Uno is still fun! I played it as a child and I still enjoy it as I play it with my two girls. We have a good time. I tend to always promise one game, but we end up playing over and over again until we are tired.
In this event, we were doing our usual while playing UNO -laughing, guessing who would win, playing with strategy to get that final card in our hand so we could say UNO. As we were playing game after game, I noticed my oldest was winning just about every game! My laugh turned more into observation, as I began watching my youngest daughter loose in defeat just about every single game. I watched her and watched her and even tried to help her (I held back my last card a few times to keep the game going so she could have a chance!) I shuffled the cards every which way I could to try and mix the cards up – as I concluded the problem had to be I wasn’t shuffling the cards very well.
I watched her spirit break as she tried time after time and let out a sigh of defeat every single time she lost. This went on for a good amount of time. And it really started to break my heart. While I was happy my oldest was winning, I just didn’t understand why my youngest was loosing. I must say, my oldest wasn’t shy about her wins as she jumped all over the place with her arms lifted high, and her face was lit up with cheers of a champion. I just didn’t get it! How could my youngest (6 years old) keep loosing every single game?
I’m not lying when I say I sat there as I held back a few tears – the defeat on her face was getting to me. I really felt myself caving in as her spirit seemed to be crushed. As I sat there, I found myself relating to her in this very moment (maybe that’s why it bothered me so much!)
At this point in my life – I was working part time as an independent contractor for a consulting/educational design company. A larger part of my work focused on hiring about 10 coaches to facilitate the curriculum this company used to shape other educational leaders. I sought out this job with the idea and prayer to do something to financially help my family (I thought we could use the help.) I also wanted to use my education (undergraduate and graduate degree) to do something more than being a mom and a wife. I wanted to be defined as something more than what I thought myself to be.
I’m not joking when I say I was really struggling at this point – struggling at work and at home. I was a stay-at-home mom for some time minus one decent job I had after having kids. I always felt a tug to stay home with my kids and be a mom to them – it was important to me. However, I was now working for a boss whom nothing seemed to please, and my part-time hours became more full-time than part-time because the work load was more than I signed up for. To be honest it was taking time away from my responsibilities at home.
Hard to admit – but here it is…
I was too tired to check my kids homework, I didn’t attend there first semester conferences or hardly any events at school because I had to work (my husband did attend), I was barley cooking well-rounded meals, I usually sent them upstairs to bed while I worked downstairs – to later come upstairs to check on them and I would find them sleep, or I simply was too tired from work so I went to sleep after they showered, ate, and did their homework.
I was not spending any quality time with my kids. I hated that feeling! I also felt so guilty! Not to mention the panic in the mornings to get off to school on time as I was checking homework at every red light on our morning route.
I vividly remember pulling the car over like eight minutes before school started so I could check my oldest math homework. She is pretty smart, so I just knew she got just about every problem right. Oh my! I was so wrong! They were all wrong! Then I looked at the clock and we now had 5 minutes left before school started. I was upset. I was sure she knew this stuff. I begin yelling in my confusion not understanding why she got all the problems wrong. Then I replayed a email I got from her math teacher only a few weeks before – telling me she missed a homework assignment. I tried to show her a quick multiplication example, and as she tried to explain her confusion and I did the unthinkable – I wrote the correct answers on the side of each of her math problems and told her I would help her later when she got home. That morning was my breaking point. I tried to put a smile on and step into work like I had it all together. I sat there and pretended like nothing was wrong as I worked endlessly to try to please a boss who required more from me than I could give.
I felt defeated –
This was hard to accept. I could relate to my daughter. I understood her pain. What was God trying to teach me? I think I found the silver lining through my daughter. As I became more observant to my child I wondered if God felt this way about me. I wondered if He felt so bad for my defeat that He would help me. As I sat there and watched her play, I started looking in her hand to watch her strategy. I noticed after a few games she had winning cards in her hand, but she never played them. Then I felt like a parent – I wanted to guide her and counsel her. I asked her why she wasn’t playing the cards she had? I began to point out to her when someone was about to win, so she could put this card or that card to stop their win. I told her I had been watching her hand and noticed she had good cards to play, but never played them. I told her don’t wait till the end – play them during the game.
Then I began to develop a deep understanding through asking God how I had gotten to this point – wondering how I became this “type” of mother. I believe God started to show what got me here in the first place – I was playing someone else’s cards, not my own. By that I mean – God let me see my need to want to take on this job for some of the wrong reasons. I actually applied for a lesser position, but I was offered a title that I liked. But why? Where did that come from?
The truth is – I was comparing myself to other women or I wanted to feel like I was just as capable as a woman who seemed to have it all…like I had something to prove to myself. When I tell you, I felt like I was in the wrong place – I was in the wrong place! I learned to stay in my lane and use the cards God gave to me. I learned and still am learning to appreciate the winning cards He gave me, and be happy and content with that. I have never felt like I dropped a load like this one before. It felt like a 1000 pounds lifted off my back when I realized it was okay to be me and use the gifts and the talents He was given me to impact His Kingdom. Moreover, I try to keep telling myself not to wait until the end of the game to use the cards He has given me. What point is it to live my life trying to be in someone else’s lane? I learned to stay in my lane and not covet what another has.
God did not create us all the same. We all are created to take on the role He has assigned us to. I often think how beautiful and intimate it is when spend time with our Father, hear His voice, and do whatever He says. In my personal experience with God – I have been becoming more connected to the relationship with Him as my Father – really spending time with God and seeking Him over all aspects of my life.
We should not be comparing our lives to others, but simply remaining content with what He would allow us to have, allow us to be, and allow us to do. I found there is intimacy in walking with God so intently, to purposely seek His will over our lives.
With the rest of my life my only goal is to lay my life down and say, “What do you want me to do Father?” And, “Help me do it.”
In my personal life, He may call me work outside of the home one day. But whether He does, or He doesn’t that decision is up to Him and has no bearing on my joy. He is my joy. So, being obedient is a joy. In the past I have seen what it is like to not walk according to His commandants or be obedient to His voice- Destruction!
Just maybe His will is working in your life for purposes you may never know of until the fruit is shown, or sometimes we simply may never know. But the goal is to be fully surrendered to God, opening all doors to our heart, spirit, and soul; however His Spirit may guide us. It’s overwhelmingly humbling to know this very life we breath, feed, and move is not ours. And on our best day of planning our steps will never be as perfect as the One who created us.
God created one plan for us – and that is His plan (not ours.) So, we must use the cards He has given us. If we love our Father – we are winning!
Romans 8:28 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Song Inspiration – Emily Irene Fertig – Open Hands