Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Looking back

Reading over my sporadic last couple of posts has me reflecting on the journey I've been on these last two years. I look over the words I wrote as we prepared to make our move here, and I am struck by how prophetic they were in many ways.  I think we probably were becoming too complacent and at risk of storing up the wrong treasures, and I truly have been stripped of my comforts and self-reliance.  My heart was prepared at that time for a new thing, even longed for it, or so I thought. But when I initially wrote those words, I was prepared for a grand adventure where my faith would soar, and my life would (somewhat immediately) become richer and more fulfilling. And I'm devastated to realize that I really did not rise to the challenge. It has been an excruciating road. I was unprepared for the depth of my grief at leaving behind people and places I love. I was blind-sided by the anxiety and depression that were unleashed in me as wave after wave of change crashed over me. I lost my footing and my rhythm, spiritual and otherwise. I can't begin to understand, myself, much less explain, why a transition that really has been overall extremely positive and joyous for our family has left me feeling so weak and raw and depleted. Wise words have been spoken to me about how all change involves loss and all loss must be grieved, and those who have been through similar experiences have concluded that the period of adjustment lasts well into the second or even third year. It's comforting to know that I'm normal (as always, a relative term :) ), but I find that I'm frustrated with my own self and often yelling at me to just GET OVER IT! PICK YOURSELF UP and MOVE ON already! I'm deeply weary of my own whining and wallowing.  Particularly when I look at this broken world and see how painfully others are suffering through what I would probably label "legitimate trials".  Mine pales in comparison. Yet here I am. 
Please hear me: there has been rich reward for us in this move. I LOVE my extended family and the opportunity to be closer to them. This has been a priceless gift that my heart LONGED for during the years we were away. I have been reunited with lifelong friends with whom I've had to spend the majority of my adult life in long distance relationships, and this has been a treasure.  I have been richly blessed by the new people we've met and communities we have become part of here. I am in love with the beauty of our town and our state and all of the opportunities it has to offer.There is joy, without doubt. 
But something in me has shifted. Something I haven't been able to name or put my finger on. It's clouding out the light of that joy many days. I think that my prophetic use of the word "stripped" would most closely describe what this journey has been doing to me. I am being remade; I can feel it. God is using this time (or wants to use this time, anyway, if I would just let Him) to show me Himself in a new way, to do in me and through me a new thing. But I have spent a lot of time nursing hurts, living in fear, and sheltering my ideals and expectations of this journey. Unmet ideals and expectations, I might add. Surrender is a painful process; letting go can be exhausting. And most days that has described well my state of mind: exhausted, overwhelmed, feeling inadequate. 
We're zeroing in on the two-year mark of this transition. I am ecstatic to note that we will not be continuing our tradition of moving into a new house every August 1st. There is immense relief in this. And in this second year, my capacity to climb out of the wallowing and reflect has grown a bit with each passing month.  As the calendar turned to 2017 I felt a stirring to once again focus in on a particular area of growth for the year ahead, and I believe this year it's to continually pray the prayer of indifference: "Thy will be done. I am your servant". To live with open hands. To lay down my expectations, my disappointments, my dreams, my anxiety and release these so that there would be greater room for God's Fruit to grow: for love, joy, peace, and on and on. I am being pruned, which can be painful. But I believe it WILL yield a greater harvest in the end.  
And so I desire to open my hands so that I can release the past and surrender the future. So that I can focus on today and the joy therein (see last post). It is a battle for me. But one I know is worth fighting.

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