This is the second piece to share our journey. Written in the middle of October.
I’ve had my share of kicking, screaming, and asking “WHY?!” during this process.
I cried the other day looking at a lilac bush planted three seasons ago and set to finally bloom this year. I can relate to the plant. Right when – in my own planning – I feel comfortable and ready to bloom where planted, I’m often moved or called elsewhere. That’s how it seems at least.
As basketball was becoming a major focus in my life, I shattered my leg. As majorettes slowly replaced it, my heart (literally) had other plans.
As I filled out my acceptance letter to Nyack College, I dropped everything to apply for a school I’d never seen (had I not run, my faith might still not be my own, and John and I wouldn’t be together…story for later).
As John and I expressed comfort in his public accounting job, he experienced a second layoff – quite typical for new public accountants as the tax season concludes).
As PA began to feel like home for us as a new married couple, a few kids in, we were called to North Carolina.
As I felt like NC was becoming home and friendships were taking root, ministry was beginning and new seeds were being planted, the same open doors that took us there, led us back to Pennsylvania.
As my own career took off, my anxiety became debilitating, forcing change.
And now, well, here we are.
Looking back, a pattern becomes very obvious: a pattern I should be grateful for.
God has clearly opened the right doors and slammed the wrong ones in our faces, time and time again. This is something we’ve prayed for and depended on. It’s been affirming and exciting. It’s also been frustrating; it’s hard to restart over and over again.
Through it all, though, through reflection and pure dependence, there has been a peace that passes understanding right below the surface of my fighting, my defenses, and my protests (all of which, I’m really good at!).
Here is just one moment to illustrate this:
One Thursday morning, I sat on our front porch, coffee in hand. I felt the anxiety of the unknown creep in. But then, I saw the Biltmore (NC) logo on my coffee cup against the backdrop of our front porch pumpkins. That place that was “home” represented on the cup is now a warm memory. The pumpkins? I can have them anywhere. The sun on my face, the pleasure of God’s creation? Also not unique to this front porch step. A wave of peace washed over me.
Looking back, this moment means a lot. Two hours after that glimpse of peace, we’d receive a call that John needed to be in D.C. the next morning. The process I’d been fighting was moving forward. My anxiety ramped up, but was squashed by the peace of that gift of a moment two hours prior.
It’s not the only time that this peace that passes understanding made itself known.
Just a few nights ago, I turned off the computer; looking at houses, rentals, schools, and commute times had my head spinning.
“Nope.,” I thought. “Our life is here. This unknown is unnecessary. PA is home!”
Once again, in a moment of anxiousness and unsettled thoughts, clarity came through.
Is this process full of unknowns? Yes. Does God want us in D.C.? Question mark. Is God calling us somewhere else? Maybe.
But, once again, I looked around.
My evening routine, complete is a comfy sea turtle blanket and gray lounge chaise? That’d follow me anywhere. I reflected more on my day. During it, I had worked from home in a job that allows me to be anywhere. I’d run to the grocery store… grocery stores are not unique to here. I’d spent time with and felt grounded by time with my kids. I’d cooked dinner for them and discussed the day with my husband.
The things that ground me? They’re things. The people I’d interacted with? They’re my family: we move together.
Nothing about my day was unique to this feeling of “home,” except the walls in which the moments took place.
(NOTE: There are many friendships, and relationships that change with moves – in this case, I was just discussing a single day. Not discounting the hard).
God was showing himself through peace once again while opening my eyes to the fact that I was turning a building (our house) into an idol, above his prodding and calling. He was releasing it from my grasp in a clear, stern, yet graceful way.
In these and other moments, God has been leading my heart to him, bringing me back in and calling me to trust.
This peace has deepened my reliance on him while creating an open heart, even through the reluctance. His foundation is like no other. His indescribable peace is a mercy beyond mercies.
Gratitude and a willingness to follow are the only possible appropriate responses. For the first time in – perhaps – my whole life, today, I’m grateful for the unknown.
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11.