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Saturday, January 23, 2010

The "I Wants"

"Oo - mommy! I found the mountain!" Noelle says reaching with her whole body towards the car window.

I know what's coming next because we have this conversation every time we drive East on Route 66.

"I want to hike up mountain."

I nod my head, and then the "I wants" spill forth triggered by that first utterance like a brook over little white pebble teeth.

"I want BopBop to hike up mountain. I want BopBop and NaNa to come in a plane. I want to see the nay nays. I want BopBop and NaNa to see nay nays. I want to ride the trolley. I want to listen to the yay-yay song. I want a pop. I want a snack."

Really the progression of her sentences makes no sense at all. She is just skipping from one desire to the next as quickly as they come to her.

It's hilarious. But always at first there is this knee jerk compulsion in me to give her what she wants, to rush to her each whim. Except of course, I am driving, buckled into my seat behind a wheel. There's no possible way I can appease her wants.

And so I'm let off the hook.

I sit in the front seat and listen as her "I wants" dissolve into whines, and fusses.

I realize that my daughter doesn't actually want any of those things. I realize that she's just bored and also excited to try new words.

I also realize that it is my job as her mom to make sure she doesn't always get what she wants because in denying her I am teaching her that she can live free of her every whim. And what an oppressive existence it would be to live at the every command of our desires, right?

Just as I am coaching myself through this line of reasoning, sitting in the car watching the foothills slip by, and listening to Noelle whine, the sound of her voice morphs into the sound of my own thoughts.

I can hear my own whispered prayers in her little mouth.

Dwayne and I are on the cusp of a change. We know in May that everything is going to transition for us. He graduates, and we have to move out of the dorm by June.

The tricky thing is that we don't actually know where we're going. This all depends on where Dwayne gets a job. Now, he's been looking at schools and submitting his resume and lining up interviews and literally these job opportunities are all across the nation.

In the face of so much of uncertainty, I've found myself grasping as superficial realities to try and navigate the change. These have been my spoken and unspoken prayers:

“Please, I want to live in a city. I want to live somewhere beautiful. I want to live somewhere I can still teach. I want to live somewhere with a good school system for Noelle. I want to live somewhere with a church that values the arts and isn’t exclusive. I want to live somewhere close to family. I want to live somewhere close to friends.”

Not surprisingly, I’ve been a spirit cycling around with as much calm as a tornado, whipping from one want to another. Nothing, not one of my carefully articulated desires has given me peace.

I’m scared to death of moving to a new city in a new part of the world and finding that there is nothing for me, finding that I am alone, unknown, and useless. All the relationships we have built here, all the work I’ve done, all the connections I’ve made, all the progress I’m mounting in my career swept away.

I mean, there’s no real way to prepare for that, right? And the irony is that while my “I wants” feel like a way to assert control in the midst of this chaos, they in fact are just depleting my soul. They are tossing me about on their tempestuous shoulders because they are not real, they are simply preferences painted across a future without clues or hints or signs about what is to come.

Really what’s left for me to do? but sit in the car, strapped in, watching the foothills slip by, and let all my fusing and whining boil over the surface and then evaporate leaving behind a residue that looks something like surrender.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your post and totally understand your fears/anxiety of moving somewhere new and starting a new life. But you've lived in a million different places and have started over a thousand times! You are the Queen of Doing This Very Thing!

Remember, wherever you're at in life, someone has already been there/felt that and made it through.

Flying colors, my friend, flying colors.

~Amanda (Franklin) Fellers

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.


9:21 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Thank you Amanda and Anonymous for the encouragement and the reminder! :-)

1:33 PM  
Blogger Sarah Forgrave said...

Christin - I'll remember you guys in my prayers as this transition hovers closer. I like your comparison to the "I Wants" our children say all the time. It's so hard to remember that the "I Wants" in life aren't always what He wants. Gulp...something I'm still learning.

7:30 AM  
Blogger tfritter said...

Wow, beautiful and honestly written. How very human! I have been trying to listen to God lately about that very Spirit of not let the fear get the better of me. A friend of mine spoke recently about this: that fear comes in reaction to a percieved threat: something that we a) can not forsee b) can not control. According to this speaker, "Do not fear" shows up more in the Bible than words about love or money, so God must think it is important for us to get the message. Fear is a natural reaction to the shock we feel when we suddenly realise we a) can't forsee an outcome or b) can not control...but super good news: GOD CAN! He is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and always present in our times of trouble.
Fear is a gift: an opportunity to realise who is ALWAYS in control, and who to turn. We get lost in our own complex and wild plans, when all our Creator wants for us is to get lost in his arms, selling with the simplicity of His love.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Christin said...

Teresa - I love your insights! They are always so illuminating and beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

10:56 PM  
Blogger Jake Attenborough said...

Remember, God is always there, pray and have those who care about you pray about it too. God will never give you more than you can handle and will give you the strength to get through every challenge you face. You're a child of God, how much does he love you? I'm pretty sure a lot, so don't worry if God is looking out for you. Because sometimes, trials are a blessing in disguise

10:47 AM  
Blogger Gwen said...

I can fully relate just making a huge transition in life and ministry to Europe. And, in our 50's... when life is suppose to be settling down :).

I love the last word of your post - surrender. That word captures your entire post.

I had numerous "wants" with this move that I expressed to God. Some of them felt selfish, but I wanted to make them known. He listened. I watched and waited to see if He would consider my hearts desires because I know His thoughts aren't always my thoughts and His plans aren't always my plans. Surrender means trust and I trust Him.

He has given me my wants and wishes in a home (flat:) and this beautiful city that grips both sides of the Danube. I wondered who I would meet in this new place and I have met some beautiful people in only a month's time. I'm still watching and waiting to see my purpose unfold, but it will come. Sometimes that takes action on my part in order for Him to do His part.

I'll be watching and waiting to see where your story takes you!

3:05 AM  
Blogger Christin said...

Gwen - this is AMAZING! I didn't know that you all had moved! I want to send you a note somehow. Perhaps I'll be able to find an e-mail address on your blog or something. We just spent the weekend with Josh and Kari last week and they didn't mention this. I would love to hear more about what you're doing and your own journey of trust in this transition!

1:11 PM  
Blogger Gwen said...

Christin - thanks for posting a comment on my blog. Perhaps if you read some of my other blog posts from January on you'll get a better picture of our move.

This one - - I posted last October about meltdowns might be helpful :).

Feel free to email me at:

1:22 PM  

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