Real Life in Real Time

Sometimes our Daring Adventure rattles me more than I’d like to admit. Like at bedtime when I hug my teenager. I ask if he’s ok. He tells me he just wants to go home, but we don’t have one. Or when my YWAMer tells me he’s not going to be sticking around when he comes back to the US as long as I hoped.

Sometimes our hearts are bruised and everything hurts because we can’t tie this thing up with a pretty bow and roll the credits. This isn’t an episode of Fixer Upper where all the demo and renovations take place in an hour. There are no edits, no retakes. This is real life being lived out in real time.

Then there are reminders of the past reading like an encyclopedia of all the times things didn’t turn out the way we hoped they would. We don’t like to repeat mistakes. This is where we have to make the decision to step over the facts and invite God into our hurts and frustrations. It’s not our normal. Our normal looks more like me hiding in a bedroom with my journal and a box of Kleenex while he flips between Food Network and HGTV. Normal hasn’t been getting us anywhere so it’s time to try something new.

On this particular day we drove out to the church where we were married twenty-one and a half years ago. Parking in the hundred degree shade next to the cemetery where my grandparents are buried I opened my bible to read a few scriptures from Isaiah about God leading his people and making all things new. Let’s be real, I have no idea how to do what we’re doing but I find comfort knowing we’re not the first people to feel this way.

Once upon a Christmas Eve eve we made promises to each other here. We were courageous adventurous dreamers. Everything was possible. Our poor parents must have thought we were out of our minds for packing up and moving all the way to east Texas a few weeks after our wedding. Knowing what I know now, they were right! Let’s just say our Texas adventure didn’t go anything like we hoped it would and in many ways we’ve been playing it safe ever since.

Sitting in the car together we invited Jesus to sit with us. I recounted our wedding day to him (as if he needed a replay) and asked for that kind of courage again. Confessing fear and doubt, I expressed how my heart was hurting for my sons. It was quiet for a few minutes, then it was Matthew’s turn. Raw, honest, vulnerable, desperate cries from desperate people.

So now we wait. We rest in HIS goodness and HIS faithfulness because HIS track record is way better than ours. Our hearts and our lives are in good hands.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:6-7 The Message



The Things We Left Behind

How does a family move a household from Marion, Iowa to only God knows where somewhere out west? Just typing that question makes my head hurt like one of those algebra problems I could never solve on my own no matter how many times the teacher explained it to me. Good thing I married a math guy. After talking through different scenarios Matthew decided that utilizing a container service like PODs would be best for our situation.

We filled the largest POD container they offer with household items. Anything that wouldn’t fit in the POD stayed behind. This meant selling or donating as much furniture as we could part with. Furniture, lawn equipment, freezers, electronics, books, clothing, you name it…nothing was off limits. I cried over My dining and living room furniture even though I knew they needed to go. No matter how many cuts we made we still couldn’t fit it all in the POD. I’m sure there are more things we could have let go, but as time went on fear of the unknown tightened my grip even as Matthew’s seemed to loosen. I still can’t believe he sold his big TV.

When the time came to drive away the POD was stuffed to capacity yet there were things that wouldn’t fit. Some friends said they would take care of what was left so we could finally leave. I took pictures, left instructions and some cash for a dump haul and drove away for the last time.

As we drove away from the city I glanced in the backseat behind the driver’s seat where Mackenzie would normally sit. His seat was filled with all manner of gluten free road trip snacks, bottled water and vitamins. Mackenzie wasn’t there and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. My chest tightened and I began to weep. Matthew asked if I was ok. “He should be with us.” is all I could say. Instead he’s in Scotland doing exactly what God ordained for him to do during this time.

We moved to Cedar Rapids from Arizona 18 years ago in rented a U-Haul truck with an 18 month old Mackenzie and a blue parakeet. We moved away from Iowa towing a utility trailer behind my Honda Pilot, an almost 17 year old Markus, and a 10 year old chocolate lab. Leaving without him hurt this mama’s heart more than I expected. I thought I was tougher than that; I’m not. One of these days I hope to understand the timing of all of this.

All of the pain and the grief of leaving Iowa attached itself to Mackenzie’s seat. Whenever I looked behind I would feel it crash over me all over again. Eventually I had to stop looking behind because it hurt too much. I had to find something in front of me to focus on so that I could help the rest of my family. They were hurting too. Just like there came a point when I had to be ok with the pile of stuff that wouldn’t fit in the POD. I had to let go. I have to keep letting go in order to embrace the Daring Adventure ahead.

This morning I awoke to a text with a new picture of Mackenzie now that he’s returned from his outreach in Glasgow. Once again I’m surprised by instant tears and an aching heart. Emotions are tricky little suckers.

I don’t know of an easy way to wrap this up because it’s not finished. There will be more pictures and more heartache just as I know there will be more joy and laughter in the days and months to come. Letting go and hanging on. Holding tightly and holding loosely to the things and the people who I have to surrender to God daily. It’s all part of the adventure and we are in it for the long haul.

Thank you, friends, for believing with us. It means more than you know.

 

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