if...

Ever have one of those days where you question your life, question who you are, question if you are ‘enough’ and question if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing?

Well, I had one of those days and it went like this…

I was walking down one of the endless isles of Walmart, tossing items into our cart (okay- well actually we had TWO carts) and while I was scanning for the best prices suddenly my cart about bumped into this woman in front of me. I looked up, smiled, and started to apologized for nearly running her down-when she turned around in such a huff I didn’t really get the chance to finish.

I felt about 2 inches tall.

Not only had I about run her over in my clumsiness… but here I was in my faded jeans with holes in the knee, tennis shoes, my hair thrown up in a pony tail and my shirt had snot on the shoulder (sad but true). And there she was in this beautiful white, name brand suit, with perfectly manicured red finger nails. Her hair was cut in a cute chic style and the color was perfect. She obviously worked out way more than I do because everything on her was ‘in place’ where it sags on me. She was tan, boasted of riches, diamonds on every finger, and her make-up was flawless.

And there I stood... 2 grocery carts full, old clothes, wrinkled, no make-up, and lets not forget the snot on my shirt. I watched as she leaned over the refrigerated section to select her fat free yogurt, and I couldn’t help but notice that every guy in the store ‘noticed’ too.

As I began to walk away I glanced into my cart and was embarrassed to see that while my cart was full of chips and sugary cereals- hers was full of organic veggies and fat free yogurt. (Okay so there was a bag of baby carrots somewhere in the bottom of my cart which of course I frantically searched for it just so I could toss it on top to prove that we did eat healthy occasionally).

Heading down the isle, hauling my over flowing carts, and slowly making my way towards the check out lane, I couldn’t help but to wonder what if I had taken a different path in life... What would it be like to live a life of leisure, a life where I had time for pedicures and daily work outs?A life where people envied me, where I had influence, where I mattered.

What would my life have been like it I had taken a different path?

As I paid our ridiculously large grocery bill, piled the groceries into my ridiculously large vehicle, and drove down the highway towards home, I found myself glancing in the mirror and noticing even more flaws. The wrinkles, the black circle under my eyes from being up with a sick child, and the need for a new hair style. I heard myself mumble under my breath “like I’ll ever have time for that” and continued down the road with a dark cloud over my head -as well as my heart.

But as I pulled that ridiculously large vehicle into our drive way I looked around and suddenly felt a smile started to form at the corners of my mouth. All of a sudden my heart felt 3,000 times lighter. There, before my very eyes, was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. 11 beautiful children of God, different in color and shape, different in personality and talents- but each and every one of them with a unique purpose in this world -waiting and waving at me. They came running towards me – so excited that I was home- that I suddenly felt like the queen of England. They grabbed my hand, hugged my neck (yes probably wiping more snot on my shoulder) and offered to help me carry the groceries in. They jumped for joy as I pulled the chips and sugary cereal out of the bag. :0) Suddenly, name brand suits, perfect red fingernails, a perfectly fit and trim body, and in style hair do’s began to seem a whole lot less important.

The Lord gave me something better and for that I will forever be thankful for. It was then that I knew for sure that yes I had indeed taken the right road home.

“Be very careful, then, how you life- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

39 comments:

Valerie said...

So funny to read this (not that it was funny, haha funny) because I read your posts and your blog and think, wow, if I could just be like her. A woman who in my eyes -- has it together, is walking and living every day her faith, is beautiful, is an amazing testament to motherhood, etc., etc. There have been many days I have read your posts and been envious of YOU! And of course, like yourself, I have to remind myself that I can't compare me to anyone else, but that I have worth in the eyes of God and that He gave me this specific life and family and purpose and it is so much to be thankful for. So anyway, just thought I would share that. :)

Anonymous said...

