My mind has been racing in the past weeks. Racing with dreams and possibilities. One of the wonderful things about finding yourself in a new place or new stage of life is an ability to chose what you will do with your time and to chose how you will define yourself. Obviously there are lots of things, like my roles of mother and wife that don't disappear, but even what these will look like is shifting as Jim begins a new job, Jonah prepares for school and I find myself as a mother of preschoolers in a new place with new possibilities.
As an undergraduate I studied international relations with an emphasis on third-world development. I was an idealistic college student who wanted to change the world and longed for adventures. As my time at college wore on I felt a deep call to care for souls and my deep love of education resurfaced (thus seminary). But, the past few weeks I've been thinking a lot of those earlier dreams and how, now that we are settled, I want justice to be a large part of what we are focusing on as a family.
I've had the privilege of working on a New Testament curriculum this past spring (more sharing to come), and was struck once again with how political Jesus' ministry was and how the gospel is totally bound up with social justice. I think it is easy as a mom of young children to be overly focused on the family, which is something Jesus has strong words about. I love in the book Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life how Margaret Kim Peterson sees homemaking as answering Jesus' call to feed and cloth others. Whatever you do for the least of these... my small children are part of this calling to realize the kingdom of God. But, at the same time, from the place of being full and cared for, our family needs to focus on seeing the kingdom of God realized by reaching out.
So what will that look like in this place? How can we be good neighbors? How can we bring our children into this vision in an exciting and loving way? And, while this is at the top of the list as we look for a church community, how do other things weigh into that decision?
I long for beauty. I long for Justice. I long for right relationship with God, others, myself and creation. But often all of these longings become entangled and can even seem contradictory as there are only so many hours in any given day. And, I confess, there are those many moments when I don't feel the longing for these things at all, but simply want convenience and comfort...
Goodness, this has become a bit of a ramble of thoughts. So I'll leave you with the verse that I've been saying over and over the past few days as these thoughts and questions race through my head.
And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?