I never thought I'd see the day that I'd go nearly 2 months without blogging. I just knew I wouldn't be one of those bloggers who just doesn't update their blog and it drifts off into cyber space forever.
I have a lot to say. I have tons to post. Birthdays have been celebrated, kids are growing like summer weeds, I've started a small photography business and it's a nice, deliberate distraction from the every day.
But honestly, when I sit to write, none of that pours from me. I lay in bed at night and think about the abundance of blog worthy material and somehow, I never make it to the computer in time to document any of it. I've had moments of clarity where I thought I'd figured out really trusting the Lord. Then moments of such anger and frustration that I've vowed to share them because surely, someone else has felt the same.
In general, life is okay. Somedays, it's even good. I've had more days of energy and patience than days feeling like I'll puke at any moment and being done with my children by 8:15am. I get the joy of feeling sweet baby flutters deep within me that remind me daily that God's grace abounds even when mine is all dried up. We've moved into our new house and we are settled, even though boxes still line the halls and pile in corners of every room.
People keep saying, "Does it feel like home?" or, "Oh! It's just perfect. It feels so homey."
I'm glad they feel that way. I want our home to be warm and inviting, a place people feel comfortable.
I just wish I felt the same way.
For the last 3.5 years we've been in a rental house that we knew, from the day we moved in, would be temporary. We didn't know where we'd be going or how long we'd be staying. But we knew God led us to that season of our lives for a purpose, to prepare us and lead us to wherever He wanted us to be. We were ready. We were eager. While we waited on directions, and began stepping out in faith, we welcomed two more daughters to our family, still set on going somewhere.
And then, July 24th happened.
And now, I sit here unpacking boxes that have been sitting packed, in our attic, for nearly 4 years. Boxes that I never intended to unpack anytime soon. Photos that bring me joy and sorrow all in the same breath.
Chubby photos of my Lucas when he was just a roly-poly little baby and Ashlee with her huge eyes and kissable lips. Photos of Elizabeth with baby front teeth and chubby, little fingers. Prints of Aaron's huge, blue eyes and Olivia's round, bald head. I take them out, look at them, smile at the nostalgia.
Then I box them right back up.
I don't really know how to explain it. I want them out. I want to see them. I want our house to be our home. I want our kids to see photos of themselves as babies and toddlers and take pride in knowing that we have treasured them their entire life.
But I just can't. Not yet. I've asked a few people to come and help me hang photos and things on the walls. But plans fall through, or kids get in bed too late and I don't push the issue because I know that when the time comes, I'm probably going to fall apart. And how do you explain that to people?
"Well, you see, I'm sobbing because I thought our life plan was to be in Africa right about now. We weren't going to be unpacking photos of our babies, instead, we'd be taping a few treasured photos onto our fridge and calling it a day."
This isn't the life I had us pictured living. And it's hard to convey that to people when, from all outside appearances, it looks like we've moved on with our life. And while we have moved, I haven't necessarily moved on. Does that make sense?
Our pastor, his daughter and a team went to Uganda earlier this month. Honestly, I've not kept up with anything to do with missions because, well, I can't. But I was actually excited for them and for this young girl to set her feet on African soil for the second time in her young life.
But then, the Sunday after they returned, they showed a video summarizing their trip. Their 2 week experience in Uganda was nothing like what our day-to-day life would have been like in Kenya. NOTHING. And yet, Luke nor I could keep it together. We both just sat and sobbed silently in our seats. Both of us shedding tears faster than we could wipe them. I resisted the urge to flee the service, hide and weep openly. I didn't want to be that girl.
I'm not pretending to know the depth and breadth of the pain that a woman who is infertile, yet longs for children, endures. I have no doubt that is a pain unlike any other pain. Yet, when missions and Africa and blog links to awesome ministry blogs are sent to me, I recoil in pain. I recoil and fight the urge to run and hide. I fight the urge to look at them in disbelief and whisper through the pain, "This is more than I can take."
I miss a land, a people, a village, a house I never knew. We never visited Kenya. We never even knew the names of all of our team members. But the grief of losing what we never had must be some sort of a hint of what barren women long for, and grieve themselves.
I want Africa. And yet, it seems not oceans away, but galaxies. An impossibility to access. Something I will live the rest of my days longing for but never attain.
And yet, I know that now is not the time for us to go. I know that because of so many factors and reasons and the state of my own heart. So while things appear okay on the surface, while I go through the motions, try to love my children and my husband with everything I have left in me, I manage.
I manage to make it feel like normal life. I manage to not allow myself to dwell on the fact that I'm angry, I'm hurt and I'm not settled. I manage to make our children's rooms feel like home. I step back, regroup and move on with the next thing. Because most days, that's about all I can manage.