Just for the fun of it....I will let you know how it is to be envied. I ENVY YOU!!! You have 11beautiful children that God chose for you and ONLY YOU to mother. He must have thought you could do the job...very well. He must have known that you really don't like red nails...and a white suit...yuck that would show every stain!!! You got it going on girl...you have the love of all your children and GOD. When you lay your head down at night; you can smile because you just spent another day personally helping out our Saviour with these precious children.

I also have two adopted children...so God does love me too!! He just knows I'm not as organized as you!!!

Donna
Alabama

Amy said...

So true! Sometimes it's hard to keep the right perspective though.

Christine said...

Great post. We have a lot in common... including 11 children.

Michelle Riggs said...

This is why we love you.

Abby and Sami are still begging to go back to your home. We can't wait to see you guys again.

Love you all.

By the way, Abby will NOT stop talking about Travis. LOL

Live to love and laugh said...

How true. There are days when I think how much easier my life could be. I get down in the dumps and question why? Then Jake toddles over and gives me a slobbery kiss or the five bigger ones will say "mom I love you" without being asked. I remember at that moment why I don't mind the snot, the old clothes or the dark circles.
I would rather go through life with the baggage of carrying my children than the baggage of not living in God's perfect will for our family.
So glad to hear things are going well.

The Engelhardt 4 said...

I must admit, I have these days too, but how great is our God that He reminds us in the best ways possible what His plan is for us!!

Jill said...

I'm with Donna from AL.

I was the woman you talked about until three years ago - God took hold of our lives and our hearts.

I wouldn't go back to that perfect looking life that was full of brokeness on the inside for anything.

Who knows what her life is like on the inside where it counts. Many Christians I have met are just like her too - and when you open them up to see inside they are shallow and without the depth of His heart inside of them. They are still too wrapped up in this world and less concerned with what He is trying to speak to their hearts.

There are some Christians who truly have it all together - look good inside out. And yet, I don't envy them either. I'm proud to be sitting here in my pj's waiting to hear the voices of 7 soon to be 8 blessings wanting to hug me and get kisses from me. I'm blessed to be the one teaching them about Jesus and how they are loved by Him so much. I'm blessed that the prayers of our 7 yr old daughter who came home a little over a year ago - is thankful that she was brought here - not just to any family but to The ONE God had for her.

There is nothing about looking cute and all together that is appealing to me if I am an empty shell on the inside.

I want to be knee deep in God's will for us - which often looks messy - yup snot on the shoulder comes right along with that!

You are a beautiful example of His love! No need to feel bad for having a moment of wondering what it would be like to have days that "look" good. If we are all being honest - we ALL do. I miss vacations alone with my husband. I miss some things that we could do before all of the blessings came along. No matter what I miss - none of it is better than what He has done in my life and our family. Not one thing.

I'm so glad to have met you!!!!

Hugs precious friend!
Jill

Bonky's Mom said...

one of your best posts...beautifully written...and the great thing is...I know it's real. You are wholeheartedly sold out to God's call and it's beautiful to see.

love you

Angela :-) said...

It's easy to envy people who have more kids than I do. ;-) I was having a day like that yesterday, but my 'wishes' were more along the lines of will I ever be able to get everything done, am I trying to do too much, what should my priorities be...

Angela :-)

Mama Misty said...

Ok I admit I haven't read all the other comments before me because I needed to post and run (kids are making interesting clanking sounds...can you relate:))

But There is so much to be said for those of us who aren't afraid (or even give a second thought) to heading to the store in our daily mom uniform, snot and all. I think it takes real class to know that no matter what the public may see in you, more importantly you have a brood at home cheering for you. And they are the ones that matter in life. Not to mention the God who smiles at you for doing your best to please him.

Don't you kind of also feel sorry for the white suit lady? She has all that time to take care of herself, but does she have anyone else to take care of and love? I almost feel sorry for her. But that does not excuse her rudeness.

I love reading your blog!

Mandy said...

