Friday, October 22, 2010


I hope this post doesn't come off as whiney or all me, me, me... but I get like this quite a bit. I can't really put my finger on it, but I feel restless. It's normally when I have lots of time to think and ponder. I start dreaming about what I want my life to be like. What I want to do. What I want to accomplish. I dream about new things - new jobs, new places, new adventures. I have a longing to do something with my life that is beyond this little place in Clancy. I know for now, I am committed to being Jack's mom and helping him through these first fragile years. But I know that there is more for me, and for us as a family.

I've always loved to daydream, but sometimes it can be such a downer because it can make one feel stuck. This morning I had such a deep sense of urgency to search jobs on the Internet, looking specifically for international development work. I have a HUGE place in my heart for relief agency work and have been looking for years at jobs with International Justice Mission,Compassion International, Samaritan's Purse, Food for the Hungry, World Vision, and even government jobs dealing with development... after all, it's what I went to school for. I don't necessarily want to live overseas (although it's not out of the question, depending on things like quality of health care), but I would love to work on logistics here in the states.

My parents let me travel the word when I was very young. My first, true overseas experience (besides a quick trip to Mexico) was when I went to Ghana, West Africa at the eager young age of fourteen. It changed my life. I worked in a medical clinic and saw more those few weeks then I had ever seen before. A couple years later, I traveled Europe for a summer, being exposed to so much history, it totally brought out the nerd in me and made me so inquisitive about life outside of Montana. The next year I was able to travel to Israel and witness firsthand the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. After those experiences, I was determined to study International Relations in college and hopefully someday, help change the world! How naive I was to think I could help, but I had such big aspirations!

I went to college and studied politics. I went to Washington D.C. for an internship. I went to grad school and studied how to manage organizations and about public policy implementation. I strived, I learned, I dreamed. All in preparation for a life filled with adventure! My first job out of grad school was actually teaching political science at a university. Jon and I were newlyweds and I went with him to his first job post law school as a judicial clerk. During that year of teaching, I was dreaming. I decided to apply to Ph.D. programs in Washington D.C. My husband and I would move there once accepted. It was a great, exciting plan. Well, long story short, I was denied. The programs were too competitive and small (only around 8 slots per year) and I was told I needed "more experience" and a clearer vision of what I wanted to study.

So we moved to Helena because my husband found a great job. He told me "take as much time to decide what you want to do". How awesome is that?! Honestly, I was quite crushed and depressed because my plan to go back to school didn't work out. I took a whole year to just basically do nothing and I dreamed. I dreamed and wrestled about the next step. I thought about what I could do in Montana to "change the world" while using my gifts. It was too risky to leave on account of my dreams, when my husband had such a good job. It was then I decided to open the PRC of Helena.

What an exhilarating, hard, fun, stressful endeavor that was! And during my second year of starting this non-profit, I found out I was pregnant with our precious Jack. Well... the rest of that story is history. If you have been following this blog, you will know that our son was born extremely premature and it rocked our world, turned it up side down, and left us just wanting to survive.

So now is a time of restlessness. Of trying to figure out what our life holds and how to deal with Jack's health issues in the mix. Can we move? What kind of jobs could we take? Do they have good health insurance? Do we want to leave our beloved Montana and family? How to decide?

My friend Julie gave me a book last week called "A Hole in our Gospel". You can read her review here. Let me just say, I have been torn about reading it, but I know I will LOVE IT. I just know it's going to stir up so many emotions for me. It will probably make me more restless. What does God have for us as a family? How do I take this desire to help others and use my gifts to make the most of my life? I am just not satisfied at all to live a normal life, going from here to there, having kinda ok experiences, doing kinda fun things, mixed with the menial tasks of every day life... all while watching the world I live in continue to crumble. What am I doing to help? How am I using my gifts? What needs to happen to get me out of "restless" into "action". Who knows?

Not every day is a restless day, but I am feeling it right now.
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Lindsay said...

Jessi, you might also like a book called "Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian" written by Gary Haugen (director of the IJM).

Julie said...

This is so my heart right now. I want so badly to do more, but feel a bit stuck. Not that I would change anything. I know with all of my heart that this is my place now, raising my children and putting them first. But I don't want to be 45 and wondering where my life went and why I didn't do more.

I have such a passion for these things too. What you wrote about wanting more than just going about normal life really struck home with me. I could have written that same sentence.

I have a really cool idea I want to share with you...I'll email you.

Keep being restless! And read the book!

Babs said...

Lovely post, Jessi. It made my heart hurt a bit to read it. I'm confident that you will find a way to help on a large level that will fit in with your family and fill your heart.

Alyssa said...

I was so happy to finally have a chance to read your blog. Wow. What a whole lot we have in common. :) I have to go back and read more of your old the one about the mugs!
On this post, I can say on some level that I know what you're talking about, although it sounds like you have waaaayyy more ambition than I do. My husband and I suddenly have a huge urge to move as well and are talking about it almost every day....and health care for the girls always comes up as a concern. Finland has the BEST health care in the world, and it's scary to move somewhere else, although most of Europe is probably pretty great as well. Maybe you guys should move to Finland? :)
It sounds like you have such big dreams and I'm sure big things will happen in many areas of your life....raising a little superman is one them. ;)

Beth said...

Jessi! Like julie said... dont stop dreaming and being restless! God will show you what it is you are to do at the right time! And it was not naive to believe you could change the world. You already have! Like Heidi Baker says... Love the one, Stop for the one in front of you at the moment, and that is changing the world! God has big plans for you... or else you wouldnt be a big dreamer, doer and believer like you are! Love you!

Justin and Crystal Billing said...

Are we related? ;) You seem sort of familiar here. I think maybe I am only a few years further into than you. Jack and Jon kisses, that is where it is at, and perhaps a small steady outlet on those too quiet of days.

Erica Hefty said...


Thank you for writing this blog entry. Today, I found myself reading your thoughts on dreams and restlessness. The spirit of your words resounded with me.

As I read down the page the more I felt like you were reading my mind. I, too, want to be an active participant in international development. My dream took me to Manchester and then all over and now Montana. Washington D.C., "A Hole in our Gospel", FFH, etc. All places and parts of my journey too....crazy.

Circumstances change us. Sometimes the dream becomes more elusive for a season, but, then, isn't that the nature of dreams. The ebb and flow...the restlessness. I can get caught in the lie the time will always bind us. My perspective is limited to a couple dimensions but God sees the whole.

We walk by faith and we fight for hope and we dream...

Love to you and your beautiful family,


Catarina Aleixo said...

Hello Jessi,
I know this comment is coming late for your 2010 restlessness, but your latest post just directed me here. I wondered whether this non-profit might be of interest to you and they are hiring and/or looking for volunteers:
They have designed an infant warmer - that costs about 100th of what an incubator costs - to help preemies survive in the developing world.
I may volunteer myself but as I am not in the US this might be more complicated. As you seem to be a talented writer I'm sure your skills would be very much valued. Just a thought. xx

Jessi said...

Oh thank you, Catarina! I'm definitely going to check it out!

Catarina Aleixo said...

You're very welcome. It seems like such a good cause. I've been so aware of how lucky my family was that we lived in a relatively wealthy nation when my 30-weeker was born. I met a lady from Angola in a pneumo ward here in Portugal who had lost a baby at about 24 weeks when she had him there and her story was absolutely crushing. She had her daughter later at 28 weeks or thereabouts and was just sent home with her with instructions to feed her and keep her warm. When I met them the little girl was 17 months old an an absolute credit to her mother's love and dedication.