We’re three months into our cross-states move.
Around mid October, 2014, we were just freshly grieving the loss of my Dad when Jeremy’s job of 4 years dropped us without warning. Literally. The day before my Dad’s memorial service, and we find out we don’t have a job anymore. Talk about the definition of suck. From there, I feel like everything was such a whirlwind.
For nearly three weeks, we struggled to find work in our hometown. We listened to the urgings we both felt on our hearts that we were supposed to relocate. We spent 5 days traveling, interviewing, looking for homes, and scouting areas in North Carolina. We turned down jobs in Charlotte. We accepted a job in Raleigh. We packed up our home. We got it ready to list for sale. We closed accounts. Tied up loose ends. Marked off days on the calendar. Said goodbye to all our friends. And we just pummeled through until we found ourselves locking our doors to our home for the last time, and hit the road for NC.
And now, sitting here three months later, sometimes the weight of that realization nearly takes my breath away. That’s a lot of change. How do you make sense of it all? Can you make sense of it all?
We lived in Florida our whole lives up until now. That’s 26 years of life in The Sunshine State. That’s two and a half decades of relationships. A lifetime of growing up in a place that you learn to know like the back of your hand. Family. “Life”. It’s all we knew. And while there were some very distant dreams of branching out one day, we never thought that decision would be made for us.
So needless to say, when the reality hits, it hits.
When you realize it’s been months since you’ve seen your best friend face to face.
When you look at a map and see that you’re no less than 700 miles from everything you’ve ever known.
When you see how life is moving on without you.
When you look around and don’t know a single soul in the midst of everything new.
When you realize that “date night” now means an hour on the couch with your spouse while the kid is in the tub because what’s a babysitter?
When “lonely” becomes part of your three year old’s everyday vocabulary.
The weight of so much change is difficult to bear sometimes. I’ve caught myself with feelings of envy, bitterness, and anger because I feel so much loss.
We were at church the other day – this wonderful, Godsend of a place we’ve been going to – and for a few minutes, I was engrossed in a lovely conversation with a Raleigh native behind me. The conversation was just flowing as we stood there getting to know each other, and when she found out how new we were to the area, she asked me what brought us here. And I surprised myself with my answer, because it just came out of me without even a thought.
“Well, it started with work. A job brought us here, but you know? I have to believe that it’s really for something so much more.”
And that answer hasn’t left me. Because here I’ve been, trying to hang on, waiting for this to feel like home, praying that the clouds will clear, begging God to bring us some friends, pleading that He will just make it all feel right, fighting my way through tears most days, warring to keep a smile, trying to make this house a home, finding my new normal, and balancing being a wife and mom in the midst of it all…
How can such heavy and lonely times be full of so much hope?
And you know? I don’t completely know the answer to that question. But I do know that even though it’s been quite a struggle, we haven’t gone through ALL that we’ve gone through for God to just let the lonely and heavy be the end to the story. That’s not it.
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – my great army that I sent among you.” Joel 2:25
Time can’t be restored, I know that. More days, months, years cannot be added to this life. But God can do what no man can, and He can turn the years of pestilent swarm into a great harvest. He doesn’t walk with us through drought and storm to let it all be in vain.
I don’t mean to sound like a cliche blog preacher, here. But I’m putting this all down because I’m walking this road in my own life.
It’s been excruciatingly hard. Especially the last year.
One year ago this month, I thought I was experiencing a ruptured ovarian cyst. But I knew that something wasn’t quite right, as this was different than anything I had ever experienced before. A doctor’s visit and ultrasound later, I found out I was having a miscarriage. We’ve been trying to get pregnant for years, and you’re telling me it’s over before I even knew about it?? I can’t describe that kind of pain.
Then Dad. The Dad that didn’t have much of anything to do with me for all these years, found to have an aggressive form of lung cancer, and he needs my help? Not just a little help, but when the cancer metastasized to his brain just 4 months into the diagnosis, we moved him into our home. This was 24-7 care. It was a lot. It was hard. And while we cried ourselves to sleep at night out of pure exhaustion, heartache, terror, and grief, the cancer relentlessly continued to spread. That speed of human deterioration. The horror of cancer. There are no words.
To watch my husband give of himself faithfully to a growing company year after year, only for them to blindside him with a vaguely-defined fire. Financial security cut off. Self-esteem shot down. A very blurry future ahead. All while staring through tear-filled eyes as we stood by the ocean the next day to spread the ashes of our father.
Lord, make it stop.
But no. Pack your bags. Pull up your anchor, because you’re not staying in place anymore. Forget comfortable. Forget what you know. Say goodbye to familiar, and walk into your new life… Your new “home”. Where there are no friends. No family. Nothing to lean on but your faith, and each other. 12 hours from “normal”. 12 hours from help. 12 long hours. Faith and each other.
But then I think back to my conversational answer on Sunday. Full of hope. That’s where I found myself. Because in a life full of circumstances – up and down – that’s always where you find yourself if you stay dependent upon the only one Who can sustain weary hearts, tired hands, and a life of uncertainty.
That’s where I’ve been praying to find myself for so long. But what I know now that I couldn’t see back then is that God can’t answer a prayer like that unless He moves you to a place where you have to depend on Him.
I remember praying a long time ago that God would move my heart to surrender my life completely to His will. I literally prayed
“God, whatever you have for me. Do whatever it is You need to do with my life…”
And hindsight is 20/20, right? So now here I sit, three months into a major life transition, and I can see that His hand is all over every part.
The miscarriage? Of course, I don’t know why mommas lose their babies. I’m not confident that we’ll ever have full comprehension of miscarriage here on this earth. But what I do know is that just four months prior to having that miscarriage, I was begging and pleading with God for just a sign that my body was capable of getting pregnant. When it had failed all those years to even show a measly biological sign… Yet there I sat with physical proof of an answered prayer. I asked for a sign, and He was faithful to show me that He is still in control.
The cancer journey? While I could probably go the rest of my life without seeing that amount of physical suffering, I am forever grateful for what The Lord did during that time with my Dad. He brought restoration, and closure to a very broken relationship. And I can’t say that it would’ve been the same if I never received that phone call in the first place. Thank God that my Dad’s life could end while he was surrounded by his children. Loved. Forgiven. And thank God that I got to receive my own healing as I forgave. No more hurt. No more bitterness.
And even now with this move. New job. Sure, the easy synopsis would say that we had to move for work. Gotta pay those bills, right? Of course that’s part of it. But I remain hopeful that this is just the beginning of another growth chapter in our life. I believe that this is going to be a time for our family to blossom together, and individually, and for us to grow into our unique purposes in life. Jeremy and I have been dreaming for some adventure for quite some time. Praying for financial breakthrough and freedom. Praying and dreaming for career and ministry opportunities. And when we opened ourselves up to just following where we felt God was leading us, He brought us to this place.
And might I add, all for His glory. All so that I could depend on Him and see His provision. It’s felt like absolute hell at times, but God. He hasn’t skipped a beat. He hasn’t stopped showing me that He’s near. Depend on God, and He will provide. He will.
And while we haven’t moved into a place where we just pick right up and everything feels like I want it to, I do know that this wasn’t all just for a job… There’s some big purpose yet to be revealed. But eyes up. That’s what I have to tell myself when I get up everyday.
When the loneliness feels like too much.
When Jeremy and I don’t have a second of alone time.
When I want to ask why.
When I want to feel sorry for myself.
When I wish for something different.
When I envy.
Get angry that things haven’t gone MY way.
It’s not easy when you’re moved. But God who never changes, who is the same today as he was yesterday, says that He will restore. Repay. And not a single second will be in vain.