The following is a guest post written by my dear friend, Amy Ford.
Have you ever found yourself doing nothing you always thought you would do?
You know, that list you made in your freshman year of college with all the things you’d accomplish by twenty-five, by thirty: the charming husband, the master’s degree, the Mediterranean cruise, the book, the baby, the office, the perfect dress size? Have you ever looked at that list which so succinctly quantified success in your eyes and felt like a deflated balloon?
Have you ever found yourself doing everything you never thought you would do?
This is the other list: the mental one. It is full of the judgments and vows we put on ourselves when observing the rest of the world. “I’ll never be that kind of wife/mother/employee/woman.” “I could never live that life.” “I cannot take that kind of risk.”
Whoever first vocalized the adage, “The surest way to make God laugh is to tell Him what you’re going to do (or what you’re not going to do),” was, quite possibly, the wisest person ever.
Okay, I do like to exaggerate, but grant me some poetic license.
This proverb, dear readers, is the story of my adult life. And there are days, honestly, when I look at my life and wonder what my role is and what I am supposed to be doing. Am I doing everything the Lord wants? How do I advance the Kingdom when life and motherhood leave me in survival mode? Behind the endless cracker crumbs and diaper changes and recitations of Pat the Bunny, did I lose the person I thought I was?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9, NIV
In the swirl, I do not feel chosen, nor royal, holy, or even special. But I do know that I have been called out of darkness into wonderful light, and for that, I have a purpose: to declare the praises of him who called me.
In a worship meeting, as this verse marched through my mind, I remembered the priests of my childhood Catholic church walking down the aisle, like a bride, carrying a silver pot of incense, swinging from a chain. The fragrance permeated the sanctuary. Even if you could not see the priest, you could smell the incense.
We are a priesthood, you and I. Not just your pastor or your husband – you. And if we claim no other calling, we must embrace this one. A priest tends the flame. A priest keeps the fragrance burning. A priest welcomes the presence of the Lord. In fact, he (or she) never leaves His presence.
In my upside-down place of wondering where I fit in, what I should be doing, I, we, must find our place as priests first. My children should see me tending the fire on the altar of praise between the simple walls of my home. My neighbors should sense the sweet perfume as they pass us walking the dog. In my church, in my community, across oceans, and wherever God calls me, I find rest for my soul in my job as priest, and I pray the incense of my life permeates the places I tread, drawing others to Him.
I find that the fragments of identity and purpose fall into place when I focus on a life of praise. I pray that we all embrace this, our calling. If we can do nothing else for God, this is our sufficient destiny! We are chosen ones, holy ones, keepers of the flame and carriers of the Divine presence. We are lifters of praises.
Amy is a writer, Christ-follower, wife, mother, and recovering middle school English teacher. She lives just south of her native Nashville with her husband of eleven years and her two gorgeous and brilliant children (she also wrote this profile herself, in case you couldn’t tell).
Amy has a passion for youth ministry, the arts, and teaching. She looks for the good, noble, lovely, and true in everything — for that is where God’s imprint is found.
Read more from Amy at her personal blog, Epiphany.