Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Long overdue...

(Written sometime in early November, but took me forever to post it)

Ok, so I've totally been avoiding writing a blog post for the past two months. Pretty much ever since I promised you all I'd update you on life in Virginia and finding a house, blah blah blah.  To be honest, it's been too difficult to find the right words to describe our experience here.

For the first few weeks, I didn't want to write because I didn't want to spill the beans on buying our new house before we closed on it.  And I also didn't want anyone to think we were crazy.  Because what happened really was a little crazy.  We arrived in Hampton on a Sunday evening, found the house online that night (it had just been posted two days prior), met with our realtor at 10:30 Monday morning and were in a contract with the sellers by 6.  It was the first house we looked at, and after viewing about three more in the neighborhood, we just couldn't keep our minds open to anything else but 4 Margaret.  Even the address felt right.  If that's possible.

So then we waited. And waited. And waited for five weeks to close. Everything went through very smoothly.  We stayed in temporary housing for a week, took a couple nights to visit my sister in northern VA, and camped out at our wonderful friends' Carla and Jeremy's house for almost a month. I also spent a week in CT helping my friend out with her new baby.  You're probably thinking, "Wow, that sounds like a busy life!"  But I promise you... it was so. long.  I shamefully admit I have watched almost 5 seasons of One Tree Hill since arriving here.  That's what a lack of job, friends, and life will do to a person.

But then we bought the house.

This picture was taken the day we closed... those blue skies didn't last for long!

 It was a Monday afternoon and as soon as we got the keys and walked in the door, the skies opened for the next week. We were fortunate enough to have a small break in the clouds long enough to unpack our moving truck, but seriously!

We spent the next couple weeks becoming familiar faces at the local Home Depot, Target, and Lowes, purchasing things to make our house a home.  It's amazing how much money you can spend on trivial things like curtain rods and area rugs.

At the end of October, I took a trip I've been waiting four years to take.  I went to visit my dear friend Viv in Lisbon, Portugal.  It was an amazing experience, from wandering the cobblestone streets, climbing up to castles, and drinking wine in the Douro quintas... I experienced beauty in a new way.  And I even think I learned a lot about myself in this place... traveling will do that to you, so be careful!

It's been a full couple of months, but at the same time, has felt so empty. We are slowly starting to make friends and have even enjoyed attending this one church for the past month. It's completely different from what we experienced in Alaska, but maybe that's a good thing.  Nothing will ever compare to First Cov. or the people there anyways, so completely different can actually be healing.

But my heart is still so broken.  Can I be that vulnerable with you?  I miss the life we had and the friends we made.  While I know there can be new life and new friends, I'm grieving Alaska more than I ever expected.  I want it all back, and it scares me to feel that way because those feelings are preventing me from embracing the new, beautiful things here in Virginia.

But the Lord is calling me to be open.  To pick up my mat and walk. To move on and be healed. Here's to a new journey...

The Laughter Gym

(Written on Nov. 26, 2013)

If you've been praying... THANK YOU! Tonight was the first night in months I have laughed until almost a little pee came out. You all shamefully know what I'm talking about. If you've been covering me in prayer, like I know I've asked of some of you, THANK YOU! Last night, I was able to be. myself. And be real! And even at times, be my alter ego, Francine:)  I laughed so hard my face hurt.  My abs screamed at me ("you haven't been working out enough!").  It's almost like I was out of shape from not letting go like that in so long. TOO long.  When our new friends left,  I felt the Lord say to me, "You prayed for me to be a presence tonight and I was. You have been asking me to supply you with joy, and tonight it came in a river, like the one I promised you in Psalm 46.  I love you, my child. And you are lovely.  Even lovelier when you laugh!" THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!

**Sidenote: Last week, Psalm 46 was brought to my heart twice.  I was taking intentional time last week to listen to the Lord.  To SHUT. UP. I know, I should be doing this all the time, but last week, I made a promise to Jordan and to myself that I would listen.  The first day, "Be still and know that I am God" kept resonating in my heart. I wasn't sure exactly where it came from, so I Googled and saw it was from Ps. 46:10. A couple days later, I hit an ultimate low... I've been having a lot of those lately (maybe more on that on a different day). I opened my Bible back up to Ps. 46 and read the whole thing, slowly, out loud (I always feel awkward doing this), and this time, the Lord spoke LOUD AND CLEAR to me through verses 4-5.

"A river brings joy to the city of our God,
the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
From the very break of day; God will protect it." Psalm 46:4-5

From my journal entry that day: "He made me see that I am the city of God; the home in which He dwells. He lives in me.  He abides in me when I abide in Him. And he promises me a RIVER OF JOY will be coming.  Joy I can't even imagine.  Joy that's not coming in a trickle or a glass.  No, a whole RIVER.  And He promises me He won't let anything destroy me. He is protecting His dwelling place.  He is my refuge and strength (v. 1), always ready to help in times of trouble.  I couldn't be more ready or willing for help right now.  Lord, bring the river.  Flood over me. Wash over me with Your love and joy.  I am ready."

As I wept over those words last week, I still had an aching, sinking feeling in my heart as I just wasn't sure how much longer I could wait for the river to come. The Lord sent it last night. And I am SO REJUVENATED. So like I said, if you've been praying for me, THANK YOU. And keep it up:)