It’s been a little while since I wrote about me and what’s going on in my head and heart. Sometimes it’s because it felt like nothing was going on. Other times, it was because I didn’t know how to express it. And still other times, it was because I didn’t want anyone else to hear or know me. But I’m feeling more ready to open up (at least at this very moment), so here goes.
The last two years were hard, not just kinda hard, but downright difficult. When God helped us see it was time to move from our inner-city neighborhood almost exactly two years ago, it was relieving and painful all at the same time. He had given us deep, intimate relationships in those four years. He had shown us His greatness and provisions through the people we there to be family with. He had challenged us to be light in the darkness. He had given us grace upon grace. But. Time was up. We were out of energy and had little proximal support to go on. So, after fixing up our house, selling it, and adopting Grace (think whirlwind for six months), we packed up and moved into a new, quiet, calm, restful place.
As soon as we moved, everyone started asking if we had met our new neighbors? What were we doing? What was next? But quite frankly, I wasn’t ready for those questions. I was still dealing with the loss and heartache of moving and ending our life as I knew it. I needed time to heal. Time to rest. Time to think. Time to process. Time to cry. Pretty much no one understood what I was going through or why I felt the way I did, which was super difficult because I didn’t know how to explain things either. So, we rested. I began to enjoy playing piano again, reading for fun, biking, and even baking. It was good.
Fast forward a year or so and things seemed to be going better. Life wasn’t so sad, and we were in a new groove. But for some reason, any time we talked about our previous neighborhood and life there, it brought back sadness and hurt. I had expected “time to heal all wounds.” Not so.
Thankfully, my dear husband is fabulous with analogies and connecting back to the big picture. He told me, “Just because we’ve moved on and are resting doesn’t mean the memory won’t hurt anymore. It’s like when someone you love dies, you don’t suddenly stop feeling sad when you think about them. There’s still pain.” It made perfect sense. I had a false expectation that after time, all my sad and hurt and pain would simply disappear. When in reality, time healed, but in a different way. I learned how to live despite the broken, despite the scar.
And now for the now. It’s been another year, and although there is still a scar, it’s less visible. And it’s a scar I can talk about and help others who are going through a similar situation, like my friend who just got back from overseas and is dealing with major hurt and ick because of how her time in the mission field went. As we talked recently, I found myself relating to her story and getting mad and frustrated with her because I knew the pains and hurts all too well. I was reminded again of what Nate said and was thankful for his wisdom. It’s okay to still feel the mad and hurt. But this time, I was on the other end. The end that meant I could be an understanding ear and the one who just ‘gets it’ to support and encourage another broken sister.
Feel. It was my ‘word of the year’ last year. It has pushed me into this new year to a new word. Well, two words. Intentional Joy. Our season is changing. We’re sensing God move us from a season of rest and recovery into a season of newness and growth. We’re not certain what it will look like yet, but we do know it’s going to be a gentle, slow transition. With the transition, I want to be certain that Joy is at the center. I spent a long time processing and growing and changing over the last two years and joy was mostly left out. I was even beginning to look back on our four years in the inner city with a negative tint, when that wise-Nate said, “We loved our time there and we loved the people. We didn’t leave because we disliked it or were afraid. We left because we knew God didn’t want us to be missionary-ing alone.” Joy. There was joy when we were there and I’m returning to joy this year.
Joy for me means more discipline and structure. It means more laughter and smiling. More outside. More time with my wise and funny husband. More time with my silly and wild kiddos. Intentional Joy. I’m sure it will look and morph into different things in the coming year. And I’m sure God will teach me and challenge me into viewing joy in a new way. I’m ready.