Oh friends, what a whirlwind these last few months have been. A good whirlwind, with fun and adventure, but a challenging whirlwind all the same.
We left everything we knew, from the Army greens, to our church family, to our beautiful home in the South. And moved West… to the mountains, to a new job… to a new beginning.
I’ve always loved a fresh start. I’ve loved jumping into the newness like putting on a new coat. I love embracing its feel and shape, getting used to its length and the fabric. The trimness. The smoothness. The great beauty and joy of something fresh. Yes, I love it. I love a fresh start. The possibilities… the adventures… the people… I love it.
But oh, oh I hate it too. I hate taking off the old and setting it aside. I hate saying goodbye and leaving. I hate the emotional pull to live in the past, instead of the present… to wonder and worry what is going on in the life behind me. I find I want to hold on to my safe and comfortable home, with all its familiar creaks and drips and groans; its strong friendship and warm conversation instead of plunging into this world of coldness and unfamiliarity.
And since early December, this has been my challenge.
This has been my beautiful mess.
This place we now call home is bright and lovely. The mountains beckon us, with their snowcapped beauty and unexplored wilderness. This busy little town, with new shops and new streets, it calls to me, it whispers my name. I’m filled with longing to explore, to taste and see. The new faces, the new perspectives, the new personalities… they are exciting too. I find myself wanting to jump in, converse, and soak.
But I also want to shrink and hide. At times, I’m overtaken with the newness. And instead of being wonderful, its scary. Its lonely. The mountains, the cowboy boots, and the frigid temperatures…it is different. And it is not home. I struggle to be the new person. The awkward person. The sore thumb. The one who desperately wants to be a part, but struggles to put herself out there, to be vulnerable, to let her own awkwardness show.
Its humbling. And hard.
The kids feel it too. “Mom, they ask, will we make new friends?” “Will there be any kids there?” “Will I have anyone to invite to my birthday party?”
And so together, we dive in. Heartstrings suitably pulled, we press on, as a family with a united front. Not just for ourselves, but this time for the children also.
We join a weekly Classical Conversations group and a Wednesday evening children’s group. We enroll in Upward Basketball. We get library cards and meet the story time ladies. We go to church, Sunday School and evening prayer meetings. We bring Christmas cookies to our neighbors. We walk to the park and chat with locals. We bring dinner to Mr. Milton. We stop and talk with people at the grocery store and at Starbucks. We host meals and play dates. We push. We pull. We work.
And slowly we’re getting there.
But even still I must remember--in my quest to belong and feel part of this new place-- that this world is not my home. I am a stranger. A pilgrim. A sojourner.
And while I may long for that comfortable coziness of home… I must remember that this side of glory nothing will ever fill that need. I’ll never be home. And the reality must yet again hit me: our old home? It wasn’t home either. The home before that. Nope, not it.
Never. Never on this earth have I been home. And never will my need and desire be filled.
But even still, I need to keep pushing, and plunging, and pressing. I need to keep serving, keep stretching, keep meeting, keep putting myself out there. But not for me. No. Not for my kids either.
But for Him.
To be His instrument. To be His messenger. To be His servant. To bring the hope of Christ, the joy of salvation, the beauty and newness of life that comes from walking in and with God alone.
That’s my purpose. And that’s the beauty of this fresh start—its a chance to share that joy and bring that hope to others.