When I was in my 20s, I worked with an amazing nonprofit. Every staff raised their own funds to work there. I was working with people from many different nationalities, doing the translation, biblical training, community services in different countries. I had been on staff with this organization for about 9 years, got to know so many amazing people and learned so much about God and His ways. Those were the exciting years. I was young and surrounded by many likeminded people, receiving great biblical teachings, worshiping together and doing things for the Lord. I had grown so much in this loving and purpose-driven environment.
I led a very simple life. I never owned any piece of furniture. I always gave away a lot of my clothing whenever I need to move. All my possessions can fit into one big suitcase. Since my work required a lot of moving and traveling, I could be ready to pack up and go within two hours. The longest time I had lived in the same apartment was for 10 months with another 5 flatmates. I would often have simple meals with friends. I never had to plan my meals ahead of time, never needed to have a weekly meal plan nor do a big shopping. I had used to grab something cheap on the way or cook a simple meal at home. Instant noodles and eggs were my close friends. It was such a minimum lifestyle and I had so many fond memories.
As much as I enjoyed my life back then, there had been many challenges, emotionally, financially, relationally and professionally. But my personal values and faith in the work kept me there for 9 years and thankfully through overcoming one challenge after another, I grew.
I met my husband and got married not long after I moved on. And one year later, we had our first baby boy. From being single to married to becoming a mom, these biggest life changes happened quite quickly to me— all within a year. Getting married and having a family had always been something I wanted. However, apart from feeling incredibly blessed, I’ve experienced many changes. From owning zero furniture to having a fully furnished apartment, from being used to eating fast food to having a family to plan meal for, from making lots of instant noodles to learning to cook proper meals, from always on a move to settling down in one place, from constantly encountering exotic cultures and to engaging with a small local community, from using my gifts to help others to feeding my baby and wiping his cute little butt… I’ve become very domestic, doing much cleaning, cooking and taking care of my baby and husband as a mom and wife.
I’m grateful that I finally feel settled as it is very important to me, but meanwhile, there has been more routines and quietness, and less new things, new places or new people in my life. As days go by, sometimes I found myself missing the good old days when I got to travel the world and hang out with amazing fun people, or just scrolling through Instagram photos only to admire others’ exciting life and forget for a little while of my own mundane tiring life.
Have you ever been there? What do you do when life feels hard? I know I’ve had complaints, tears, feeling stuck and tendency to escape… But where do I go? This is my life.
Just recently I rewatched the movie Peter Pan with my husband. When Windy and her brothers had finally come home from their adventures in Never Land, she asked Peter to stay with them, to grow up with them. But because “every child grows up except one”, and the one and only Peter Pan refused Windy. Before he took off, he said something that struck me: “To live… is an awful adventure.”
To live, it means to embrace all the ups and downs, to navigate through the currents of life and move forward, to engage wholeheartedly in everything from cuddling my child to changing his poopy diapers, to find and create beauty and experience joy in the mundane, to build a godly family which neither my husband nor me have experienced in our own family line and to be a blessing to the people around us… It is much harder than dwelling in the past or staying the same without moving on or growing up. It is, an awful, a wonderful and full on adventure, isn’t it?
I’m grateful for my past. Without it, I won’t be who I am today. The same way in which I engaged with my whole heart every day of my past through the highs and lows, I choose to engage today. Because very soon, today will become the past, and it will shape the person I will become in the future. The river of life never ends. The growth never ends.
I’m grateful for my life right now, as a wife and mom. I will never forget the inescapable longing for having a family of my own in my single days. Now it’s a dream coming true. Yes, baby cries sometimes three times a night, yes I’m tired every single day, yes I don’t have much time for myself and even forget to shower some days… But I just realized, I’ve been given these raw materials called “daily life” for me to craft something beautiful out of it! I believe each time when I dare to try a new recipe to bless my husband, fed my baby spoon by spoon while still waking up my brain, or put up some new deco in the living room or baked some muffins for friends, I was making something beautiful and Heaven is smiling.
We all go through different phases in life. Sometimes we have to leave the previous job, friends or city in order to come to the new phase. We even have to change our lifestyles. Changes are not easy. But I’ve learned to stay thankful and focus on all the fulfilled dreams. When reality hits hard, may we learn to use the raw materials of daily life to create some beauty. Keep growing through challenges and keep shining for Heaven. Because my life and yours, are the only and best life for us to live. No matter how it looks like, no matter you are single or married or with kids, let’s live it well. 🙂