Product and Process

For those that do not know, I have a bachelor’s degree in education. I studied to be a teacher. One thing we teachers CONSTANTLY say to our students- especially during math- is “SHOW YOUR WORK.” Oh boy! Some of those babies just hate showing their work! It’s almost as if it would be a travesty to put a few extra marks on the paper. Good heavens! “But Mrs. Estrada, I know the answer!” And I used to be one of them. Now being a teacher, I see how important showing your work is. As a teacher, we can see if they truly understand the concepts we teach by seeing how they came up with their answers. We can see that they didn’t copy the answer or just happen to get the correct answer by accident. We can see if they are innovative and found their own shortcuts. There’s so much you can learn about a child by just seeing the process they go through to get an answer. Life is kind of like that. Have you ever dreamed of something? We all have, right?! It’s funny, I was writing a journal entry and I realized I’m living a season that I’ve dreamed of before. To give you some insight I’ll tell you a little bit about my dreams. Here goes… ahem…

When I was little I dreamt of getting married. Doesn’t every little girl? Or just us cheesy ones? Lol But that’s it… really, I think I dreamt of the wedding as a little girl. As I grew older, I began to dream of a life with my husband. I didn’t know who it’d be, but I could imagine myself in a house- our home. Then when I’d really get going I’d imagine us with children. How happy we’d be. It was almost like snapshots. I’d get little pictures in my head of certain unmade memories. Us, waking up on a weekend, our baby sleeping in our bed despite all the professional and educated opinions that say kids shouldn’t sleep with parents ever. (But parents out there know that, every once in a while, you just have to sleep those babies with you so you can all cuddle, am I right??) We’d laugh and enjoy each other even for just a second. I dreamt of how my parents would be once they became grandparents. And I always told myself I wanted to love my mother in law despite all stereotypes that make mother in laws seem mean. And you know… those dreams have come true. But I realized that I was dreaming about the product. I never put any thought into the process. I had no idea how in the world I was going to get to those dreams… and at the time… I don’t think I cared. I didn’t think it’d be that bad. I thought it would be smooth… easy. I was wrong. You see because when you’re learning something new, it’s never easy. It challenges everything you’ve known to be true to that point or introduces something you never considered before. I’m not going to say it’s always painful, learning can be really fun. But its learning nonetheless. Never did I imagine that in order for me to meet my husband I’d have to branch out and accept leading worship outside of my comfort zone. I never thought I’d spend 7 years in a relationship only to find that it wasn’t what God had for me. And then falling in love and literally in the course of a year being accelerated and becoming a wife and a mother. I never imagined the process that we’d have to go through together before we finally got our house. I just saw us at the finish line. I never thought about the pain or even problems I could encounter in order to have a baby… I just saw myself with one. But I get to wake up now to a warm bed. It’s warm because my husband and my baby are in it with me. My dreams have come true. But the process was not easy. I learned so much, not just about myself, but about my family. I’ve seen the genuine love that we all have for each other. I’ve learned that we can disagree on some things but in the end, we’re there for each other no matter what. I’ve learned that you’re not constantly on cloud 9. I’ve learned to appreciate my husband. I’ve learned to care for someone besides myself. I’m learning how to be a parent and how difficult it is because you worry about every little thing that could possibly happen. And I’ve learned about God too! I’ve learned that it’s easy to serve Him and smile when you’re walking on roses, but even those roses have thorns and they’ll make you bleed. But no matter what the road brings, He brings us to our answer. And He is our answer. Our dreams are possible because He is present.

I can laugh and giggle with my family because HE fills us with joy. I can love because He is love, and He’s teaching me to love the way He does. I can work because He gives me the strength to carry on despite the fact that sometimes I feel like I can just lay face down on the floor. (“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” has taken on a whole new literal meaning lately. #MomLife) God is good, guys. I know I sound like a broken record and I’ve probably said that so many times but it’s so true that I just have to repeat it!! He is good through the process and He is good at the product. You know, we are a product of His love. Have you ever thought about that? He could’ve just given up on us. He could’ve said “this person is just so hard headed, I’m sick of it! Be gone!” and then POOF we’d be nonexistent. But we’re still here. And He reaches out to us constantly even when we sometimes pull away from Him. Today, if you’re on your way to the product and kind of discouraged in your process, just take a deep breath. Breathe in God’s peace. I pray He wraps His arms around you and gives you one of those big hugs that make all things fall back into perspective. Be strong during the process and keep your eyes open and ears ready to hear what He’s trying to teach you. You can’t get to the product without the process, but I guarantee it’ll make the product so so so so much more enjoyable. You’ll savor the victory and happiness more. Trust me.

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