On Belonging, Bravery, and Deep Breaths
Sometimes it’s difficult to "count your blessings" when stress sets up camp in your life.
Slipping into mud boots and securing the hood on my rain jacket, I took another drenched walk to the lodge.
Searching for a new job, living on the road, plus leaving behind our deeply rooted friendships in Tennessee, made for a weary welcome to fall.
My teenagers had feelings too and venting was so important...
"Why can’t we go back home where people know us and love us. We aren’t getting anywhere sitting here Mom."
They were disappointed with God and frustrated with our modern-day Abraham story.
The journey was exhausting but Jesus stepped in and clothed me with a bravery that I could not wear on my own.
I continually spoke the words in Hebrews 11:8 over our days - where Abraham said yes to God and every unknown up ahead. What a champ!
Fingers crossed, I stared out the window watching buckets of rain dump on the cabin rooftops and hoping for a phone call from a new friend about Thanksgiving plans.
Apparently, it was "the wettest month on record" in Seattle and I had to agree with that forecast - because it was especially true in my life.
Sometimes we struggle along, forgetting that He is the author of sacrifice and the calm to our chaos.
The season of joy felt like a recipe for depression but I kept my eyes up anyway. Have you been there?
I mommed hard, staying at a camp volunteering, and living in a motor home with 5 kids stretched out in sleeping bags for months.
What were we thinking?
I bathed the toddler in the camp laundry room sink, cooked meals in a 3-foot kitchen for perpetually hungry boys, and attempted to teach pre-algebra and pre-school simultaneously.
Never in my 41 years of life, did I wonder where we would gather for Thanksgiving. I felt like a gypsy momma without people, and no sure hope of belonging anytime soon.
I craved familiar faces, couches and fireplaces, hot pots of coffee, piles of shoes at the front door, and games sprawled out at dining tables. Amen?
I made it inside the lodge, found the cup of coffee I set out for - just as my phone started to ring.
"Hey Jen, this is Anna. We would love to have your family over for Thanksgiving if you don't have any plans."
Trying to play it cool..."Are you kidding me! We would be honored - what can I bring?!"
We chatted about the other guests and the menu just like you always do at Thanksgiving, and it all felt so beautifully normal.
I ran to town, grabbing everything on my list for the green bean and corn bread family favorites (while offering up a short prayer that the camp oven would be vacant during my time of need).
Thanksgiving Day arrived and so did the seven of us at the doorstep of these dear souls whom we'd only met once.
It was hospitality at its finest.
I took in the glow of lights from the windows and teared up at the guests lining the streets of the neighborhood.
Sometimes being “home” for the holidays is nothing like you planned, but everything you need.
The shoes came off and piled up at the door where I took the deepest breath in months. The counter tops were crowded with dishes, dips, and everything delicious.
Drinks and coffee were served, tables set, and prayers of thanks were offered to our sustaining God.
Story telling carried on for hours, toys were brought out for my little ones, and games began to take over the table.
I found myself giddy over carpet under my feet, the glow of a fireplace, and the background noise of the football game. It all got me thinking…
Has God ever removed your comfort so He could restore your confidence in Him alone?
Just so you know, the pie was cut and yes, I took a slice of every single one - like a gal who had been roughing it for months.
Maybe the fall season of comfort and memory making finds you hurting and longing for answered prayer too.
I want you to know friends, that His promise is real and His watch its trustworthy, even when you can’t see the end of the road.