Friday, August 27, 2010

My name is Wealthy.

I'm wide awake at 3:45 a.m. with thoughts and realizations I want to share. It seems that sleep will not be granted unless I get out at least some of what is overflowing in my mind. As strange as this sounds, the one thing I keep seeing in my mind is my name, Jessica, and it's meaning: wealthy. Except when I see that word is seems big to me. Like WEALTHY.

I believe names hold weight, which is probably why choosing a name for our new son is so difficult. We don't think lightly of the very first gift we give him. Instead we think of how it will affect the way he sees himself and even all the ways he may unknowingly grow into that name. Biblically, names seem to hold great significance, and God has been known to even give new names to those who have been changed or have accepted a new role or calling in their walk of life (Saul to Paul or Jacob to Israel, for example).

Just in the last couple of weeks, I have unmistakably experienced what it feels like to really be Jessica. I feel like God is my teacher and he is pointing quite clearly to the writing on the chalkboard, and my eyes have finally focused on what was just a blur a couple weeks ago: WEALTHY. I believe it now.

I wonder how long I have sat in what seemed like justifiable discontentment. Months? Years, probably. It almost scares me to reflect on that. If I dare look back on my life I see discontentment in friendships, in churches, in my geographic location, in my possessions. Discontentment is unfortunate. It's the opposite of wealthy, really.

To bring all this contemplation to physical form, let me explain the events that led up to this realization.

Almost this entire pregnancy we have been looking to buy our first home. This 2 bedroom rental home is getting smaller as my belly gets bigger. We looked at DOZENS of homes and made a couple offers, and the one question people always asked us was "how is the house hunt going?" because everyone knew that a new home was our intention and hope for the near future. It has been draining and disappointing despite how great the market apparently is for buying. Shane was spending hours searching for homes partly because he looks forward to owning and fixing up his own home, but also because his wife was VERY ready to get out of this tiny house. We recently decided to let go of this goal since baby will be arriving shortly, but mostly because I realized how exhausted I was from trying so hard to change our circumstance. But it wasn't just a goal I let go of, but the future in general.

One evening as I was in tears from exhaustion I realized that there was no more of myself to give toward planning and hoping for a certain future, and I was sacrificing my present time with Oliver and Shane. I kept telling myself that he needed a bigger yard and more outdoor space to enjoy life, but he was begging to enjoy life with me NOW. He was dragging me to his room to play with toys and sit down for a book or movie as soon as I was in the front door. He was clinging to me at bedtime so we could savor a few moments together before sleep. When I realized this (and thank God I did), I started to make myself more at home. I unpacked all of the baby items I didn't think we had room for. My evenings felt longer and more intimate, and I stopped feeling the constant nagging of productivity. I allowed myself to decorate and organize the neglected corners of our home. And our crammed little rental turned into a cozy home of our own. It was like putting on a pair of new glasses and seeing things how they really are. I saw our hardwood floors and the beautiful collection of refinished furniture my husband has labored on. I saw my raw, country-home-meets-third-world decor touching every room. I saw the luxury of two bathrooms and extra cabinet space I forgot I had. I saw our little shaded nook between the house and garage that invites tired feet to the hammock.

I am Wealthy.

This wasn't the end of my realization. God had plans to show me quite evidently a different kind of wealth. A few days ago, my friend Ruth threw me a baby shower and only 4 friends were able to attend. They blessed me with money toward breast pumps which I will most definitely need when I return to work full-time after maternity leave. But these girls surprised me with their gift of words. They each spent time encouraging me as a mother and recalling how they have observed me as a mom with Oliver. They had me in tears as they listed my strengths and commented on the beautiful, well-mannered and happy boy we have raised. And to overwhelm me more, they surrounded me on the couch and prayed over this new life with baby and spoke blessings over our family. I felt like my heart did not have room to hold these gifts and I hope I don't lose or forget them.

Yesterday I was thrown a SECOND baby shower by my coworkers. These women have been my mothers, my aunts and my sisters. They are protective, giving, listening, advising, humorous and honest. They care deeply for me in a way I truly need being so far from my family in Illinois. It was a lovely shower with an abundance of gifts and they even gave me a generous sum to help Shane and I purchase cloth diapers. The food was incredible. So good I had a major urge to hug someone every time I took a bite or a drink. Then they spent a few moments speaking blessings and prayers over me and I could barely hold myself together. My heart somehow made room to receive their words and believe they were mine to keep. I went home to my family (including my sister-in-law, Amanda, who is currently rooming with us) and shared how wonderful of a party it was. It was fun to show them the gifts and tell them about the special time we had. And sometime that evening I was trying to express to Amanda these wonderful emotions and she said something about my being "rich with friendship." I can't stop thinking about that. I have never felt so RICH with relationship in my entire life. I don't know when this happened, but sometime in the last three and a half years I accumulated a WEALTH of friends and extended family in the Northwest.

In the midst of all this I think I lost that old friend, discontentment. And it makes me smile.