When You Feel Like You’ve Lost Your Anchor, Remember This

One Thing to Remember During the Chaos of Change

The news that we would have to vacate our apartment came on a weekday while I was at work. At first, I was too shocked to even panic. I sat at my desk blinking in disbelief and then on the way home, it hit me.

My husband and I had moved cross-country a month earlier and were living in a temporary furnished apartment. Due to a mix-up about length of time we would need to stay, they had leased our place to someone else. Now we had until the following week to find a rental which would both allow pets and let us pay month-to-month while our previous home was still on the market.

The sheer weight of it all made it difficult to breathe. I knew finding the housing we needed during this time would be like finding a needle in a haystack.

When you make a life decision as monumental as leaving your childhood home and moving to a place where you know no one, you give it a lot of thought. You pray. You seek wise counsel from friends and family, and you pray some more.

We’d done all of these things and felt strong affirmation that God was leading us to make the move. So when trouble came, I questioned. Had we heard God wrong? Was all of this a huge mistake?

I longed for the familiarity of our couch, our bed and the soft glow of the lamp I used for late night reading. All of it was sitting on a cold concrete floor somewhere in storage.

But it wasn’t just the furnishings that were foreign to me. It was the culture. The people. I searched for a common ground but missed the slow drawl of my southern rooted friends. Now, after a month we were being uprooted yet again and my faith was faltering.

When you’re overwhelmed by the chaos of change, you have to hold on to the only One who is unchanging.

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You may feel as though you’ve lost your anchor and wonder if any of your surroundings will ever feel like home. The distance between you and your loved ones may feel like a chasm that cuts straight into you soul.

But can I tell you something? Our God doesn’t change.

His love for you is the same today as it was before you were a glint in your mother’s eye.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 NIV

As I kept making the commute to work each day after our instruction to vacate, I saw the splendor of the snow-capped mountains. I noticed the vibrant colors of the leaves as the seasons changed from summer to fall.

Somehow I knew the God who created all of this for us to enjoy was going to get us through this mess.

A few days later, my husband got a call from our realtor. Her boss owned a property in the area we desired to live and was willing to rent it month-to-month. Oh, and the dogs were welcome.

It wasn’t the house we’d later make our home. The paint was chipping, the floors were dingy and it needed a lot of TLC. But it offered exactly what we needed- a place where we could stay together.

In the midst of hard times, you find it’s the little things that matter the most. And our steady, unchanging God provides them all.

When Loneliness Is a Blessing

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I remember the first time we drove through this small town tucked into hills of Western Maryland. It was a cold, rainy day and a heavy fog hung over us like a blanket.

As we made our way across the overpass and I looked down at the place I would later call home, I thought, “Oh God, what have I done?” My husband and I were going to be living here in a few months, and I had agreed to the move here sight unseen.

I looked out my window and I thought about the friends we’d be leaving, the church where we’d thrived, and the snowy peaks outside our doorstep in Utah. Had we gone crazy? One what planet did we decide this was a good idea, to pick our family up and move cross country for the second time in five years?

And yet, in late January during one of the coldest winters on record, that is exactly what we did.

After living with my in-laws for a few months while looking for a house, we finally found a place to raise our growing family. We were expecting our second son, and I was eager get active in the community. But the more we tried to fit, to find a church family and make friends, the more elusive our desires became.

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m honored to be sharing in Bethany McIlrath’s Word Works series. You can read the rest of my post here.

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Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #IntentionalTuesday, #CoffeeForYourHeart

When Your Soul is Restless

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The feeling swept in with the morning rain clouds, as I sat by the window drinking coffee. Restlessness.

There were no defining edges to it. I couldn’t quite grasp where the emotion came from. It was just there. And it consumed me.

I daydreamed about moving to another town. We’d lived here four years so it was time, right? There were plenty of good reasons to migrate further south.

Like my mom’s stroke last year. Being over five hundred miles away was not ideal, and my parents weren’t getting any younger.

And I won’t even dwell on the winters here. This southern girl learned how to use a snow shovel a few years ago and purchased a new set of all-season tires, but I’d prefer not to have to use either.

Yes, I change of location was exactly what we needed. Wasn’t it? I was sure my restless ache would stop when the scenery became white sand and Palmetto trees.

But as the sun set later that evening and I watched my boys soaking up the last daylight hours, I sensed God speak.

Look for the beauty. Right here. Right now.

Will you continue reading with me? Today I’m sharing over at Kelly Balarie & Friends. You can read the rest of my post here.

 

*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday. Come join us and be inspired.

For the One Who’s Lonely and Losing Hope

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The winter after we moved to this area was one of the most lonely periods of my life. And of all the seasons, winter is the one where depression is most likely to sneak into my life and stifle my hope.

Darkness shrouds the day shortly before my husband even gets home from work. Bitter cold days seem to never end.