This is a beautiful post. I think we all question "the road not taken" (which is one of my very favorite poems)every once in a while. While the woman in the supermarket may have looked all together, she may be alone and miserable. You never know. The only thing you know for sure is that "you took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." And just for the record -- people DO admire and greatly respect you!

Geo's Mom said...

I feel the exact same way as Valerie... R u kidding me. I a career woman of one 2yr old and due to have my second this April-am finding inspiration in your running of such a loarge household. How you "make time" for crafts or reading. And I a simple mom of-soon to be two boys would love to do SO many things but find just enough time to brush teeth give hugs and marvel at how smart my son is.
So be content that you have many admirers (normal everyday people) that read your blog and wish they could be just like you!!!

Recovering Noah said...

Goodness, Amy. Could I possibly love you anymore??

You always write exactly what I need to hear at the exact precise moment.

Thanks for always reminding me what really counts.

Leslie :-)

Adeye Salem said...

Hi Amy,
I am soooo enjoying following your life and journey in the Lord. Your family is absolutely beautiful.
I LOVED this comment. I too wonder what my life would look like had I have taken a different road in the life. BUT, I would not change it for the world. YES, children ARE a blessing from the Lord. You are very blessed with your brood :)
Adeye Salem

Linda said...

I,too have days like that- I question my sanity- at least I guess the world's version of it. I pray daily for His perspective to keep me in focus..it is so easy to get distracted from His purpose for us...we are bombarded on every side with shallow materialism so that is what looks to be normal...but we know our "normal" is different and has everlasting significance- I am glad I am not the only one!:)
Linda

Mary Ann said...

I have had those days before!!! But then you start to think that maybe that person that has it all really may have nothing!!! I have to remember that everytime I look at my kiddos, I have everything.

But a nice fresh hair cut does make you feel a whole lot better once in a while!

Carey said...

Can totally relate to moments like that. But you are living a wise life. And you know what? By the way she reacted to you bumping into her? I'd dare say you're the happier one as well...

Anonymous said...

GREAT post, Amy! I ssoooooo relate!

Lisa H.

Serena said...

I understand completely. But you know what I have noticed from my husband? I don't know if he notices this but I do and I love it. If I am dressed up and ready to go somewhere with make-up, jewelry, and all he says "You look nice." If I am in my ratty sweats and haven't seen a hairbrush in hours and I'm up to my elbows in all the busyness of life he says, "You are so beautiful." I think our husbands love us for a lot more than we think they do and who gives a crap what anybody else thinks! I love you and I think you are beautiful! -Serena

Pam said...

You said, "A life where people envied me, where I had influence"... if only we could see that... what influence we get at parents... and envy... if only we could see hearts... blessings, sister... blessings.

The gFamily said...

Hmmm, I envy you, you influence me in so many great ways, and you matter to SO many people!! :) So, you don't have wonder what it feels like anymore!! ;)

I loved how real you are in this post! I loved what you taught me in this post, and you are so right! You are so blessed with those 11 kiddos in your life! The Lord speaks through you so beautifully!!

To answer your question, GIlli's dress is Zaza Couture and it was a gift from her Nani. You gotta love nice gifts!!

Jenny said...

I hate red fingernail polish and business suits!!!! Go team snotty shirts!!!!

Melinda said...

Thanks for sharing that Amy. I am with you I have some of those moments of "what if" but thankfully they are fleeting and I remind myself of how blessed I am and I then Thank God for the life I am currently living. Glamourous it is not, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. You are a blessed lady and I can almost bet you still looked beautiful no matter what you had on and with or without make-up.

Christine said...

Having it all together is HIGHLY overrated! :)

Holly said...

You have the real treasures...both here on earth AND in Heaven.
I know you know that...sometimes you just need that visual reminder...like the 11 kids running to greet you when you pull into the drive!
And if your life had taken a different path...one of leisure...many children would have had a much rougher life.
Motherhood is such a high calling!
Love you.
Holly

angie said...

