Monday, March 3, 2008

Finding my place

Call me a gypsy or a nomad, but I have never seemed to stay in one place for to long. As much as I would love to put down roots, plant a tree and watch it grow, and all those things, when it comes down to it I am just a traveler at heart. There have been times in my life that I knew that I was right where I was suppose to be at that moment. And that is a pretty wonderful feeling. But other times, like now, I feel like a woman without a country; disconnected from the place I am living. I feel like a plane sitting on the runway, waiting for takeoff, but the control tower says to idle and wait. My engines are reved and ready to take off, but I am stuck waiting. I know in the spiritual sense, we aren't home, and we are just travelers passing through a foreign land. We aren't suppose to be comfortable here in this world. We are to be watching and waiting, ready to go to our true home. But this isn't a spiritual restlessness. This is a natural; physical, and emotional, restlessness.
I have always enjoyed traveling, going new places, meeting new people, and learning new ways of living. When my husband started traveling with his job, I loved it! It was so awesome to have new territory to explore. When we moved here to Arkansas with that company for a 2 year project, we decided to stay and make a home here. There were several things that went into that decision. The main one being the church we are attending here. Traveling around, it is sometimes hard to find a church that still teaches and practices the spiritual teaching that I was raised with. I want my kids to have that same foundation. And lets face it, churches of all denominations are getting more and more liberal and deviating from the "old paths" that were forged by the elders in the faith. This "falling away" from the old teaching has happened in so many places in the denomination that I grew up in. So when we moved here we found this incredible church body that still believed it the way I believe it. A pastor that still preaches against sin, and names it. A pastor that teaches prayer, prayer, prayer is the lifeline to heaven. A pastor that lives the example that he teaches. A church body that follows the man of God without murmur and complaint, a praying church, an on fire church, a church that reaches out to the lost and shines a light in dark places. A church that lives by the bible according to the teachings of the apostles. A church that is built on a firm foundation and doesn't waver or bow to the "political correctness" that has infested many churches. This is why I chose to stay here. I wanted my children to experience this kind of power and be a part of this kind of church.
Another reason for settling here was because we are about equal distance from both our families. His in Tennessee and mine in Louisiana. So it would be fairly easy to go to either place without much travel time. And our families could come and visit us.
At the time we moved here, I had just experienced a miscarriage and within a month of moving here, I was pregnant with Noah. So I was wanting to find a stable place, a place to put down those roots, a place so my kids could call home. But over the past three years of being here, I would say that it has been the most challenging, most stressful, and least enjoyable place we have lived. I have questioned our decision many times.
The prospect of leaving here, however is a daunting thing. I don't want to make a mistake, I don't want to bring trouble on us, or get into something worse. So fear has kept us here. But I don't feel like here is where we should be. But where? After deciding to stay here, my husband took a job with a local company. It hasn't been the best job situation either. But I won't get into those details. So the question is, What do we do? I have prayed and asked God for direction. I have prayed that if this is where we should be, that He would take this desire to go elsewhere from me. That He would make me content here. But neither has happened. There have been opportunities for my husband to take a job on the road again. But one glitch- Lauren. Lauren plans to start college soon. She is content here, and at 18 wouldn't want to move with us again...I don't think. But she isn't on her own, she couldn't stay without us. So what do you do? Do you let the needs of the one override the needs of the whole? I think, well if we stay a couple more years, until she gets settled in her life, then we could go. But then the other children would be older, Megan especially, and may not want to pull up and start over again.
All of this and more has been weighing heavy on my mind and heart lately. I see a life out there that I want, just finding the bridge to cross over into it is the problem right now. At one time my focus was Andrew having a job with more pay, and more benefits so we could have a better life. But I have found that the more money he has made, the more things we have gained, the less joy and enjoyment we have. I feel like the journey that my life has taken over the past three years has lead me to a new place, with a new desire, a new view of the world and my life. I now long for the simplicity of a life well lived, enjoyed, and felt. A contentment and a connection with place, a feeling of "this is my little slice of heaven--on earth". That doesn't mean more things or more money; however it does mean using what God has blessed us with, raising our children in a happy, stress free(as much as possible), home, with both parents feeling content and happy with where we are and where we are going.
I look at places and photo's of places and I think, could I feel at home there, is there a connection for me there? But I don't know, I don't know where home is for me. I know that I don't feel it here. I felt it when we were in Kentucky, for a while, then I felt it was time to move on.
Sometimes I look back over my life and I am amazed that God has allowed me so much. I love the mountains--they are my source of strength, I feel connected to them, I feel in awe of them. I think of the wonderful handiwork of God, and I feel at peace when I can look out and see the Majesty of His hand in the mountains. God allowed me to live in Kentucky and North Carolina for awhile. However, the contrasting part of me loves the ocean. The wonder of the vastness of it all, the return of the tides, set to God's time clock. The renewing of the sand with each tide. It makes me think of the vastness of God's ability and His grace that allows us a clean slate, when we ask Him. His forgiveness and mercy are like the tides, washing over us daily. It reminds me that we should spend time in prayer, in the morning, and evening, so that our shores, (hearts) can be washed clean and renewed. And God allowed me to live on an island, just yards from the ocean, for a time. I loved getting up each morning and going to the beach to walk along the shore and reflect, renew, and search for shells. It was amazing.
So here I sit, feeling that old restless feeling, urging me to move on to the next adventure, the next learning experience, the new territory that needs to be explored. God has brought me through so many things over the last three years, times when I questioned why! I questioned where God was in all of this. But now that I am on the other side of these dry, rough, and lonely places, I look back and I see where God was bringing me. I am a different person than I was three years ago. I have a new outlook on the rest of my life, I am less afraid to stre
tch and try those things my heart longs to try. I look ahead with a renewed feeling of awe, and understand that with God's help, the best is yet to come. I see this place as a necessary step in my progress to where God is taking me. I look back over the past three years and see this place as a teaching ground, a place God brought me through to teach me a new way and show me His faithfulness. But I don't see it as home. I don't see it as a place where we should stay.

I have always believed that as long as your relationship with God is where it should be, as long as your are allowing Him to direct and open the doors, you are safe to step through the doors of your life into new places and experiences. After a pit stop here, I am tuned up and ready to proceed on the road of life...where ever God leads...

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