It seems fitting that it’s snowing today. That the ground is covered in white, fluffy flakes of a fresh start. In just twenty-two days, that’s what we’ll all get. A New Year. A fresh start. A white slate.
But we can’t move forward without reflecting back. I think this entire “Year of Whimsy” in some way has been a reflection. Like the Children’s Book “Zoom” I received at my AP Seminar training in July of 2014, the first image that you see, the one you begin to focus in on, is not the entire picture. In fact, it’s just a detail of a detail, and by zooming out, slowly, with intention, you begin to see what is truly there. What began as finally verbalizing the brokenness behind my failed attempts at motherhood and belonging, that detail of a detail, has merged into a year-long reflection upon my inability to let go and Let God.
Now, I’m not cured. Far from it! I think I will always be a struggling perfectionist. A struggling control freak (I know, you don’t say!). But that’s what whimsy was all about for me. Whimsy was about the attempt to let go. Slowing uncurling my fingers from the life I was so desperately trying to force, and learning to open that hand to the life God has so desperately been trying to give.
Whimsy began in the summer of 2016 when God put a voracious thirst for His words in my mouth. It seemed in my delving into the Christian Nonfiction section at Barnes and Noble, the word whimsy kept re-appearing in the voices of those who spoke my language; a language of someone searching, and attempting, and eventually succumbing to the will and whimsy of God. Whether it was the king of whimsy himself, Bob Goff, or his faithful friend and disciple, Shauna Niequest, whimsy is not simply a noun, something you can tangibly acquire. As this year has proven, it’s a verb, a daily commitment to attempting the impossible. To letting go of the desires of our heart and to instead actively pursue the desires of His.
According to Vocabulary.com, “People who are full of whimsy are odd, but often fanciful, and lovely, like Harry Potter’s friend Luna Lovegood.” (I kid you not, look it up!). But it goes on, “something you do because you want to . . . playful, amusing and witty.”
But isn’t that the God we serve? Isn’t our God whimsical? He’s odd, nontraditional, unpredictable, always breaking rules, expectations, and norms. And yet, He does not force our love, or our obedience. He gives us free will to choose to love Him. Because He wants us to and because, after knowing Him, we want to as well.
Need some scriptural reminding?
He encouraged a father to throw a massive celebration for an undeserving, squandering son. (Luke 15)
He blinded a man in the middle of a road so he would finally be able to see. (Acts 22)
He swallowed a fleeing man in the belly of a whale to give him time to reflect. (Johan 1)
He allowed His only son to be sold for a little silver and a kiss. (Matthew 27)
And hovered over his presence while He took His final breath. (Mark 15)
He did all of this because He wants us to love Him more!
And yet, some of us, like myself, continue to run in the direction of control. Not whimsy.
So for me, whimsy began with a commitment. A public one. In a public space. Right here.
For years, I have felt God calling me to write. But for who? About what? To pacify this calling, I turned to editing. A few chapters here. A sermon series there. The work was slow but sometimes steady and I truly enjoyed it. A little side hustle does everybody good. But yet, I knew it was not was God had intended.
What if my words weren’t good enough?
What if I got it all wrong?
What if no one read them?
True whimsy ignores those questions and says “God has called you. Therefore go. Do. Write.”
So, in February after the urging of one friend who knew I was mulling over making this space public, finally texted, “Just hit the button.” That week, right here, Whimsy the blog began. A very raw and vulnerable space that has allowed me and hopefully others the room to say “yeah, me too.”
“I too struggle with insecurity.”
“I too struggle with control.”
“I too struggle with feeling left out, left behind.”
But this space has also opened the door to so many profound conversations face-to-face. With people who have known me for years and always thought I was “too busy” to have children. With a nurse at my Primary Care Physician’s office who has been too afraid to seek medical testing for her infertility. To young adults who see my vulnerability as a way to come out from hiding behind there’s.
