The Day I Realized My Biological Clock Was Broken

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.

Another year of my 30’s without the title of “mommy,” passes by as I sit here trying to come up with a word for what I am feeling.

Society tells me I should feel sad. Society tells me I should yearn for the day children will lift their tiny arms to me as they mumble, “hold me.”

The word to describe how I feel… well, I’m not quite sure –but sadness it is not. You see, unlike most females who grow up playing mommy with their dolls and crossing off and re-writing potential baby names, I don’t long for the day I will hold the title “mommy.” I’m not sure if this is a product of being single, but if I’m honest, I can’t help but wonder if something is wrong with me.

Why isn’t my biological clock ticking? Why don’t I yearn to bear children? Am I broken?

To all the women who find themselves asking these same questions, I want to share with you what I have learned.

 

Deadlines create desperation.

“So, if I wanna have my kid when I’m 35, I don’t have to get pregnant until I’m 34. [That means] I don’t have to get married until I’m 33! That’s three years… — Oh, wait a minute though. I’ll need a year and a half to plan the wedding, and I’d like to know the guy for a year and a half before we get engaged…” – Rachel, FRIENDS

One thing I’ve come to realize in my 30’s is that deadlines can create desperation.

If we live our lives allowing the cultural and societal expectations to guide us, we can lose sight of the plan God has in store. Society doesn’t dictate your future, God does — and the timeline He operates within is eternal.

Just because your life isn’t lining up the way you think it should, doesn’t mean it isn’t lining up the way God mapped out. If you find yourself struggling with feeling like you must be hitting certain milestones, I hope you’ll take a minute to talk to Him and let Him remind you of what lies ahead.

 

There’s nothing wrong with you.

When I think about the excitement and eagerness I see in other women as they think about the prospect of motherhood, it’s hard not to think something is wrong with me. I can’t help but wonder why I don’t long for those same life events, but in those moments, God reminds me that He doesn’t want my focus to be on those things right now.

Instead, He wants my focus to be on the things He’s called me to do in my present season. Presently, He has called me to a season of preparation and projects. Presently, He has my attention and energy focused on other things. If I was longing for a husband and children, I may be distracted from the very thing He desires to be the center of my attention.

Be encouraged by the words Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, to experience fullness in your season of caring for the things of the Lord and to serve the Lord without distraction.

 

Women give birth to more than children.

In her article, Giving Birth to More Than Children, Sundi Jo shares a great reminder that children are not the only thing women give birth to. Women are nurturers, lovers and creators. Women imagine, envision and produce. Whether it is a project you are working on, a book you are writing, or a person you are mentoring, you are a playing an integral and God intended role in everything you are doing.

 

The Lord has called you to this season. Wherever you are, He wants your focus to be on what He has in store.

Embrace the silence of your biological clock and praise the Lord He has lowered the volume so that your focus can be on whatever He has that lies ahead.

The Beauty of the Unknown

Anxiety, nervousness, anticipation, fear, worry. Those are the feelings that usually come to mind when we think about the unknown. Our desire to know and piece together what happens next usually drives us to a place of increased anxiety, anticipating the outcome.

As we wait to hear the results of our biopsy, MRI or CT scan we are filled with nervousness and worry. With no understanding of what causes certain illness, we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around how to react when our friends and family are diagnosed. As we wait in singleness for the Lord to bring us a spouse our impatience manifests in feelings of anxiousness and sometimes fear that we will be alone forever. The unknown is scary.

But today, I found myself longing desperately for the unknown. In the field I work in, more often then not, we play a temporary role in someone’s life. Sometimes my clients circle back to me but many times that’s not the case. There have been many clients I have worked with over the years who I’ve often thought about, wondering how they were doing. I desire to know if they are still stable, if they’ve stayed on their medication, if they’ve stayed sober, if they’ve stayed out of jail. I want to know they are doing well, but the update never comes. I hope and pray for the best but that’s usually all I can do.

In my mind there are always happy endings because I never actually see or hear about life after I work with them. I get to stay in my happy place, a place full of rainbows and sunshine and healthy people. I know that’s not reality but it works for me, it helps bring brightness to the really ugly world I live in. But today a tornado of darkness trampled in and ruined my rainbow and sunshine filled happy place.

Two weeks ago I transitioned a client after spending 3 months working with him. 3 months of fighting desperately to keep him alive. 3 months of fighting desperately to keep him sober. 3 months of intense conversations trying to provide him with new coping skills to keep him from returning to old habits. 3 months of an intense emotional roller coaster that left me feeling emotionally and physically drained. After 3 months, we transitioned him knowing there was nothing more we could do, we had given him all the tools we could give him and it was up to him to put the tools to use.

