Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Becoming Me

The Nickerson clan around 1970.

Maybe it's because I am very close to being another year older, or possibly the fact that I will be Grammie to 3 beautiful girls by the end of the summer, but whatever the cause, my thoughts drift to the past - where I've come from, the present - where I'm going and the future - what my legacy will be.
So I'll start with where I've come from and maybe by the end of this blog I will have saved some money on therapy. Being raised in a family with 9 children I felt that during my pre-teen, teen years my identity was babysitter/peacekeeper and generally avoiding the fray and challenges that my parents dealt with on a continual basis. To this day I will try to avoid conflict at all cost, which I believe is a direct result of my upbringing.
When Andrew came into my life, I completely fell in love, wanting and needing so much to be with him and to begin our life together. As I reflect on this time, I wonder if I was also looking for an out - to be someone special and unique in his eyes. So instead of GIVING - my time, my love, my care, I was running full speed into the role of TAKING and it was so, so good. Andrew was my healer and everything I had ever dreamed that a great husband would be. However, throughout our married life I realized that my identity was once again being tangled in with being a wife and eventually mom. There were times during these years that I felt completely lost and really did not understand who God wanted me to be. The busyness of raising 5 daughters and the reality of desiring to keep our marriage alive and vital was very draining and the years seem to have sped by so quickly.
Although I have gone to church since I was a wee child and considered it always to be important and relevant in my life, I ponder on "why?" and the answers are varied. Being a part of countless small groups, being involved in various ministries through the years, always striving to do the "right" things - investing my time in activity - is this why God created me? Or, as I am slowly beginning to understand, am I here to desire and hopefully achieve a loving, nurturing relationship with my Saviour? There are times I feel I have done everything so backwards. As I seek God and my heart aches for a new closeness with Him, I wonder if the "things" I try to accomplish now, will be for Him rather than me wanting the affirmation of 'a job well done'. Why has it taken so long to figure this out?
Which brings me to the present (or near present). Five years ago, on a whim, I decided I would apply for a part time job (after 23 years of "working" in the home). This was a challenge for me and after the interview (very nervous) and then getting the job, it seemed to fulfill this strange need of someone else appreciating the work I was doing (again looking for affirmation). During this time my baby sister became ill, was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma (bone cancer) and within 40 days left this earth. She was the gentlest, kindest, most loving person I knew. So, over the duration of her sickness and death every ounce of joy and sense of happiness was sucked from my being. And here we have it again, my sense of identity wrapped up in being the oldest sister, trying to protect and care for and 'save' someone who I loved so much. There was a period of time after Wendy died that I knew there was a battle being waged for my soul. It was so palpable and also very frightening. There had to be prayer warriors bringing me to the throne of grace or I would not be where I am today. God won that battle and He will always be victorious. He conquered the grave and death for me and I am so very thankful for that. All He wants from me is a relationship and yet I when I seem to get close, I veer away. Presently, I am working as a ministry assistant at our church and wondering if this is where I need/want to be. The job can be challenging and I do enjoy the work, but again trying to figure out if God's plan includes this.
On to the future - my legacy. As I think about our grandchildren and the world they will be a part of, I pray that they will learn about the amazing love of God. If I can contribute to that knowledge, I will consider myself blessed and complete.
I am on a journey, and yet I'm not alone. My family, my friends and my God travel with me. May I be identified as a Christ follower and be open to opportunity and growth - all for Him.
James 4:14 ~ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone.


  1. Testing!!
    From Judy via Facebook
    Laurel, I just read your blog. You have an amazing way of articulating your life! So well said, my friend. You are a blessing to me♥ and an amazing woman of faith.

  2. You have a beautiful way with words Laurel and such a blessing for your daughters and friends to be able to know what's in that heart of yours! I wish My mom kept a journal like this. <3

  3. Thanks for sharing Mom. It's great to read something so honest and raw. I think that everyone has an identity crisis (at least at some point in their lives - some more than once) and I know that I definitely have. When I get to that point of confusion, depression, unsettledness - what ever you want to call it - I try (and tim helps me) to think about the things that help me, that make me happy, and that give me the feeling of identity and worth. It usually involves some personal bible study (Pamela and I have been working through Beth Moore's "Believing God" series and it's really good), I think you would like it - maybe you and judy can look it up! Anyway, back on track - bible study and getting people (tim) to pray with me helps a lot as well as doing things I love like scrapbooking, going for walks, organizing things...I find if I don't try and take a hold of what's happening I get more depressed and usually resort to sleep as an escape. It's a bit different now with the pregnancy because I'm tired a lot but it has definitely been a problem in the past, where I will just sleep for hours to escape and then feel worse when I wake up.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for being so real, especially about Wendy's death. It really hit all of us hard and we all grieve differently but I honestly don't know where I would be right now if I didn't have Christ to cling onto as well as those last prayer times that I had with Wendy when she was in the hospital.

    When it comes to your work, I really think you should think about what makes you happy and the least stressed. Where do you value your time and what makes you feel the most fulfilled? Are there things that you would rather be doing and committing time to? Personally I would love if you weren't working and would have more free time to come and visit;) Especially when the babies arrive, but you have to decide that for yourself. I've told you that before though. Even though we're grown up and have our own families now we still need you and dad to be present in our lives, it just looks a little different. Anyway give me a call sometime if you want to talk more about this. I miss you, and I hope we can get home sometime before baby arrives. At least we know that we'll see you when you come up to the cottage!

    Thanks again for sharing!