But my most favorite conversations have been the ones with my dear friends, who never had the words to express the awkward silence between all their births and none of mine. And the deep, tear-filled conversations I have with my mom, finally revealing to her the truth of my brokenness after all the years of trying of shield and protect her.
Along with this space, whimsy also urged me to start a supper club, technically two. One in January with a first gathering in my home of all my long-time work friends, who we never get to see enough of. Schools have separated us and work schedules have alienated us but once a month, we make the time. We come together. We eat. Sometimes we craft. But always we laugh and end the night full on food and conversations. So, in the fall when some high school seniors wanted to come over for dinner, I couldn’t think of a reason to say “no.” Mini supper club was formed and even though we don’t meet as often, I end the night feeling so grateful and honored that they choose to share their lives, their stories, and their hearts with me. Again, whimsy is a choice.
This year of whimsy has encouraged me to open my heart and my home but I have also taken huge leaps of faith.
In February, I took 18 high school seniors to the largest, most densely populated city in the world for one long, itinerary-packed weekend. Those six brave chaperones who traipsed New York City with us will forever be among my favorite people and favorite memories
In March, I shared the heartbreak of my first miscarriage the year before while secretly preparing for different treatments that had promised more hope and success.
In April, I once again took an interview with Herff Jones, my yearbook publisher, who I thought the year before I had set that bridge ablaze with a second job refusal. But this year felt different. This time felt right.
In May, I accepted their job offer. Said goodbye to my teacher identify of ten years. Did all the end of the year things for one final time. Cleaned out my classroom. And turned in my keys. And just three days after graduation, I lost a twenty-five-day pregnancy from artificial insemination.
May was rough. May tested me.
And in June when all I wanted to do was hit the beach and read, my in-laws took Jason and I to Las Vegas for seven days. About five days too long for all of us, but talk about whimsy! We conquered heights, and helicopters, and almost every Vegas show.
In July, I began my new job. I hopped a plane, flew to Indianapolis, and spent eight days in training with a group of total strangers who are now the dearest of friends. It’s terrifying running your own business. Running your own territory. But God knew I was ready. And whimsy pushed me to leap.
In August, school began. But instead of pre-planning meetings and setting up my classroom for the eleventh time, I was out on the road visiting my schools praying the whole journey they would love me as much as I still love my yearbook Rep and mentor. In August, came freedom, and adventure, and a lot of Google Maps, and podcasts.
September felt like I was finding my stride. I had a schedule of schools, everyone was in production mode, and they were all so amazing. I still feel a little guilty about how much I love my job. But every day so completely grateful I have it.
October was pretty routine. Jason and I were ready to start attempting more treatments, were finally planning a ten-year anniversary Scotland vacation for the spring and in the midst of it all, were so very happy and content. So, on October 31st when I saw my local OB/ GYN for a pre-treatment physical, I was ready to end this year with one more attempt.
Dressed as Wonder Woman for hospital Halloween, (you’ll see the irony in a second), she bustled into my little patient room with my previous day’s lab results.
“Did they call you?” she asked with her cape getting caught in the closing door.
“No, I responded,” with shock and fear.
“Good. Because I want to be the one to tell you that you’re already pregnant.”
Just our Fanciful, Whimsical, Let-Me-One-Up-Your-Request Heavenly Father.
I guess it really is true. That anything we dream of. Even the most extreme of them. He always tops it.
So November I was back to waiting, and holding my breath, and hiding my secret. And just one week after her super hero entrance, Jason and I was back at my local OB for an ultrasound, just praying for a heartbeat.
Like I said, we serve a God of whimsy and as I wrote on my very first blog post on February 24th (my very first words!), “Our Heavenly Father is hilarious. I mean, really! God has a sense of humor.”
On November 8th, at just six weeks, we didn’t hear just one heartbeat.
We heard two.
Coming this June (or sooner), identical twins.
To God be ALL THE GLORY.
Come back next week for the full story of God helping me close out His year of Whimsy.
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation