I’ve been thinking about life as a volume series that each contain the details of our years. A volume for the younger years, the teen years, and many to cover the adult years. Some are a quick read, while others seem to drag on to the end. Some are filled with times of joy, while others, immense pain. But each details all the events that have helped shape and define our personal identity.
Next Sunday is a big day for us. Volume 1 of adulthood is ending as Dave and I celebrate our 12th anniversary. It seems, most of the time, that we make big changes, or life defining moments around the 5’s and 10’s of our life. But we’ve decided that year 12 is our year. And we are ready.
Volume I – The Learning Years
The first 12 years are scarred by lots of pain, growth, loss, change and joy. In that time we moved across the country multiple times; going from SD to FL, FL to AZ, AZ to SD, SD to CO, CO to TX. Each of those changes has brought a new set of challenges, lessons, friendships and losses as we’ve tried to navigate through life in a way that honors God.
In that time we sent to Heaven a mother/grandmother/friend. A pain that never fully goes away. We’ve made good friends and new family, only to have to tell them goodbye after a period of time that seemed too short. At times, I struggled to even make friends, knowing that soon I’d have to leave them and it would be better to leave lonely than to have hearts break as we pulled away.
And my biggest personal struggle of Volume 1 was with my sense of identity. Who am I? What am I here for? Why am I not living up to my potential? Do people really know me? In the thick of the darkness I found myself alone, wishing for change, but not knowing where to start. I wanted to let them in, but feared the rejections that could come if they figured out who I really was and didn’t approve. I shut myself in until I lost my voice. I lost my sense of self completely.
Volume I – Epilogue
The lessons that propelled us towards the end of this volume started slowly. We picked things up here and there and took with us what we needed from each place. But the last year and a half has been a period of intense growth and change, especially for me. And because I cannot speak for Dave, I will focus on my own growth.
January 2015 I received a clear message from the Lord that I was not allowing Him to work through me and that things needed to change in my heart. And for the first time in a long time, I was receptive. I entered school in April, but by October was so burned out from school and work, that I withdrew. By the end of 2015 I was working almost 60 hours a week between two emotionally demanding jobs and was spread so thin, I was in desperate need of rest.
January of 2016 marked the first time in 12 years that I was not being pulled in what felt a thousand different directions at all times. I had been given a period of rest. It was the first time in 12 years that I really had time to think and grow, and was in a mental space that was conducive for it. And what happened was hard. As I sought the Lord and his direction for my life, I found myself stripped of all the things I thought defined me. Things I loved I suddenly had no appeal. I knew I wanted to finish school, but struggled to remain focused as there was no reason why behind it. I struggled with the desire to make friends, but knew that I needed a community to surround myself with. So I pressed in.
Through this community I learned about myself. I learned that I am capable of far more than I give myself credit for. I learned that I am a driven woman, a compassionate woman, an empathetic woman, and a woman driven by justice and mercy. I have a voice, and while I am still working out its tune, some people might need to hear it.
I found myself back in school, but this time it’s right. I have clearly defined goals to work towards. And as I seek God through my schooling, He reveals more of his plan for me. Some of it seems so out of reach. I doubt my capabilities. But I am ok letting Him lead me one step at a time. I find my contentment in the fact that it is literally all I can do some days.
As this volume closes I’ve found myself open and tender, yet bold and confident. I have a new sense of self to press into. I want to let God make waves of change through me and I am opening myself up to all the possibilities of the future.
Next Sunday not only marks the end of a volume, but the beginning of a new one. Sunday after church Dave, the kids and I will be loading up or minivan for a cross country road trip to our new home in upstate New York. Seriously, God moves in the craziest of ways. This is a welcomed change and we are ready to start fresh, taking the lessons we’ve learned and applying them in new ways. We are excited to meet new friends and family and to develop roots in our life.
We’ve earned the title of gypsy within our family, but this time it feels different. There is a new peace accompanied that is unlike the peace I’ve experienced before. We have not yet arrived, yet I feel the roots growing. A home is waiting for us. A family is waiting for us. And we have been waiting for them.
While we are excited for new, the family we have made on our way to NY is so precious to me. Each person has touched my heart in a special way. I am so grateful for their presence in my life. People always met my heart when I needed them the most. As EE Cummings wrote, “I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart).” I take you with me as we begin our next volume.
I love you. I value you. I appreciate you. Thank you.