When You Need Purpose

October 07, 2014

me n my truck

Sometimes in between the kitchen and the washing machine, doing the same acts over again with seemingly little result,

I wonder if my life has purpose.

I used to love my job.

I used to love what I did with a kind of maniacal passion. I used to stay up late writing blog posts and used to look forward to going into the office in Uganda every day to hug each of my beautiful staff each morning. I used to love to sit under a mango tree and counsel a struggling woman.

I was someone people looked to for answers, I was someone people looked up to. I was a leader, a revolutionary, a mover and a shaker.

And then I moved back to America, to San Francisco, an area where I knew no one, put my husband’s career first, scaled back on my job for my health, empowered my staff to lead, started investing in self-care, and lost two babies due to ectopic pregnancies and had to recover from surgery.

All of a sudden, I was in a season of anonymity.

Talk about culture shock.

Talk about being stripped.

These last two years have been some of the hardest of my entire life. I was all prepared to be a mother, I was all prepared to exchange one purpose for another, and then…. nothing.

I was a home-maker without a home. I was a dreamer without a dream. Most days I still feel like I am.

Africa was inexplicably, numbingly hard at times with days strung out with dirt flecked calves and very little sleep.

But there was always a reason to get up each morning because my life was giving towards a higher purpose and I was living out my life’s great call and destiny.

It’s hard to live in-between dreams.

This isn’t how it was supposed to happen. This isn’t what I was promised. And yet, here I am.

I realized at this point that I only had a few choices. I could continue to be miserable and isolate, eat at ton of chocolate, binge watch Cullen Bohannon on Hell on Wheels, and complain to my poor, ill equipped husband, or I could find a way to be happy where I am.

After the loss of this second baby, I didn’t want to spend any more time in the valley of grief. I’ve drunk from that bitter cup plenty these last few months and I wasn’t ready to drink again.

And yet, this was allowed for some kind of reason that is beyond me, some sacrifice that I pray someday will be revealed as a gift to the greater body of saints.

For now, I’m learning the hard way that maturity comes at quite a cost.

But that anonymity can be a gift, just like I’ve been taking solace in through books like Anonymous, and another called Found, this year. This quote has touched me:

“In the desert I slowly began to realize that Jesus’ enduring spiritual strength is the fruit, not of movement, but of rest, not of activity, but of stillness.” –Anonymous, Alicia Britt Chole-

In this space I can cry hidden tears on the splintering wooden bench in my garden without having to be anything for anybody.

I can be an empty vessel for Father’s love.

I can watch the hummingbird’s vibration above a rose and just give thanks.

I can find purpose in being. In learning to simply be me, whatever that means for the season I’m in.

I can drive out to the mountains until the blue slope teaches me again that I still have things to be grateful for, that I still have a reason to live.

I can write and write and write as the words tumble out of me in reverence to this crazy beautiful ache-filled life.

God doesn’t waste anything, even in all the mess.

I can be one person’s hug of empathy because I know what it is to lose and I know how rare it is to find someone who doesn’t try to explain the pain away, but stands in the middle of it, a brave and somber tree.

I can bake brownies for a friend and write a thank you card.

I can accept that where I am, is where I am, and there is purpose in it. Even in the grieving.

I’m trying to get the truth in me that God is no more or less pleased with me because I no longer appear to be saving the world.

I just have to learn to be present here and be as authentic as possible.

I can be a Loved One, even if that’s all that I am, and recognize that maybe it’s a purpose in itself. 

And perhaps that will give someone else permission to do the same.

My life isn’t as exciting anymore. It isn’t filled with the drama or heroics I had become accustomed to.

But I am claiming it now and I’m determined to make the most of it.

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  • laura

    I can find purpose in being. In learning to simply be me. — YES. You were in my dreams last night. You and Tyson were living in a really old house with a huge Hispanic family, and your backyard had a fire pit and an incredible view of mountains. A beautiful path lined with trees led from your house to a little bookstore in the woods. Crazy! :)

  • Sarita Hartz Hendricksen

    Thanks Laura! I love that dream. Sounds like us :) It’s such a hard lesson to learn, but I think it’s an important one God is teaching me right now. Thanks for being a part of my journey x

  • I’m finding the same thing only flip-flopped. We were in fulltime ministry at a church in the states. Now we are starting our first term in Senegal. In the states, I was able to teach, work, help, do… stay very busy with our church and our girls. Here, we are in survival/learning mode and in the very slow process of finding our place. Life has slowed way down and I’m learning to let God just fill me for me. To just be so He can teach me new things. Thanks for your words!