Hello dear friends and readers,
This entry has been one I've been avoiding writing since we arrived in Hampton nearly three weeks ago. It's been so difficult to find the words to express how I've been feeling, and so I've just avoided writing altogether.
I guess the word for how I'm feeling doesn't really exist, so I'm going to have to make up a new word. >If you have any ideas, suggestions are welcome.< In this word you get a mix of the sad, lonely feelings that come with being a small fish in a big pond, with no buddies around to back you up. In this word you get what comes with a cross-country move, leaving a job you love, friends that are family, and coffee shops that are quiet, inviting and actually sell good coffee. You get a lack of familiarity, a home, a church, a community, and everything else that comes along with those things. You get tears in a new church bathroom during worship because it's just not what you're used to and what you're used to is exactly what you could use right about now.
But you also get an entire new life waiting to happen. A new community of people to befriend, a new house to make a home, a new job (this one's taking a lot of faith), and new favorite places to hang out.
I just haven't arrived there... yet. The past three weeks, and basically until we move in to our new home, have felt like life is just on hold. Waiting. Waiting to move in, waiting to find a job, waiting for Sundays to roll around so we can find a new church. Waiting for paint to dry*, waiting for my new iPhone (got that today!), waiting for replies from potential jobs, waiting for Jordan to get home from work.
And I feel so unsatisfied with everything. I'm unsatisfied that this is my life right now. That I'm not working, that I miss my friends and my students in Alaska, that I miss the mountains, and I miss the community, and I miss...everything about my life 6 months ago. I'm unsatisfied that I haven't slept in my own bed in two months. I'm unsatisfied that we haven't found a church yet... and that finding the "right" one is probably an impossible task and not what God had in mind in the first place!
And then the Lord speaks into my life... (He has a knack of doing that just when I am about to give up)...
"O God, I beg two favors of you;
let me have them before I die.
First, help me to never tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs."
- Prov. 30:7, 8
God does. not. care. about the things of this world. He is not interested in what kind of couch we buy, or whether or counter-tops are granite or laminate. He does not blink an eye at fancy new iPhones. He doesn't care if our church has loud rock music, or sweet hymns. But he does care about me. He loves me. So much so that He actually has promises and hopes and a future for me, if only I would obey him! And He promises to satisfy my needs, and nothing more. Not my wants, not my "gimmes," not my wishes. My needs.
This lesson has been a really hard pill to swallow. After being "displaced" from my own home and things for two months, all I feel like I need are those things and house to feel normal again. I keep catching myself thinking, "I'll get my life back on track after we move into the new house." God doesn't want me to sit around and wait for a new house to satisfy my needs. He wants to be the one to do that! And right now, He's saying that He is all I need!
I still don't know what that word is to describe how I'm feeling, but I do know this God I serve is a Mighty God, and there are not other words necessary than that.
*We are currently staying with my friend from college and her fiance, in their 1920s home they are renovating, inch by inch. We are sooooooo incredibly grateful for their hospitality (especially with our dog who has been less than a polite guest), and we fully believe God gave us them to satisfy our current needs of a place to stay for awhile. So during the days when everyone goes to work, I have been working on painting parts and pieces of the house. It feels good to accomplish something each day, and especially to help them out as they are super busy people!
Sunday, September 1, 2013
I’m writing this from the comforts of the passenger seat in our FJ. Jordan’s merrily driving along, Layla’s snoozing in the back, the gas tank just got filled for the 200th time, and my “Alaskan Springtime” air freshener is just about used up. To be honest, not a whole lot could help the “month long we’ve been living in our car” smell go away except a thorough scrub down. I can’t wait!
This vehicle has taken us all across the North American continent this summer. From Anchorage, AK, we have traveled 7, 860 miles through wilderness, cities, national parks, cornfields, mountain roads ((shudder)), and interstate after interstate. My seat will forever have a permanent imprint of my butt. You’re welcome for that image.
We are just a couple hundred miles out from our final destination: Hampton, VA. I just can’t believe we did it. We talked about this trip for months. I spent hours planning this trip. We set up our camper and took it down over 20 times on this trip. We visited many friends, and even spent a weekend with Jordan’s brother. I feel like we put the next 20 years worth of vacations into an all-inclusive, all-expenses paid (thanks USAF) month of a lifetime.
