It's been so busy here recently. People coming and going. Appointments made, travels done, visitors coming, staying, and then packing up and going again. Events taken in. Milestones made. Celebrations shared.
I mark each day off my calendar, wandering around the house, cooking in the kitchen, trying hard to not count the "last times" in my heart.
You know, the "last times" of living in this house.
The last time my girls will be here together (I think... it may happen one more time).
The last time I'll run around the yard (or this kitchen) with my grandsons.
The last time we'll be at this church together.
The last time we'll gaze at the moon from this patio.
The first time the "last times" hit me hard was when I was preparing for my daughter to travel overseas with her husband to work in a new mission field. It was really hard to count down the "last times" knowing they were leaving for an uncertain amount of time, and not knowing when we would see them again.
No amount of being glad your child is following God's will for their life can make up for that emptiness that you feel in the pit of your stomach. I grew so much in my faith, my prayer life, in trusting God with all the details. But that empty pit in my stomach feeling... oh how it hurt... until it became a part of my past... and God grew in that space. My faith grew.
So it hit me really hard to realize that I was counting the last times in my current move.
It was the empty feeling in my stomach that clued me in.
I told my daughter, "I think I'm getting an ulcer."
(Oh, if only...)
We've barely lived here a year. We made changes to the house and landscaping to make it "ours," thinking we would be here a LONG time. Little did we know. (But God knew.)
We haven't really made friends here, in our neighborhood, or church, yet we've seen God at work in us, and it's been home. We've loved on daughters and grandkids, loving being so close to them geographically. Memories have been made.
Each time I turn on the oven, I think of the oven in the apartment where my husband is currently living, and I wonder what the oven will be like in the new house we hope to live in a few months down the road... and I can't help but think of the last oven we had - a double oven in a huge kitchen, and the memories we made in it for that year we lived there.
Beyond that, I can't remember the ovens. 5 moves in 5 years, and apartments in between most of the moves. That's a lot of ovens in kitchens that hold a lot of memories that I can't keep straight any more.
And it's not just ovens and how they cook... I wonder what time the mail will be delivered? What will the rhythm of the neighborhood be like? When does trash pick up? Will our neighbors introduce themselves? Where will we go to church? Does the house have a good view of sunset, or will I need to go outside our street, or beyond our neighborhood to take photos of it? What photo-worthy things will be around there? Will I make a friend? Will we volunteer in a ministry? Will I spend my days completely alone? Will my grandkids remember me? Will they be willing to talk with me on the phone or on facetime, or be mad that we have moved away?
I know that my husband is thinking about getting us there; the paperwork, the negotiating, the inspections... all necessary things that I've handled before... and maybe should have handled this time too. Perhaps I would have been so busy I couldn't think of these other things...
I'm just afraid.
I look at these questions and realize how small they are when I read them on paper. Especially in light of the refugee crisis, droughts and storms, and world politics.
God knows all the answers. He holds the answers to all the worlds problems. He knew my questions before I even wrote them down.
I know now why it is that we are having to make this move.... not because of a job change, but because of a heart change.
That hole in my stomach is really in my heart, and although it's painful, it's just getting larger for more room for God.
It's time to grow in my faith again.
I recently finished reading a great book by Kristen Strong called "Girl Meets Change," and it's impacted me in good ways through this season of life. After moving so much, you'd think that I'd be used to it. (Maybe I am, but it's still hard.)
This book is good for anyone who has gone through a change. Period. It counts whether it's been a company move, or loss of a child; whether the love of your life left you, or your career didn't work out the way you'd planned. She covers it all through sharing her own (and other people's) stories, and tying them in to God's word and the examples of change that are shown there. God had a reason to include them. It was refreshing...
The book is really good. You can find it online or in most bookstores... and she has a companion study guide available too! Perfect for the group of women who have all undergone change... fought it with all their might, struggled through it, conquered it in the end. Or not ... (like me!)...