Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Long Road Home

It was still dark when we awoke, neither of us wanting to move. I grabbed his hand and he whispered for me to go back to sleep, but of course, I wouldn't.

On very rare occasions (and I stress very rare) I have been blessed with being able to see "defining" moments beforehand. Usually I see them after they've past and realized I've screwed them up. More often though, I see them, recognize them for what they are, and still screw them up.

Today I recognized the moment as we walked it together.

We poured strong coffee and sat on the couch and prayed.

We've talked about this for several weeks- months, really. But when it happened it happened quickly.

Our year has been a year of hard things. Hard things to receive because in order to receive we must first be emptied.

Being emptied is never a fun process.

The truck, loaded with tools, maps for three states, and some personal items will carry this man I love to a place where there is work. It is mid-summer; our last summer with our oldest daughter before she leaves for college in England. We imagined our last summer with her differently.

The weeks building up to this have been harder on Jim than I imagined they would be. For him, leaving is harder than for others, of that I am certain. I know it rips his heart out because I see it on his face.

I cannot meet his eyes.

God is good to make sure only one of us is discouraged at a time.

I have been strong, until today. Today I am not, but I do not let him know because it is hard enough. And he already knows me well enough to know what I do not need to say.

There is good work in North Dakota. We have talked about this for over a year; not seriously though - until recently. The last 2 weeks required us to look seriously at this option. We prayed for work, and this arrived, when nothing else did.

There is much to be thankful for. This is work, after all, I remind myself. I hold back because I know my heart is tempted to not be thankful. This - giving thanks for this - is our defining moment.

Giving thanks for where this may lead is harder.

We both know there is work - long term work- in North Dakota. Jim will be gone a few weeks, but we know this is a precursor to something that would require him to live there and to make a commitment to stay on for a year, or more.

When I look down that road - I am not strong. The words hiss in my head - I know deep down I am only good with him and I am afraid of this road. I am afraid of raising our kids while he is not here. I am afraid of living needy, without any family here to depend on. I worry - what if I must face another year like I had and have no one with skin on to love me at the end of the day? What if my car engine light comes on, or a sprinkler breaks or what if we have mice and I have to deal with that???

I confess, today it is hard for me to see the blessing, although I know it is here.

Then I remember, there is grace for today. I remember to unclench my fist, to breathe and I give thanks for this manna. This, literally translated, "what is it?" I do not easily recognize this bread.

Oh, but I do know the Giver.

If this is His gift, how can it be bad?

I am a firestorm today, wrestling for this grace and clinging to it for all I've got. I feel the serpent's stranglehold release;


the only anti-venom for hard graces, spurts through my veins and I know I have struggled to learn this.

One day it will course,

but today it spurts.


  1. A stunning, honest revelation of the heart hurt that comes with hard choices. I believe this will be very hard on all of you. I also believe strongly in the faithfulness of our keeping God who will not relinquish his love and promises for your life, even in the midst of separation. You're standing on holy ground, sister, all of you. May the bright burning of a Moses' bush be your underpinning of faith as the season unfolds.

    Our God can be trusted with our "all." I know this one. Safe passage for all of your hearts. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you as the Lord prompts.


  2. I really didn't want to read this when I saw what it was about. My hubby is out of work for the 3rd time in 9 years. We don't even see a road yet, but I can't imagine taking the one you are. But I too know the Giver of all good gifts, and know, as Elaine said, that He can be trusted with our "all". May the peace of the Lord be always with you and your family as you face this immediate future. When you are on the other side of this, I don't want to miss hearing what God has done in you, through you, and for you. He is faithful and He will do it. God bless you sister.

  3. My husband has been working out of town for most of two years. He is within 5 or 6 hours so we see each other every other weekend. Still, my nest emptied at the same time, we have a hobby farm, a long driveway and long Wisconsin winters...

    But a day at a time, and it has gone well. We would like a close-to home job. Or for the farm to sell so I can travel too, or ?? But we wait and look for what God is doing.

    May God comfort you in the transitioning and bless you with peace when you feel unrest.

    So thankful for the communication tools we have. They don't seem so far then...

    Elaine's words are blessed balm as usual. :)
    Saying a prayer for you.

  4. Elaine, thank you for your wonderful encouragement and words of grace. Yes, this is holiest ground, this place of deep longing and dependence on Christ. This is the season to lean into the Giver. I know you know this well. Thank you for your sweet facebook re-post. That was a wonderful gift to me.

    I am blessed by your comments. Thank you for sharing with me your hard graces as well. I will keep writing as God reveals Himself to us on our journey and as I struggle to learn thankfulness for all His good gifts. There is much to be thankful for. Thank you for taking the time to read and for your encouraging words here. They have blessed me today.

    Dear Kathy,
    Oh my - this is hard isn't it? So many changes in such a short time. That is our story and the complications of a down housing market mingled with no work make it impossible for families to actually physically be together for a season. That is a very hard providence and my heart aches with new understanding for all who walk this road. Thank you for sharing your transition - it gave me comfort to know that you also have learned to walk this road with success. And yes, we do look and wait to see what God is doing. I am learning to trust when I can't see - that is my journey and I am learning confidence in His provision in our lives - I suppose I wouldn't have had this opportunity to put feet to my faith in quite this way - so there is yet another thing to be grateful for here. Blessings to you on your continued journey. Thanks for stopping by with wisdom words.

  5. He knows. He knows every hair on our head, every thought in our mind and every fear in our heart. He knows.

  6. Boy how my heart resignates with your post. Last summer with my oldest too before he leaves on mission. Such great writing. I love your openness and honesty. A new follower & fellow Washingtonian. ~ Jen

  7. Oh my ... You've unzipped your heart here, and I can see your pain. Even more, I see God all over you, girl!

    May the manna in your hand sustain you. May Living Bread nourish your soul. May you rest in the comfort and protection of a Living God who is head-over-heels in love with you.

    My prayers are with you...

  8. He walks with us each step of the way, one day at a time ... even the roads less traveled. God bless you with peace and be your provision.