Filth and Grace and Memories and a Bunch of Other Stuff
It's been four weeks today since we bid adieu to our home in Montana. My heart still aches and I have to fight back the knots that feel like rocks in my stomach. I wish I could say otherwise, but the truth is, I'm sad. And my being sad has hurt feelings here in our new "home" (I added quotes because it doesn't feel like home yet). The only way I can describe it, especially to the people here who don't understand why I could possibly be feeling sad about being here, is that I'm not devastated to be here; I'm devastated to have left there.
One of my earliest childhood memories is driving across the country, my parents, my brother and I making the same cross country move that my own little family did, only in reverse. We moved from Nashville to Montana when I was just shy of seven, and I remember crying my eyes out. From that moment on it seems, I've been torn between two places; two sets of people; SO far apart.
To be totally honest, in the past six years (spent in MT), I fell in love with the state I was raised in. I always saw myself as more a city girl, but ever since having kids and moving to the little city of Helena, I became more and more in love with the slower pace, the wide open spaces, the laid back attitude and atmosphere, the quiet, the lack of traffic, and the simpler way of living. We've taken our girls hiking literally hundreds of times, as we had trails out our back door no matter what part of town we lived in. I even fell in love with winter--at least the first half of winter! We made the most amazing (lifelong, I hope!) friends we could've ever asked for, got involved in a wonderful church that we call our family, and were part of a community that far exceeded our idea of what community looks like. When our family went through the ordeal of accidentally buying a meth house (which sounds kind of funny now, but was devastating when we went through it), not only our church, friends and family rallied around us, but so many in our city came to the rescue. We planted roots deeper than I ever imagined, and it's been a painful process ripping those roots out.
We moved to MT when our first born was just a few weeks old, and my girls have had the privilege of growing up just hours away from their "Grammy" and "Papa", who I might add, are the best grammy and papa. I never knew the joy I would feel as I watch my parents interact with my kids. I've just loved it! And walking away from it feels impossibly hard, as does walking away from siblings and the girls' first cousins--their most favorite cousin and friend, Olivia, and their brand new baby cousin James. Face Time will do, but it's won't be the same. Not at all.
Enough lamenting. Seems to be all I do lately. I've vacillated between feeling guilty about being so sad; ashamed at my negative attitude toward this move; angry at my husband for making the decision; at peace and rest believing God is in control and that he has a plan better than I can choose for myself; in inner turmoil not trusting that God is in control; emotional about all the good things we left behind; excited about things to come; angry; bitter; happy; excited. Yes, my mind is all over the place. Generally I wake up happy and feeling strong, ready to take on another day of uncertainty over where we will live (we still haven't found a house) and trying to wrangle our three wild ones in other people's homes. But as each day wanes on--some of the days impossibly long--my mind seems to take a plunge and swirl down the toilet. My breaking point comes at night after the girls are in bed and I have time to think too much and come unraveled. I feel like I'm still in my body, but living someone else's life. It's so hard to keep my mind from wandering to where we were four, six, eight weeks ago. Snug in our little farmhouse with acreage that our girls ran wild all over, taking daily hikes, planting flowers, enjoying time with friends, vacationing at my parents, serving at church and being active in our little city. Strolling farmer's market, hitting up story time, going to familiar parks. Knowing the streets inside and out and never being in the car for more than fifteen minutes at a time. No traffic to fight, no gunshots heard ringing through the air sending chills down our spines, no need for Siri to guide me everywhere I go. Every single thing about life is upside down and inside out, it's uncomfortable, and I don't like it one bit.
And YET...beneath all the fear, worry, anxiety, sadness, and unfamiliarity...beneath all that, my faith is there and it is the rock I stand on. Right now, ALL else is sinking sand. Christ is the only rock. Everything else is shaky and uncertain, but He remains the same. I often feel like my faith is puny compared to Brad's "super faith". His is loud and bold and boisterous. He never waivers or questions.
Yet, I'm learning that my faith is my own and it looks different than his or anyone else's and that's okay. I hold mine close to my heart and it is deep and thoughtful and sometimes I wrestle with it, but even when I have the most ferocious wrestling matches, faith always beats doubt.
Faith is what brings me back to a peaceful place after my "episodes" of fear and worry and doubt.
I wish I could say that my heart is always still; always peaceful, regardless of my circumstances. But then again maybe, just maybe, I can rest knowing that God made me this way and that it's okay to struggle. Maybe he allows me to struggle because he knows that that is what will keep me close to him. When I get too comfortable, I tend to think I'm superwoman and I leave God out of the details. But when I'm needy and nearing the end of my rope, I call on him constantly. I talk with him; I pour out my heart to him; and I am working to be still and wait; to listen to him.
The Bible admonishes us to be joyful always; to pray continually; and to be thankful in all circumstances (for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus). I long to be the kind of person who is joyful--even when I don't get the house I wanted or to live where I wanted or whatever the case may be. I long to have a heart that is steadfast, that remembers to pray without ceasing, through good days and hard days. I long to be truly thankful--thankful for my blessings and all things beautiful and good, but also thankful for my trials and tribulations. Thankful for the hard things life brings, remembering that the testing of my faith produces perseverance, which leads to maturity and completeness. I see progress in my life in these areas, but to be honest, I've basically been a giant pile of crap through out this particular trial. And a pile of crap is not pretty. It's smelly, and gross, and ugly, and...well, that's probably enough, I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Basically, I've been mopey and rude and anxious and bummed out. And I've spent a lot of time beating myself up over my attitude. Preaching to myself that I should be more thankful, wondering what is wrong with me? Why can't I just get it together like a good little Christian should? Then, I was reminded at church this morning that no one is perfect. And by no one, that would include me. If I were perfect, what need would I have for GRACE? None! It is my weakness, my ugliness, my failures, that draw me to the foot of the cross over and over again, remembering that I am but a lowly human in need of my savior. And no matter how ugly I've been, he looks upon me with love because I am his daughter, his beloved, and all he really wants is for me to lift my eyes to the heavens and receive his grace. And so I do.
Today, we've been gone for a month. It still hurts, but I will hold my head up. Tomorrow the new school year starts for Brad and I will support him and get in gear for homeschooling Addison for Kindergarten and get outside to enjoy the sights and smells of my home for now, the south. I will do my best to live in the present, but I won't beat myself up if I shed a tear for what I miss. I'm a "feeler" and I've decided that that's ok:) Sorry "thinkers", I know I must drive you a little nuts.
Happy Monday all! Here are some photos of our last few weeks in MT, such cherished times with everyone. We love and miss you all!!! xoxoxo
(also, mom, how did you escape all the pics? Sad.)