Sometimes no amount of new coping skills and tools in the toolbox can help, and today I find myself longing for the unknown, because reality is depressing, ugly, sad and difficult to hear. I learned today that despite my best efforts to keep Chris alive, he reverted back to his old patterns of behavior, resulting in the loss of his life. My heart is breaking and I wish I didn’t know the truth. I want to return to my rainbow and sunshine filled happy place. I want to live my life thinking Chris is somewhere in the world, sober, happy and doing well and I can’t. That’s been forever taken away from me and it makes me so sad to know Chris’ life has come to an end.

My happy place has been torn down and it will never be the same but the memories I have of Chris will be filed away in that happy place because I am still so blessed to have had the chance to work with him.

Chris, I told you how proud I was of you the day you reached 100 days sober and I am still so incredibly proud of you. It hurts my heart to know you felt you needed an escape from your reality and I’m so sorry you couldn’t find the strength to fight this battle any longer. I know this battle was hard for you and I know every day was a struggle. I’m happy you aren’t hurting anymore. I’m happy you aren’t in pain. But I’m sad that you’re gone. You helped me grow in my therapuetic skills. You challenged me to become a better case manager, and you taught me so much. Thank you for helping me understand the ugly side of addiction. Thank you for being raw about your struggle and letting me in to the vulnerable side of you. Thank you for letting me know you. You will be missed.

The secret is out… I’m writing a book!

Naked Friday’s at the psych ER, marriage proposals from the criminally insane, or chocolate chunk cupcakes made from poop served directly to me; my life has been full of interesting stories to tell. Over the years you all have made it very clear you hoped I would one day write a book showcasing the stories of the people I’ve worked with.
 
I may one day take you up on that challenge, however, I’m sad to report, that isn’t what this book is about.  
 
Some of you many know that prior to leaving for Korea, there was a man who had my heart. He made me laugh, I enjoyed his company and no matter how many stupid things he did, my heart always smiled at the thought of him. What you may not know is that despite our many dinner’s, meet up’s over coffee, daily text and phone calls, and intimate conversations about the Lord, we never had the title of being “In a relationship.” 
 
I avoided going to Korea, hoping our friendship would progress into a relationship and after hearing the words “You’re everything I want in a wife, but it’s just not you,” I boarded the plane heart broken and confused. Through the process of healing, I sought the answer to the question “How do I guard my heart.” I googled that phrase, desperate to find out how to keep myself from hurting so much the next time. 
 
In an attempt to find answers, I reached out to several of my girlfriends asking what they thought it meant to “Guard your heart,” and not one of them had the same answer. It’s at that point, that I realized there were probably many other single women out there, who like me, had no clue how to protect themselves in their relationships, dating or otherwise. 
 
As my heart began to heal, the Lord opened my eyes to all the things I needed to take responsibility for. He showed me what I did wrong and the things I could have done differently. Over the last 10 months, I have carefully observed the dating habits of my single friends only to find that many of them continue to participate in the same behaviors I did that lead to such devastation. I hope by writing this book, it will educate the single community on the lessons the Lord has taught me in an effort to help them understand how to date in a healthier way. 
 
I hope you will read the book and spread the news to your friends and family who you think may be interested in reading it as well. Thank you for your continued support! 

Run Waegook Run!

Last year on a whim, my community group and I decided to run the Color Run. I say run but you can hardly call what we did running. All 229 pounds of me showed up thinking I was actually going to be able to run some of it. I hadn’t run in forever and I knew I wouldn’t be able to run all of it but I was certain I would be able to run some of it. Ha! We ran a few steps but mostly we walked, splashed ourselves with color and made paint angles on the ground and it was a blast! 

Although I had a lot of fun, I definitely don’t consider it an actual race. When I heard a girl at work talking about running a half marathon in Korea and how cool it was when she got her first medal in another country, my ears perked up and I thought to myself “I want a medal from another country.” I didn’t actually have a medal from my own country, but I was determined to get one while in Korea. So, with the help of another foreigner who reads Hangul much better than I do, I registered for my first 5k.

For the last few weeks I’ve been training in an attempt to be able to run the entire 5k without walking. Unfortunately, my old ankle injury decided it didn’t like all the running and started to cause me a lot of pain. I wasn’t able to train like I was hoping so I definitely wasn’t prepared to run the entire race.  

