to be honest, I’ve subconciously been putting off writing this blog post a bit. I’ve been pretty in my feelings the past week or so as we get down to the wire with the move, and I think I’ve known that if I touch any of those feelings in my writing that it’ll open the floodgates. but I’d be doing this entire season a disservice if I didn’t feel it all fully, so here I am. doing my best to welcome the flood. maybe even be cleansed and refreshed by it.
I’ve been on quite the emotional rollercoaster this past week, which hasn’t surprised me — big changes and big feelings go hand in hand it seems — but it has been difficult and exhausting. I’ve been grieving the ending of this chapter of life in a big way. this place is home to 95% of our family memories, and thinking about never experiencing family life in this context again makes me really sad. it’s in this home that Michael and I have bonded with each of our newborn daughters, walked through high highs and low lows together, grown in relationship with at one time new, and now very dear, friends and their children, learned about ourselves as parents. this home has been our safe place. it feels like part of our family as well.
when we first moved to Sacramento, I struggled. I honestly hated it, I felt lonely and isolated as a new stay at home mom, was unsure how to make friends, and felt like I was untethered and alone. It took what felt like an eternity to feel settled here, to find friendships that stuck and made this place feel whole, to be able to feel like this was home. I would’ve though you were crazy if you’d told me then that I’d be a blubbering mess thinking about moving away three years later.
“See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
in the first year of living in Sacramento, I tried to find comfort in these words. in the truth that God is always doing so much more than we could ever know, and that He cares and provides for us in the wilderness. but for a long time, I just couldn’t. I kicked and screamed my way through the first year, so to speak, doubting his goodness and care for me in the tangible provisions I needed from him at the time. what I knew, but couldn’t see then, was that God was doing a new thing. in me, in Michael, in our marriage, in our family, in our relationships with Him. in the beginning, His sustaining of us was certainly daily bread and felt like nothing more — we were emotionally surviving that first year, day by day, with just enough emotional sustenance to get by. but more, God was doing a new thing, gently leading us through the wilderness. providing streams for us in the wasteland. authoring each day in the context of a bigger story.
having children of my own gives me so much more insight into our relationship with God as our Father, us as His children. I think especially of sweet Lennon, curious and tender. a creature of habit, always needing ample time to jump into something new. I think of her hiding behind my leg when we go somewhere we’ve never been before, feeling unsure for quite a while and needing space to observe before stepping in on her own. almost always resisting the change before her in some way. I felt much like that in the first year in Sacramento — a cautious, fearful child timidly hiding behind her Father’s leg. unsure that this new experience was actually going to be okay, even though I knew I could trust that my Father was going to take care of me.
but just as He always does, He stayed by my side. He gently took hold of me, and lead me through the wilderness. In His mercy, He was so patient with me. In His mercy, He sustained my faith in Him. that’s the thing about seasons of wilderness – God isn’t absent from them, waiting for you on the other side. He is right there, behind us, before us, within us, as we move through the wilderness with Him. there’s an opportunity to abide so intimately with Him in these times, if we just exhale and let ourselves. He leads us through the wilderness to still waters, making streams for us in the wasteland. and this water does so much more than quench our thirst, if we let it. This water is living – restoring our souls, sustaining us in the journey, carrying us with its current to the exact place we are supposed to be, which is often times a completely different place than we expected.
being at the end of what feels like a clearly defined “chapter” of life is a unique place to be. we have certainly been in a season of harvest and flourishing after a painful process of the soil of our souls being tilled. we’ve rejoiced in answered prayers, been able to exhale in clarity being found, rested in the company of friendship and a sense of home finally realized. the wilderness of this season has been behind us for some time now, and we’ve been enjoying finally having a place to sit and rest. I pray that I won’t be quick to forget who God, my loving Father, is as we enter the beginning of the next season. a chapter that will inevitably come with it’s own unique difficulties and challenges. a new, uncharted wilderness. may I remember that it is only because of the wilderness that the rest on the other side is so sweet. without the wilderness, the fullness of rest can’t be truly appreciated.
Father, help me to be brave and full of faith as we venture into this new wilderness together.