You may have noticed my absence in bloglandia, but then again, I'm not sure anyone reads this, so you may not have. :) Whatever the case, after our move I just couldn't find the words to describe the myriad of emotions swirling around in my heart. I still can't nail them all down, but I'm finally ready to talk about one aspect of this move that has been the hardest.
Moving is hard in many ways. Physically it is demanding as you pack and sort and move things into place. Mentally it is exhausting as you run through to-do lists and figure out all the nuances of your new area. Emotionally you face the sorrow of missing family and friends, of your routines and comforts of "home".
I've struggled to write anything here (though I've tried and deleted a number of posts) because I didn't know how to be honest about the depression that I have been fighting ever since our move. I've gone through nearly a hundred hours of Biblical Counseling training, I've counseled friends fighting depression, I've read the books on Christians and Depression, I honestly believe and trust that God has placed us here, and been gracious in so many ways here. But I've still fought it. And like any war, I've won some battles, and lost others.
The truth is, I have good days and bad days. The truth is, I recognize with all my heart that we are right where the Lord wants us, He orchestrated this move, He gave us our home, He placed us in a part of town that is close to so many things that it's sometimes embarrassing to talk about because I feel so richly spoiled. But there is also the truth that I left some of the most amazing people in the entire world; friends who would drop everything to come cry with me in sorrow, encourage me in trials, minister to me in suffering, laugh and tell silly stories with me over coffee, and our families who we'd normally not go more than a few days without seeing. And to a girl who didn't have a true friend in the world besides her mom until her late twenties, leaving my home and friends was like cutting off my right arm. And maybe my left arm too.
Today was a bad day, I physically couldn't get out of bed until almost 11am, and even when I did finally drag myself out from under the covers, I didn't actually get dressed for another 4 hours. I have no idea if my children did any school work today, for most of the day I didn't care, if there had been a deep dark hole away from everything, I would have crawled in it. I knew I couldn't stay there, so I spent a lot of time reminding myself of all the blessings we have, recounting all the ways the Lord has shown Himself faithful, trying to pull myself out of my "funk". And then there was this "ah ha" moment. Immediately, I recognized the pattern of my "ups and downs" on this journey, and it was a comfort to see the hope ahead.
After visiting a few churches in our first month here, Elliott and I decided on the church we wanted to attend, and recently went to the New Members Class and we are pursuing membership. We feel home at this church, I even found a "loud" friend, as well as an older woman I feel comfortable being transparent with, Elliott has even met a few guys, and the kids are settling in well. Tonight, we were scheduled to have one of the Pastors come over to share our testimonies and ask questions, and I was really excited to have them over. But when I awoke feeling that anvil of depression, I really begged God to show me why. It was then that I realized that joining a new church was a step towards settling here, which naturally means saying goodbye to a piece of home. That's when the lightbulb went on, and I saw the pattern, that even in blessing, every event that makes our new city feel like home means that I am having to let go of a little piece of "back home", and my heart aches.
I don't imagine that recognizing this pattern will mean that the hard days will magically disappear, but I do think that God allowing me to see this pattern was a gift. God showered His grace on me when I needed it most, reminding me that He brought us here, encouraging me that when you love well, there will be sorrow in loss, but also showing me that He is moving here, changing me, and holding me close. Tears will still fall, but He will comfort.
For my "back home" friends, I hope you know that our doors are always open and there's lots of fun stuff to do here. For my "new home" friends, I'd love to have you over for a coffee. :)