I’ve always thought of myself as being rather “well adjusted” in terms of change and transition.
I’ve based that conclusion on the fact that my family moved around a lot while I was growing up (Texas, California, Florida) and I was fine. I missed the life/people we were leaving behind but I don’t remember ever feeling traumatized or paralyzed by the changes, and my parents have confirmed that I handled those changes really well.
Well, now I’m attributing that “well adjusted” characteristic to simply being a kid, and kids are generally pretty resilient.
I’m actually a total wimp, upon further review.
As an adult, I struggle with fear and anxiety more than anything else, and I am learning (ever so slowly), that life will continue to be a series of transitions and unknowns until the day I die.
I WANT to only desire what God has for me, no matter what kind of adversity or suffering that includes. But I’ve come to understand that I (selfishly) want a life that is comfortable. Financial security, physical health, busy but not stressful, with lots of fun thrown in too. But I know that is a far cry from real life in this broken world, and sometimes all the change (and my fears of the unknown) seem almost too much to bear. I would love to say that after walking with the Lord for so long (I’m 32 now and I was only 4 when I asked Jesus to be my God and forgive my sin) that I have rock solid faith that isn’t tested and that I’m not subject to my emotions and fears. Unfortunately, I can’t say that. I’ve come to learn that I need God every hour of every day, even when I don’t recognize that I do.
And these emotions that have been so powerfully unbearable lately? They bring me to my knees and God uses the way I feel to create total dependence on Him. I wish that we could learn as much about God’s love and grace when everything is going really well. When things are fun, and easy. I don’t like the fact that maturity is born through adversity, but I accept it. I want to have a humble heart, a teachable spirit. And I want to live for God, not for myself and my own comfort or desires. I think the only way to live this way is to really truly know Jesus. To spend time with Him and to love Him in such a way that this world loses it’s hold on us. Not that we are apathetic about our lives here on earth, but we realize that this is not our forever home.
I think we are of far more use to God when we have experienced being broken and in need of His grace. The illusion of self sufficiency is a total lie from the enemy.
We just returned from a family vacation visiting my parents in Fort Lauderdale and I’m an emotional disaster. And I do not use that term lightly. We returned 5 days ago and I have sobbed…literally sobbed multiple times every day since then. Those of you who know me realize that this is not typical for me. I’m not an overly emotional person and I don’t cry all the time the way some people do. But the last few times we have returned from Florida I have literally felt an overwhelming sadness that I cannot control. I can’t explain it and I can’t make sense of the depth of it. I mean, it makes sense to miss my amazing parents and to be really sad when we leave. But the extent to which I feel heartbroken…that I cannot wrap my mind around. I love living in Tennessee, and I truly believe it’s the right place for our little family, at least for now, and maybe for a long time. I just feel such a sense of peace and joy when I am with my parents and my husband and kids – all of us together – and coming back makes me feel so lonely and overwhelmed with life in general. Missing them, missing out on precious time with them, dealing with financial stress on new levels, weird physical issues, and now, thinking WAY too much about our oldest, Alana, beginning kindergarten next month.
Can we talk about that for a moment? You become a new mom, and baby is completely dependent on you for every little thing. For me, it was a very emotional time, learning to adapt to my new role. I cried ALL the time as a new mom, felt lonely, completely exhausted, and then felt guilty for feeling those things because I had this precious, beautiful baby girl; a huge blessing from God. But baby grows and you settle into a new normal. And you realize that you’re enjoying it more and more all the time. Baby is learning and growing and interacting, and it’s way more enjoyable than it used to be. Then a little more time passes and you’re having baby #2 and suddenly time is flying by at warp speed and your oldest is about to start kindergarten. What I thought would feel like a welcome “break” is feeling more like a new season with a lot of very unexpected emotions, more responsibility, and bigger challenges.
