I got a new calculator, and it opened my eyes. To the realities of adulthood.

Let me explain. I picked up a new teaching assignment this year at Highlands Latin School. High school Chemistry. I was overjoyed to be able to take over this class because in high school and college I loved chemistry! Chemistry explains the way substances in our world interact with each other. It's about math. So logical. My high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Whitaker, had a big, low, growling voice and a gentle way. He always had a cup of STRONG coffee in his hand. He told us about the wonders of sig figs and unit conversions. He taught us to rinse glassware with water three times. I'm smiling as I type this.

Fast-forward. Now I'M the teacher, in front of a classroom of sweet students with bright futures ahead of them.

So... I get up there the first month of class, and we start doing unit conversions, and I realize I DON'T HAVE A SCIENTIFIC CALCULATOR. What happened to my old one? I suppose it got retired from use when I began calculus and needed a super duper graphing version with a big slick screen. At some point, meal planning, changing diapers, sleep deprivation, came between me and my Texas Instruments TI-30.

So, no problem, Amazon is here to help, for $11.97 I ordered myself a snappy new one (which looks IDENTICAL to my old one, if my 40yo memory serves me well). Today I was sitting at my table, working some problems in preparation for Chemistry's test next week, and I realized that the feel of those buttons under my fingers was SO SATISFYING. What in the world?? I thought to myself. What could be pleasant about tapping calculator buttons? But nevertheless, there it was. Using this calculator brought back the pleasant feeling of doing something I enjoyed, something I felt I was GOOD at.

It stopped me in my tracks, mid-problem. Why was that feeling so foreign? The feeling of doing something I was confident about, something I knew would produce a good result? Then it hit me- ADULTHOOD. From the time I stepped out of my parents' home to go to college, I've been challenged. I've been stretched. Sometimes almost to the breaking point, I've learned to be independent, manage money, be a supportive wife (I try!). Then it was adjusting to graduate school, getting my first real job. Nothing is easy about this adult stuff, folks. Don't even get me started on having kids. JUST when you think you've found a stage you can handle, kids throw you a curve ball and you're back to just doing your best at this new challenge, and praying God will help you & your kids!

The things we used to be good at, they start to fade. In high school, we can commit hours per week perfecting our serve or jump shot. But we get older, there's no time to put toward those things, and our bodies stop cooperating!! Need I say more??

Now. I know that this is how God intended life to be. If everything were easy, we would just sit back and gloat through life, and what would be our need for God? It's these constant challenges that God uses most to woo us to him. I've absolutely grown the most during the dark periods. The season of having newborns. Phew, was it humbling. Starting a business- let me tell you there have been plenty of flops and dumb mistakes made through Audra's Gardens. The year my dear friend and sister-in-law Carrie was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I watched her suffering, her family's suffering, her brave courage & faith... that season stretched me to the max. But God was right there, and I felt the gentleness of Jesus SO near, every single day, even when it didn't make sense.

So I know it's not a place I can, or even want to, sit in for long, but once in a while it's good to remember that there are things I'm good at. Even if it's typing on a calculator, ha! I think as adults we should all make time to find something we're good at, and DO those things for a minute! Feel the satisfaction and confidence of all things you've mastered on your journey, even if you have to think back a few years. And in the times when you're feeling your way in the dark, turn to God. He loves you and he will 100% be there when you ask him. He wants us to grow and he'll help us do it!

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