It’s really hard to put into words the gratitude we both feel at this moment. For the 24 hour prayer team that has covered us in prayer every step of the way, we can’t thank you enough! There were several conversations had with people, missed accidents, and what can only be described as a perfect trip all covered in prayer, and we no doubt felt the Holy Spirit with us this entire time.
I’ll sum up the past couple of days for you before I conclude this chapter of my blog.
We spent two days in Memphis, TN catching up with Jordan’s friends as mentioned in my last post. This was such a sweet time, seeing people Jordan hadn’t seen in eight years and feeling like no time had passed at all. We are so excited for chances to see them in the future and promised another eight years wouldn’t go by before that happened again!
We drove to Boone, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains on Friday to meet up with Jordan’s brother, Christopher. He just moved to Hot Springs, NC, only a couple hours away. We camped in Boone, enjoying catching up with each other. One of the things Jordan and I have enjoyed in our down time on this trip is playing Monopoly on our iPad. Christopher agreed to play with us (he had no idea what he was getting in to). I am proud and not humble at all to say I kicked both of their butts the first night! Woot woot! But Christopher got us back last night. Poor Jordan is left hanging for a chance to beat us, so I’m sure that will happen the next time the three of us are together.
Saturday morning we went to a really beautiful place off the Blue Ridge Mountains and hiked down to Bass Lake with Layla. There were lots of people horse-back riding on the trail, so we were a little nervous as to how Layla would handle being so close to these friendly beasts. She’s become accustomed to barking at anything breathing outside of our FJ when we’re on the road, including the wild horses we saw in Canada. Turns out she wasn’t even phased by them, but did have to stop and sniff every “present” they left for her on the trail. Sigh.
We got back to our camper just in time to set up the canopy over our table as a storm rolled in pretty quickly. Oh yes, I remember these. East coast storms come in like a vengeance, pour rain, and leave before you even have a chance to say, “hello.” We spent the afternoon walking around downtown Boone. It reminded me very much of Keene, NH as it’s an old college-town in the mountains. Probably the best part of the day was when we, yup you guessed it, ATE.
Christopher suggested we eat at this pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom. Thankfully it had vegan pizza options for Chris, so we all indulged in hands-down the best pizza on earth. Move over Moose’s Tooth. My “Holy Shiitake” mushroom pizza was amazing. And that’s saying something as I’m married to Mr. Pizzahead himself who will drive across North America in search for the best pizza in the country. I’m happy to say we found it!
This morning we packed up the camper and spent some time showing Chris the houses we’re looking at in Virginia. He’s going to come up when we move in to help us unpack our truck. So fun to finally be around family that’s within driving distance and can do that!
And so, as we finish this journey, there are just a few words I’d like to leave you with.
1. If you’re married to someone in the military who has to shave every day for work, be prepared for what may grow on his face over the span of five weeks. Don’t get me wrong, the beard has been fun. But it’s time to go, my friend. Snip snip.
2. Wet Ones hand wipes and plastic grocery bags used for garbage and picking up dog poo become like gold on road trips. Start stocking up now.
3. If you ever have the opportunity to take a trip like this, do it. Don’t make excuses and say you’ll do it when you retire, or when you have enough money, or when you have enough vacation time. I realize those things all contribute to taking such a large trip like we’ve taken. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about taking a trip with your spouse, your family, your closest friends, and exploring this beautiful country we live in together. You don’t have to go 8,000 miles to see gorgeous places and you don’t have to have “all your ducks in order” to spend time with your loved ones. Out of all the things we’ve seen and done on this trip, I wouldn’t trade five weeks with my husband for anything. He’s been the best thing about this trip. That’s why I encourage you all to get out there and take a road trip together!
I’ll be posting more on this blog as we find a house, buy a house, move into that house, and live life in that house. If you’d like to keep reading along, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog, or just email me back and let me know to keep you on my list for updates! If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll just assume you don’t want my emails clogging up your inbox any moreJ No hurt feelings, I promise!
|Jordan, Pastor Jeff, and Amy Dale in the Baptist Collegiate Ministries building where they all hung out in '05.|
|I have a picture of us eating here when I came to visit in '05.|
|Jordan with Amy and Andrew Dale on Beale St.|
|We came back to our hotel room to find Layla like this.|
|Bass Lake, NC|
|Pops got each of them one of these from the Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, NC.|
|Christopher sleeping in his hammock on our site.|
|Camping in Boone!|
|Love this guy with all my heart|