It was on one such day when the light inside me was fading that God reminded me He was still there. He reached out and embraced me with his loving arms at the most unexpected moment.

Will you keep reading with me? I am honored to be sharing over at Bearing Branch today. I don’t want you to miss this story of God’s faithfulness.

 

Continue reading…

 

*Linking up with Meredith Bernard and Holley Gerth.

Homesick

As I told my son to go to bed for the fifth time this Mother’s Day evening, I reflected on how patient my mom was with me.  How she never turned me away when I tiptoed into their bedroom at night, trying not to wake my Dad.  How she’d scratch my back and my arm to lull me back to sleep.

A dull ache overwhelmed my heart for the first time in months, and I immediately recognized it as it settled in like an old friend.  Homesick.

I inwardly laugh that there was a time not very long ago when I wanted nothing more than to put distance between myself and my southern roots.  To leave the endless humidity, the obsession with college football, and the wretchedly hot summer days.  I longed to explore the other forty-nine states.

Less than a year after getting married, that’s exactly what I did.  We left.  And two cross country moves and nearly five thousand miles later, I realized something.  South Carolina is in my blood.  I can’t escape it.

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I look back at the woman I was nearly eight years ago, and though my roots haven’t changed, I have.  I’ve been stretched and pulled and forced outside the zone of comfort I’d built around myself.  My faith was renewed during those years of packing, repacking, not knowing where we were going to live or how we were going to build a new life.

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When you move away from the place where you’re rooted, your definition of home changes.

I gave birth to my first son nearly a continent away from the place where I spent my childhood.  Utah, with it’s majestic peaks, spectacular sunsets, and crystal crisp rainbows became our home.  Our new friends became our family.

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Then, after nearly four years, we did it all over again.  The mountain side of Maryland, with it’s rolling hills and small town feel became the place we would welcome our second son.

I wouldn’t trade the way these experiences have shaped me.  How each move has pushed me to seek community and friendship.  My sense of control was replaced with complete surrender to the God who makes all things new.

My relationship with my husband became stronger than the forces which threatened to pull it apart.  We were driven to rely on each other through every struggle which came and passed.

But tonight I am homesick.  I know that no matter how many times we move and rebuild, my anchor is rooted in the Palmetto tree state.  And that anchor is deep.

Phone calls, texts, and Skype conversations can never replace a hug and a face to face conversation over a glass of sweet tea.

Like an accent that creeps back into my voice when I’m around my family, South Carolina will always call me back.  With her sandy beaches, real barbecue, calabash shrimp, and sentences that start with y’all.

Instead of trying to fight the call, I will let it settle like a slow refrain that gives rhythm to my step.  As I dance my two-year-old to sleep and sing with that southern drawl creeping into my tongue, I know I will be okay.

I will be more than okay.

 

 

Love Looks Deeper

Have you ever met someone with whom you felt an instant connection?  A friendship was formed with little or no hesitation, and you went on to share stories about your aspirations, your disappointments, and the ordinary routines of your life?  I have experienced this type of bond.  But it is oh so rare.  With my borderline introvert personality, perhaps it is more infrequent for me than others.

Developing a meaningful relationship with another person takes time.  In most cases, an instant connection will not be there, but we are called to dig deeper.  To find what lies beneath the surface.

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Some of the most life changing relationships I’ve experienced have been with those who, after my first impression, did not appear to be someone I would want to befriend.

A woman I met at a women’s ministry event, who was annoyingly loud, ended up making me laugh so hard I was in tears on a night when I had been tempted to stay home. Another woman who seemed pretentious became a dear friend, and one of the most genuinely caring people I know.

We all project different versions of ourselves when we are trying to impress those around us.  When we just want others to like us.  We try to be the person who is the life of the party or the one who has it all together.

My husband and I have moved a total of over five thousand miles since we got married nearly eight years ago.  Before our last cross-country move, I was devastated to leave relationships that were just beginning to grow, but knew God had something spectacular planned for us at our next destination.

I wasn’t wrong.

He has molded my personality, which was once extremely introverted, and pressed me to reach outside of my realm of comfort.  He’s pushed me to see those around me.  He’s made me realize that living a full life means reaching beyond what I think I’m capable of doing.

He’s shown me that we are called not just to extend grace to those around us who are like us, who share all of the same beliefs and political stance, who like the same t.v. shows, and whose kids attend the same school.

Peter, who had experienced the pure, abounding love and grace of Jesus after denying him not once, but three times, says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)

Love means looking past first impressions.  It means looking past that snarky remark and seeing the person who had a rough morning, an unexpected phone call.  It means starting a conversation with the girl who has barely said two words at your Bible study even when you don’t know how to begin.  It means taking a meal to the widow across the street, even though you know he may talk your ear off for an hour.

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Love looks past our initial opinion of people and sees the initials of Christ stamped on them, made to reflect His glory.