 
Despite not being fully prepared, I woke up Saturday morning ready to take my 2 hour bus ride to Boryeong for my race. After 4 cab rides to all the wrong bus terminals in Daejeon, I finally arrived at the correct bus terminal at 6:28am to board the bus departing at 6:32am. I watched as the runners for the half marathon and 10k left to run their courses and eagerly waited to start my 5k. 
 
Running my first race in Korea was interesting to say the least. In addition to the race medal a runner receives, typical gifts for completion include rice and seaweed. Before the start of each race, runners stretch together, and massage each other to prepare for the race. I was given the following warning from the girl who registered me, “Don’t be alarmed if people start touching you.” I’m glad her statement came with an explanation of the race massaging because I definitely would have been caught off guard. And lastly, Korean’s take theme running to a whole new level. I saw a man with pantyhose on his head carring a huge toy gun the entire length of the race and three men wearing cheetah print dresses. Anywhere other than Korea I’m pretty sure the man carrying the gun would have been arrested and held for questioning. 
 

After we completed the race we walked to the nearby beach and jumped into the ocean with our race clothes on. In Korea, bathing suits are not allowed before summer and even during summer time, many girls wear a big baggy t-shirt to swim in due to the very modest dress code they follow in Korea. 

The water was just what we needed after a race in the very humid and hot Korean weather. We came out of the water to be greeted by a group of Ajusshi’s (older Korean men) who wanted us to play a beach game with them. The game is called Jokju and can best be described as soccer volleyball. There is a low net in the middle, above the ground and you get points my serving the ball (with a kick) and kicking the ball from one side of the net to the other until someone scores. The Ajusshi’s predictably underestimated us and were very surprised by our athletic abilities. Several head butts and face plants into the sand later, we took a group picture with the men and parted ways. 

 
It was a super great day and one I will definitely never forget. 
 
Medal from Korea, 34 minute finish time for my first race, a dive in the ocean and beach games with random Korean men… I’d consider that a definite success for my first official race! 

Alone In A Foreign Land

8 days ago I got word that one of the people I have grown to love so dearly while in Korea is leaving sooner than I expected. I knew the end of her contract was quickly approaching but she teased me by dangling the words “I might stay one more year,” in front of me and I got super excited about the thought of getting to spend more time with her. She has spoken wisdom and truth into my life only a mother can share, she has welcomed me with open arms when I didn’t even utter a word and simply laid my head on her shoulder. She is a beautiful person and I am more than sad that soon I will have to say goodbye. 

 
Another dear friend I have made while I’ve been here will also be leaving in a few months. She has tried to speak to me about her excitement of going to Tanzania and selfishly, I have told her I’m not ready to talk about it. Just 6 months ago, I said so many goodbye’s. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and frankly I’m not ready to start doing it again. 
 
I came to Korea knowing it was a heavily transient community and there would be many goodbyes and honestly, it made me very guarded. I haven’t opened up to very many people, I’ve created superficial relationships with most people I’ve met because I didn’t want to let them in knowing one of us would soon be leaving. Facing the quickly approaching goodbye’s, has made me very sad. In a skype date Tuesday, I told a friend back home with only 5 months left I have no desire to make new friendships. Fortunately, Mandy knows me well enough to know when to speak truth into my life and she quickly responded with the words “I love you, I support you, but I can’t relate to you.” She reminded me that my friendships with Corine, Megan and the other wonderful people I have met so far in Korea are so unique because only the people in Korea with me can understand just how hard it is to live here. 
 
They can relate to words that would be so cryptic to my friends back home without a lengthy back story explaining why it’s so frustrating when a child writes the words “I do ballet because I am ugly,” on a speech contest. They understand why I run and start looking at prices of plane tickets when my Korean head teacher utters the words “Don’t worry.” They know what it feels like to be pushed out of the elevator by an Ajusshi so hard you feel you are going to fall over just to politely nod your head and walk back on.  
 
The thought of investing in new friendships can be really scary sometimes but risking your heart is so rewarding when it results in beautiful life long friendships. If I hadn’t risked my heart and opened up to Megan and Corine, I wouldn’t have been blessed with such a wonderful experience so far. 
 
To anyone reading this who is struggling with the same feelings of not wanting to open up and make friendships, I would highly encourage you to take the lock off your heart and throw it away. Soak up every minute of time you have with the people you are in community with right now. Because although it may be temporary, you are creating bonds that go so deep and nothing can ever compare to that. 

Megan and Corine, I can’t express in words how much you mean to me. This blog is for you. You will never be able to get rid of me and I want you to always remember just how special you are to me!