Wounded

Exactly three weeks prior to our moving truck arriving, three police officers were fatally shot in retaliation of a police shooting that happened two weeks before.  I knew we were entering what appeared to be a racially divided city.  Driving around the area, blue ribbons were on mailboxes and for sale in the grocery store, in support of the police officers.  I knew these people were hurting.  God didn’t just want me to know their hurt, he wanted me to feel it.

One of the men that showed up to move our items into our house was the father of Montrell Jackson, one of those officers whose watch ended just three weeks ago.  He left behind a 4 month baby boy and a sweet wife.  He left behind a Daddy who dearly loved his “Baby Boy”.  He said when he heard the news report that morning, he immediately called Montrell.  His son always answered and if he couldn’t talk, he would say, “I’ll call you later, Pops.”  His son never picked up, after three attempts to reach him.  He turned to his wife and said, “We aren’t going to church today, Montrell’s dead.”  I remember reading about this young police officer with a passion for his community.  He dreamed of being on the force in order to make a change in the world in which he grew up.  He had posted on Facebook after the first shooting, sharing about his love for his community and his love for the police force.  His father is convinced his son had prophesied his own death.

Later on, my 3 year old and I went to the store to pick out some items for that little baby who would never know his father.  I ached for the family.  I ached for the community.  I wondered why God placed this father in my path.  I truly believe God wanted me to bond with the community faster than I could do on my own.  Why, I have yet to figure out, but while I have only been here one month, it feels like I have lived here longer.  I miss home terribly, but God’s plan is not my own, and it never has been.

Arrived

Two months since I have written.

One month since we have moved.

I struggle to wrap my brain around all that has transpired.

In short, the move went perfectly.  As flawless as a move with four kids and 13 hours can go.  There was crying, screaming, whining, fighting, and utter craziness, but we survived without a hitch.  No one was left behind at a rest stop, nasty convenience store bathroom, or on the side of the road.  I call that pure success.

Wednesday, August 3rd, we pulled into our driveway, beyond exhausted, yet knowing we had a full night ahead of us.  Our rental house was empty and would remain so until the following Sunday when the rental truck was scheduled to arrive.  Other than the items that protruded from every crevasse in the vehicles, we had very little to move in.  No beds, no chairs, no tables, no kitchen items.  Our first stop would be Walmart for air mattresses and a few odds and ends to get us through breakfast the next day, then on to grab a couple of pizzas.  Finally we were able to rest in order to fully explore our surroundings the next day.

On Thursday, after a day of exploring and trying to occupy 4 children who didn’t have their belongings yet, our new friends, The Stones, came by and brought dinner.  Leave it to me to make friends BEFORE actually moving to a new place.  Especially friends who bring you a yummy meal and offer the use of their washer and dryer.

Friday morning was spent doing laundry and visiting, until the realization hit me that my plan for the kids’ schooling was not going to work out the way I wanted.  I had chosen an online option to give the kids a more relaxed transition into school.  I didn’t want to drop them off at a unknown place, in an unknown town.  But God had other plans.  The kids were wait-listed and I had no option, but to enroll them in public school.  I had to do it IMMEDIATELY.  School started on Monday.  Uniforms were to be found and purchased. School supplies were to be gathered.  I cried out to God, threw a fit, and took a deep breath, remembering the advice of a dear friend, “Just do the next thing.”  So, for me, the next thing was finding their schools and enrolling them.

Sunday didn’t come soon enough.  We were so thankful for that moving truck to arrive. Little did I know, with that truck, God would begin to immerse us into the aching heart of this community.

Unknown

One of the scariest words I know,  UNKNOWN.  It emits feelings of anxiety, fear, and nausea.  It means that I have no control.  No control over where I am going or what will happen when we get there.

I was lamenting to a close friend the other day and a name popped into my head, Abraham.

Abraham was sent to an unknown land.  God just told him to pack up and go, then he went.  I really wish he had written down his version of the story.  I mean, he had to have had some conversations with God about this.  “Really God, pack up everything?  I know you promised me my own nation, but you told me pack up and start walking to an unknown place.  Are you sure?”

Whether or not Abraham had this conversation or not isn’t really the point, I suppose. The point is that he obeyed.  He may have had anxiety, fear, and nausea but he went anyway.

At this point, we are waiting for more details to fall into place;  confirmation on housing, moving date, and schooling.  Details that fall into the category of “unknown”.

Much of our lives are unknown.  What IS known?

Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God.”

  1. Be STILL, be calm.  Don’t stress.  Don’t worry.
  2. KNOW that I am God.  KNOW with all of your heart and mind.

I think the little word in the middle is the most important:  AND.

“Be still AND know”  You can’t fully be still without the knowledge that God is God.  I can tell myself to calm down, but without the full knowledge that God is in control, my calm is not going to last very long.

On the radio the other day, I heard a great message,

“God’s way becomes plain when we start walking in it.”

So, onward I shall walk, into the unknown.

34 days

~Leah

 

Comfortable

I have willingly stepped out of my comfort zone.  The summer after my sophomore year in college, I flew to Miami with my buddy Katie, to embark on a summer of service.  We left our little college town and discovered the remarkable people of the inner city.  We were thrust into the lives of the homeless, people living in an AIDS Hospice, and children whose lives were torn apart by violence, drugs, and abuse.  Our world was shaken and the beautiful people we encountered in Miami will forever remain a part of our core.  That summer opened our eyes to a world so different from our own.  I remain incredibly thankful for that opportunity.

Then we returned home.  We slowly re-entered our comfortable world.  Our world of all things familiar and safe.  Katie and I chat from time to time, reflecting on that summer.  We are now both raising small tribes of our own.

18 years later, this comfort zone is about to be stepped out of again.  This time, not for a summer, not for a couple of months.  The first time, stepping out was easier, as we knew it was only temporary, we would be returning home as soon as our plane landed. This time, the move to the big city will be a more permanent one.  Our little tribe will be moving from the safety of a rural area to the great unknown of the deep deep south.  We are heading out of the familiarity of our home state to a strange land of swamps and gators.

This roller coaster life has taught me one thing, God’s got this.  Part of me wants to kick and scream to stay at home, close to my family.  Leaving my church home will be horrible, as I have known these friends for sixteen years.  They have walked with me through marriage and the birth of my four babies.  I could so easily be overcome with anxiety and worry.  It’s there, pressing in, waiting for me to open up to it.  I just keep pushing it away.  I have to trust God like I never have before.  If not for me, for my children.  They need to see my faith. They need to look forward to whatever God brings into their lives.

Although I will be leaving pieces of my heart behind, God’s blessings will abound in the bayou.

35 days

~Leah

Callin’ Baton Rouge

Writing is my therapy.  It is my way of processing this world.

As soon as it was confirmed that we were moving, I immediately felt the need to write, to process.  This isn’t just a move a few miles away, more like 922 miles.

922 miles away from family

922 miles away from friends

922 miles away from familiar

The extroverted side of me is looking forward to this new adventure.  Meeting new people and experiencing a new world is invigorating.

The introverted side of me just wants to stay in my comfortable little world.  I don’t want to be stretched. I don’t want to start over.

But, that’s not what God wants.

He is clearly paving this path.  He clearly has something new for us to see and experience. Staying will keep us from fully living this life He has for us.

Bring it.  I’m ready.

36 days

~Leah

 

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