March is here, which means Spring is on its way, and that’s good news to my heart! (And to my pale skin.) But it’s also that time when I pause, reflecting on lessons learned over the past three months, and I’m amazed at the ways God has been working.
1. Loneliness can be a gift, but it’s a gift that hurts.
I’ve been living in Dallas for almost 9 months, and while it’s been hard moving away from my amazing community, I will say that for those first months, I’d found a sort of freedom in it. Moving out of my relational comfort zones has revealed much about my heart and the points at which I’d relied on my people for some of my identity more than I had leaned on the Lord. I felt a relief in having those idols addressed and while the stripping of them has hurt, I’ve also never felt more confident that God was doing a good thing in that work.
Then after the new year, suddenly I was over it! I wanted that lesson to be over and done with and I longed to move more easily into new community, but that hasn’t been what God has done. That’s coming more slowly than it ever has in my life, and it’s a new experience for me. I’ve never really walked through life outside of a very deep experience of community. I think a lot of this emotion has been necessary; I’m finally grieving what I left behind in Tyler – the precious friendships that provided biblical community, the sense of place that still eludes me here. The fullness of life transition for all of my people kept me so occupied for the first months, but now? It hurts to not live in community the way I used to, and recently I became weary of the building process.
I think I’ve come out of the intensity of this mini-crisis, but last month I was heavily weighed down by questions surrounding my purpose – If all of my gifts and passions are tied up in relational connection but that’s a real void in my life right now, how am I supposed to live out my God-given purpose? I felt stuck.
Here’s what I know: True biblical community is at the heart of God’s desires for me, and he will fulfill that. This is a hard waiting place, but it is not without purpose and won’t exclude joy. This is because GOD IS WITH ME IN THIS PLACE, and there I find joy.
In the meantime of God making a way out of this “outsider looking in” place, God has been giving incredible gifts to spark hope: blossoming friendship, vision for places where I may be able to serve soon, older women pouring wisdom and love into my life, and the unbelievable number of times God speaks through Scripture straight into what I’m dealing with. I don’t know why I’m still so often surprised by how he does that, but this month it’s taken my breath away.
The main thing learned here? Trusting Jesus in these empty places does not mean I ignore that it’s hard. A friend shared on Facebook these words from Ann Voskamp that perfectly sum up what God’s taught me this winter about this lonely season of being the new girl:
“Emotions are given to move you toward God. Can I remember? I don’t have to fix things, I don’t have to deny things, I don’t have to pretend away things. Could I simply feel the brokenness of things—and feel that’s okay? Could I feel okay being un-okay, trusting that Christ is always making a way?”
2. Home is the calling I can’t ignore.
Regarding the question I mentioned above about purpose, there’s one very clear answer, of course. What I DO have right now is a house full of people God’s blessed me to love and take care of, and I know a large part of what he’s doing in my life right now is to reorient my heart towards the work of HOME.
I’m currently reading Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman, and it’s helping me see motherhood in light of God’s whole plan of redemption for the world, renewing my joy in this home-making, soul-nurturing, life-giving mission of raising children.
A wise woman recently reminded me, “No one else can be the mother your children need, and no one else can be the wife your husband needs.” It wasn’t a burdening truth, just a refreshing reminder that God has tasked me for these roles and will always provide what I need. I don’t always know how to raise my little group of four in togetherness while also parenting them individually, but the Lord is giving strength, energy, and clarity of vision. I just need to remember to ask him for it – preferably before I get to the point in the day when I’m completely overwhelmed! He’s teaching me to start my days pressing for his wisdom and fixing my mind on the right mission.
3. My journey through miscarriages and a season of infertility was painful and longer than I wanted it to be, but now I finally see where God has healed my heart and I’m so grateful.
After years of longing, grieving, feeling a void in our family and wondering why God wasn’t answering the desires of my heart to birth another child, it sure is sweet to be on the other side of his answer and find my heart grateful for the answer he did give. I’ve just realized in the past few months the magnitude of the work he did in my heart to trust him through heartache, and experiencing his healing in this has completely changed me.
This is a season of looking back at what God did to bring me out of that grief and anger, and his faithfulness is stunning. Planning to share more of that story this spring, I’m presently working through my thoughts and emotions surrounding one of the hardest journeys of my life and where God moved in it, and all I can say right now is “Wow. Thank you, Lord. You are good.” Considering the unfulfilled longing I lived with for so long, that is nothing short of a miracle.
What have you been learning?
Go here to check out what other bloggers learned this winter.