The last year has been, what I continue to refer to as “the transition,” ad nauseum. I am personally sick of hearing myself use those two little words strung together every time some one asks me how it’s going.
The truth is, I am realizing, we are always in somewhat of a transition. As people who are always growing, always adapting, always changing… we are then always transitioning. Transitioning into who Christ has created us to be. Transitioning into the people he foresaw. Transitioning into (hopefully) a better version of who we used to be. This transition is no different, except we drug our kids along with us for the ride and they be-bopped around haphazardly behind us as we tried to shield them from as much hurt and pain as we could, as we shouldered the burdens and obstacles as they came at us.
A little over a year ago, we arrived in Vegas with nothing more than some suitcases to start our new lives. We, were so grateful to be received so warmly by my mom and stepdad; their generosity truly knows no bounds. Alan slipped into a new job, and then a second job fairly seamlessly. I however struggled a bit more, I came back pregnant, embarking on a new homeschool journey, little community, none of my old friends in Vegas, and a relationship with the church that was shaky at best.
Oh how I have never been more closer to Jesus, but his church, was a struggle for me. I get it… To love Jesus is to love the church for he loved the church so fiercely he compares it to the way a husband ought to love his wife. Two becoming one. I’ve always loved the church, but I’ve always been on the inside of the church too. During our sabbatical, we had some hard conversations and we were very honest, transparent, and broken about where we were in life, in ministry, in our marriage. It pains me to say the church hurt us and didn’t take the opportunity to care for us/it’s missionaries very well at all. The church is not infallible and she makes mistakes. I am working on forgiving her and finding a community where we can truly thrive in a healthy life giving way. Where we can pour into and give more than we could receive. We haven’t found that yet, but we continue to prayerfully seek where the Lord would have us go.
Homeschooling our daughters has been the greatest adventure I never knew existed. There are many reasons we chose this path, but I’ll keep it simple in saying, God placed his desire for me to do this, on my heart and he began opening doors. Opening doors to friendships with other homeschooling moms, opening doors to an amazing homeschool group (a rare find in Vegas), opening doors to genuinely special friendships with cousins, and new friends, and opening doors to a Bible study of all homeschooling moms. He not only gave me a clear directive to homeschool our children, but also community and friendships with moms from all walks of life and I simply couldn’t be more tickled that he works in these ways. I love learning from these moms, gleaning wisdom and insight, laughing with them and even though I often drive 30+ minutes to get to an event, it’s all worth it! I wish I knew what I now know- homeschooling is SO FUN! It is a sacrifice- a sacrifice of time, my space, my wants, my to-do’s, but I have gained the sweetest friendships with my daughters, we are learning together, and watching their love for Jesus, their baby sister and our family time has blessed me beyond measure.
Iris. She was the love I didn’t know was missing. After the miscarriages, I’ve often said, that part of my heart grew cold, then numb, and that numbness turned to acceptance and I willed it into joy for what the Lord had given us, but that day when that tiny 7 lb. 11 oz. baby was put onto my chest, my world cracked open and the fire was lit and is burning brightly again. I would go on to struggle with PPD and PPA, which I am sure was just more of my usual anxiety but ratcheted up. I am grateful for doctors who listen, medication that works and a voice that will continue to advocate for women making the best choices for them and their personal health. Watching my girls love Iris so much nearly brings me to tears daily. The other night, as I sat on the girls’ bed and we were praying together and talking, one of them remarked “mommy, I know now how God works things out for our good and his purpose.” I asked her what she meant by that, and she said “well, I never would want to lose two babies, but if we had them, we might not have Iris, and I can’t imagine our lives without Iris.” I cried. Me too sweet girls, me too. And through tears the three of us talked about what it will be like to meet my babies and their siblings in heaven one day.
When Iris was just 3 weeks old, on a whim, I decided to become a consultant for a company that is dear to my heart, Beautycounter. More on this in the future, but God has given me purpose outside of my greater purpose and role to my family. I am so grateful for that. Shortly after we were able to rent a house and have been in “our place” since April.
In the still moments, my spirit is settled. When I am with the Lord, wherever I am, my spirit is settled. When I allow all the noise and chaos of “the transition” and this last year to take over my mind, I feel so jumbled and out of sorts. I wonder what’s next? Should we buy a house? Should we move out of state? Should we go back into overseas missions somewhere? But it truly is he who gives us peace. Praise God I do not need to fabricate my own peace or my own joy. It flows freely from him if we will just sit long enough to receive it.
So that’s where I sit on this September night. The sun is beginning to set a little earlier, there’s a slight cooling in the air. Our shadows look longer. I’ve aged this year too. I look in the mirror and I see all 36 years, plus some baby weight, but mostly these last few years. The lines across my forehead and squinting of my eyes may tell of the stress of the years, but I hope the creases around my eyes and mouth tell of the laughter as well. This last year brought me unexpected joy in a sea of unknowns from the most unlikely of places.
This life, this crazy, beautiful, messy, hard, joy-filled, pain-full life. It’s a ride to behold. I know when I write an update a year from now, it certainly will look completely different because that’s the thing- we may plan our steps, but it’s the Lord who determines our path. I thought I knew what the rest of my life entailed and boy I was so far off I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m grateful, for his plans are always better than ours. We can believe that, even when we don’t feel it or understand it.
There’s only one place to go from here—> forward. Part 3, Looking forward to what’s ahead will be making it’s debut here on the blog next.
Thanks for reading friends. Your comments and love always mean so much to me on this journey. Though this is mainly a cathartic outlet for myself, many have commented how you relate or connect to a certain piece of my story or writings- keep the comments coming, they really do encourage me and I love taking time to read them and pray for you.