Saturday, November 12, 2011

{ Promised Land }

What is your Promised Land?

The place you want to get to, no matter what? That tantalizing spot where you're sure life will be good?

My Promised Land is being a stay-at-home-wife. I have honestly never thought of this as being a problem--an idol--a false source of comfort, hope, security, and meaning {because I'm trying to find comfort, hope, security, and meaning outside of Jesus}. 'Til I reached my fantasy "Promised Land" and found it doesn't imbue my existence with meaning the way I thought it would.

I'm here: I'm a stay-at-home-wife. My job ended very unexpectedly on October 31st. I used to work for a company that had a contract for over 25 years with a local hospital. We were told, less than four weeks in advance, that the hospital chose not to renew their contract with my company. I won't go into the details, except to say that it was very abrupt and very short notice. My income isn't necessary for us to live, so we will be okay financially. I was going to start working three days a week in November anyway.

So now, twelve days into this grand stay-at-home-wife adventure, I'm knocking my head against the cold, hard wall of reality: This ain't no Promised Land. Don't get me wrong: I have an amazing, hardworking, understanding, supportive husband; a lovely home; life is good. The problem is that for years I've worshipfully looked forward to this season as my Promised Land: Flowing with milk and honey, free of a job and a pager and stress and worry. Plenty of time for homemaking and crafting and cooking and nesting and of course my health will be perfect and this season will be perfect. It will be my Promised Land. It is where I want to be, regardless of whether or not God is there. It will be completely satisfying and my life will be deeply meaningful in this season, regardless of whether or not Jesus is present, because the season is what matters. The season is my source of identity and hope and comfort and joy and meaning.

It sounds so yucky, so bloated with hollow pride, saying it that way. Yet that's what I've expected being a SAHW to be like. God, ever loving, knew that being a SAHW alone is not going to fulfill me. Only Jesus fulfills me. I am learning that, even through beautiful and unexpected gifts He's bestowed during the past two weeks:
a long trip to visit a dear friend on the other side of the state {photos coming soon!}
generous severance check from my employer, much more than we expected
sweet bonding time with Mr. Mike
a nasty stomach bug that has left me wiped out for 2+ days so far

Each day the truth is hitting a bit harder, a bit closer to my heart: Just being a SAHW isn't worth it. Isn't the culmination of my existence. Isn't the root of my fulfillment. Jesus' presence is the only source of joy, meaning, hope, and fulfillment in any season--including the stay-at-home-wife season. I've imagined that being a SAHW is the root from which all that is good in my life will flow. I see now that there is much good in this season--but the source of that good is Jesus. Jesus who was there with me when I worked full-time, Jesus who was there with me when I was a college student, Jesus who will be with me when I'm a stay-at-home-mom, Jesus who will be with me if I work outside the home in the future.

Jesus is my Promised Land.

That's God's whole point: to dwell with us! He created us for unbroken community with Him, but it was broken by Adam and Eve's sin. Jesus came to restore our community with God; but the full culmination waits for His second coming:

"Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God." ~ Revelation 21:3

This is hard and I'm still just learning it, walking the edges of it, wide-eyed and grieved at my hardheartedness and pride. I'm hungry for Jesus' presence. I'm ashamed that I so easily wrote Him out of my picture of the ideal life, assumed that what really mattered was not having a job. I was eager to exchange His presence for stuff. In His great mercy, He hasn't let me get away with that.

Please dwell with me, Jesus. Every day. Amen.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear of the sudden loss of your job but happy that God is changing you and showing you things through it! You are so right though...God is our promised land and it is amazing we can live there right now!

  2. Well put, Nikki. I have been guilty so much in my life of living for the future: when I get to "X" I will be content and fulfilled. I'm so thankful that God doesn't let us get away with that, as you said, but He shows us the way to real fulfillment... in Him.

  3. Aw, sorry to hear about your job. There is such wonderful insight here, and such an awesome reminder that Jesus is what makes all the seasons of our life special. I can so relate to living for my own version of a Promised Land and I'm so thankful for these thoughts on it!