This is it. My first blog post after moving back. And it only took me 5 months to write it. It's almost 5am here in Memphis and my husband just left for the airport. He's going back to Costa Rica and I have all kinds of mixed emotions about it. When we left in June, our plans were for our whole family to go with him in November as he saw the first pastors graduate from The Grace Institute. "Our plans"...seems funny now. It didn't work out for us to go with him. So after he left, I've been lying in bed with 10,000 emotions flooding over me. I knew that time had finally come. That I needed to write.
I'll start with the facts. We have moved back to Memphis, TN and we feel this is probably where we will stay. And let me just say that moving is always hard...even if you're moving back to what should be familiar. Life goes on, people change, relationships evolve, and so it's different. What should be comfortable all of a sudden isn't. And where you came from isn't comfortable either. So where do I now fit in? We have set up world headquarters for our pastor training ministry here in the bedroom of our little missionary apartment. I will most definitely blog about our apartment at a later time. By the Lord's doing, the ministry is quickly expanding and we are seeing that coming back here was the right thing to do. Will is able to talk, connect, skype, and meet with people much easier than before. We can receive shipments of materials to our apartment and he can travel where he needs to go at the drop of a hat. We are on the brink of even more expansion of this ministry which is really exciting. The kids and I know how to function in life here without him when needed, and it's nice being close to family and friends. We are going to the church we attended when we left and the people have been so warm and welcoming. I'm a stay-at-home mom, learning to take care of a home again, and helping our family adjust back to life here.
Adjustment for me has been the hardest. And I'm not sure why. I felt like I was losing my mind the first two months after we had returned. I could go from high to low 20 times in a day, and my family never knew if I would burst out crying at any moment. They were so careful around me and their comfort and concern seemed to make me feel worse. I didn't want to be pitied but I didn't want to be ignored either. How can you function when day after day you just have no idea how you actually feel? Is this part of it? Am I depressed? Should I pray more? Do I need more friends? Do I need a hobby? Do I need a vacation? (please don't make me pack another thing). I was having consuming thoughts of fear and small panic attacks here and there. What was happening to me? Or is this just part of it?
I don't know.
"Adjustment" seems like such a mild word for what this has been.
Since then I've had moments of this, but I feel like I'm coming out of the fog a bit. I'm surprised by how few people really ask me how I'm doing...like they mean it and like they are ready to hear about it. I do understand, too, that people just don't know what to ask. Because in truth, we are all doing okay so that's what I'll tell you. But I'll tell my most recent thoughts, confusions, joys and fears to whomever will listen. I was recently in a hotel room of unsuspecting women at a MOPS convention where I dumped all of this on them after one of them asked me "are you depressed"? Yeah, that led to hours of crying...but they spoke truth into my life and prayed over me in the end. I've read two blog posts lately about saying things in uncomfortable situations. One woman warned about saying the wrong thing (which I'm always fearful of doing), and the other one encouraged that we should just say something (I'm pushing myself towards that one). I'm very thankful for that group of MOPS women who really wanted to hear me. Amazingly, I have felt much more "myself" since that day. I like talking to people and sharing our story. I'm not great with expressing how I feel so it's good for me to wrestle to put my feelings into words. It's like if I say it, it adds clarity the moment, and that helps me move on. Sometimes I need to take action to change some things in our family's life, sometimes not.
Last week, Will and I sat down to talk about what it looks like for our family to adjust and what it looks like to thrive (I kind of hate that word...sounds like a cheesy business term). It seems that our family has, in fact, adjusted and are doing well right now. We're having to add some boundaries, limits, schedules and structure to our routine so we can all function a little bit better. I fight to keep our schedule light and to have lots of down time as a family. We really do love being together more than anything else, and this is a gift the mission field has given us. So I fight for it.
I find that listening to sermons has been a very productive and intentional way of having God's truth spoken into my life and situation. Some friends and of course my husband have challenged me as well, and I know the Lord is the one who is faithful to see me through. I don't want to miss what God is teaching me through this season of life and I know I just need to rest in Him.
So maybe in future blog posts I'll have this all figured out. Or maybe not. Am I happy that we moved back? Yes. Am I sad that we moved back? Yes. Hence the continual state of confusion. Hopefully I will keep progressing through all of this, and remember that it is a process. My kids are doing really great and that's such a blessing to see. Emma is back to her old self again even though we do have to work through some issues with her. Some of this could just be her age. She's like her mama and doesn't want to have to think through what she's feeling and why. I get it Emma, I really do, but that's not healthy mentally or spiritually. And so we make her talk it out with us a lot even when she doesn't think she wants to. Jack seems to be the most adjustable kid on the planet and is doing awesome in first grade and bumming around with his 2 buddies, Kenton and Noah, in the apartment complex. And Ally is now running. I've never seen a 12 month old run, but she does...and so does her mama right after her. She is spunky and giggly and full of life, and we can't imagine life without her.
And so life and ministry continues.
Will has recently traveled to Costa Rica, Dallas, Orlando, Jackson, and Cuba.
He is boarding a plane back to Costa Rica right now.
And I stay here with the kids.
Thinking. Laughing. Crying. Praying... Adjusting.