For this past year, Rich and I have been praying specifically about kindergarten for Alana. We knew that we couldn’t afford to put her in private school on our photography income, and the public school that we are zoned for was not an option, and while I was open to homeschooling, it wasn’t something I had a desire to do in general and especially not with a VERY busy two year old who doesn’t nap and a husband who needs my help running our business. So, we began to pray before bed each night that God would give us wisdom and direct us on this decision. We prayed for a few months, and when there were no real tangible answers to our prayers, we assumed that we would be homeschooling. So even though I was overwhelmed at the thought of it, I did my best to consider all of the positive aspects of homeschooling and to pray that God would give me all the focus, energy, and patience that I would need for that big job. I even began to meet with a group of sweet moms who were also gearing up to begin homeschooling their kindergarteners this fall. I chose my curriculum, but had not yet purchased it.
Fast forward to last month. Rich met up with his dad for lunch, and as they chatted, an unexpected plan began to unfold that completely changed the course of this next year for us. Rich’s father runs a business and they’ve been very busy, actually in need of an extra person. Rich was open to the idea of taking on this part time position to pay for Alana’s tuition. Rich called and learned that there was ONE remaining kindergarten spot at one of the Christian schools we had toured and loved. We both sensed that this job offer from his dad (and the one kindergarten spot) were testimony that our prayer for direction had been answered. Alana took her assessment, passed it, and was accepted. Everything was so fast moving and it was a whirlwind of activity the week before we left for Florida. And suddenly our school year is going to look very different than what I had anticipated. Ultimately I am really excited that she’ll be in a great school although I know there are fairly large sacrifices no matter what type of schooling we choose as parents. There are major time sacrifices or money sacrifices, or both…but we feel confident that God will provide, even if things are more difficult than we would hope.
It is on this topic of school that many of my newest fears have surfaced. What about next year? How are we going to afford school again? And what about the following years, when Sierra starts school too? And oh my gosh, what about college!?!? And the fear and anxiety wells up inside me again. But the simple truth is that if this is God’s plan for our family, he will provide. I wish my mind, body, and emotions would cooperate with this knowledge that God is in control. I think I need a deeper knowing.
I hear my girls playing together in the other room and I long for the days when my biggest problem was which princess to be. I get all choked up thinking about their innocence, their beautifully small view of the world, and their pure and simple belief in how much God loves them. Being an adult is hard. WAY harder than I knew it was going to be. And what scares me is that it seems to be getting progressively more difficult the older I get. And my emotions seem to be growing with age as well. But I know deep in my spirit that no matter what, no matter who, or when, or why, or how, God is the only true constant. He is the only source of peace and joy that can penetrate our circumstances. Regardless of these temporary troubles, we have eternity with Jesus as our prize. There could be no better news.
There have been a couple of songs that have really ministered to me lately, both of them by Matt Redman. One is “Never Once” and the other is “10,000 Reasons.” If you haven’t already, check them out. I like to play them and just let the truth wash over me and remind me just how small my problems are and just how big, and holy, and perfect, and loving our God is.
In June and July I’ve been reading through the Psalms, and there have been a ton of verses that have impacted me more than ever, and I’m going to list some of those below. But what I’m learning with all of my emotion, fear, and anxiety, is that I have to continually give it to God, sometimes every few minutes, and constantly let the truth of God’s word be my anchor. Here are just a FEW of the multitude of verses in the Psalms that have been a comfort to me lately:
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him.”
Psalm 34:4 “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”
Psalm 37:3-4 “Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37: 16 “A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.”
Psalm 42:5 “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”
Psalm 46:1 & 10 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 48:14 “For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.”
Psalm 61:2 “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
And since I could never add anything valuable to God’s word, I will be quiet now and post some photos of our trip to Fort Lauderdale. If you’ve actually read this far, I am most impressed 🙂
My beautiful almost kindergartener *lump in my throat*
I was so excited that this bathing suit still fit Sierra this summer since she wore it last summer and we never got any good photos of her wearing it. It’s my favorite ever.