I love this post Amy and can totally relate- I have often had a heavy heart while leaving costco with a full of food, 15 passenger van and been so tired. When I see a bunch of faces looking out the front window, I am reminded that there are a lot of people that need me! It's a blessing to be needed and loved, snot, spitup and all! I think the treasures and blessings that we've been blessed with are worth even more than we know!

Amy Clemons said...

Girl.....consider yourself envied. By the way, who really likes red fingernails? I know so many people who seem to have it all but they are all missing the same thing, HAPPINESS. These people always seem miserable even though materialistcally they should want for nothing. Who envies that? I wouldn't trade my happiness for their misery any day.

Anonymous said...

This post brought tears to my eyes! You are so much more richer than that woman, in every way!

--Lani Parnell

momof4jones said...

Wonderful post and one to which so many of us can relate. I am a 6th grade teacher, but am home with my sick little girl again today and as much as I hate her sickness, I LOVE just being home and being mom! It is the highest calling of all. You are AMAZING just in case you ever forget it.

Phyllis said...

I used to live that life of luxury...minus the diamonds and red nail polish. I worked out every day in my quiet home, usually went to the store dressed fairly nice and just had to pick up a few things since I was shopping for one. These days I don't have time to work out, haven't been to a grown up movie in almost 4 hears, I'm sitting here now in sweats, hair not done, no makeup, have to go to the store tonight, help with homework, get the house cleaned, no time to work out...but way happier now with the sweetest girl in the world calling me mommy. Believe me Amy, you are envied, you do have influence, and you definitely matter.
Phyllis

Amy said...

I'm guilty of wondering about the "what ifs" some days, mostly on those days when I am questioning my ability as a mom. Thank you for the wonderful reminder - the Lord has definitely blessed far more than we could ever imagine.

kim p said...

Amen! Yes you have! God has blessed you immeasurably more in the path you've chosen. Hugs to you. I'm proud of you! : )

Angela said...

A friend of mine suggested I read your blog as I am having a rough time right now. I am a quiverful mama with ds9, dd7, ds4, dd2, and baby girl due April 09. We also have an adopted in our heart son that lives in another state who is 16. We are also planning on doing foster/adopt and adopting a sibling set from Liberia in the future.

I was feeling (am feeling) pretty sorry for myself today. I was feeling like God was expecting more out of me than I will ever be able to become. I am feeling under appreciated and overwhelmed.

Then I came here and read your post. I could not control the tears. Meanwhile, my dd who is 2 years old and potty training came over to me in a long sleeve shirt, tiny undies (she is about 20 lbs) and big pink moon boots. She said "Sad?"

I scooped her up and hugged her. I giggled about her silly outfit. LOL Then she looked at me, wiped my tear, and said "All done crying!" "Mama...better?"

Yes. I am a little better. :)

Thank you for reminding me what is really important.

God bless you and your family,
Angela

Kari said...

Amy - That was Beautiful - thanks for the good cry and the memories of me thinking the same thing.
We are blessed!!!!!

His Hands His Feet Today said...

I've wondered those exact same things ... probably with snot in the same place! lol!

Praise God that we chose the path not easily followed... the one that brings life to the lifeless!

Hugs,
K

Laurel said...

GREAT post! I've certainly "been there, done that".

At a doctor's appt. once, the fit and trim doctor told me, "All you need to do is get out and ride your bike 5-10 miles per day." Yes, ALL I needed to do. When, exactly, was I supposed to fit that into my schedule? How many of my preschoolers could I fit into a bike trailer, and what would I do with the rest of my young ones. (They would run along beside me?)

I may not be fit and trim ... but all 13 of my children love me dearly, and I wouldn't trade that for the perfect body any day.

Laurel :)

sarah bess said...

You made me bawl!

Kelly said...

Thank you for this post. I am a sophomore in high school, and I am beginning to decide what I want to do with my life. Posts like these help me make up my mind. I don't want to be like the woman in the white suit, I want to be like you. You are an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Kelly