Well. How are things going in California?
Oh great. I’ve founded a book club and sometimes all the other military spouses and I meet up and perform impromptu musical numbers in the street because there are so many of us in this neighborhood that it breeds the kind of joy only dancing can express.
Alrightalright. The truth is that tonight in bed and wept because I missed my friends and I don’t want to make new ones. I wept in that way that your tears sort of fly off of your face and commingle with your mucus to make some sort of sick nasal cocktail that really does convey the depth of your grief. “The salt from my tears is what feelings taste like.”
Try as I might, I can not kick the loneliness and general bummer that moving is. I want to, for your sake. People only want to hear about your sadness for so long, then they move on to watching Gilmore Girls reruns. Is this a dark night of the soul for me? I’d rate it somewhere between how Rory felt when Paris told everyone her mom made out with her English teacher and when Lorelei married Rory’s dad instead of Luke.
I could be wrong, but as a believer there is a certain amount of fear and shame that comes from admitting that you are not thriving. “Nope! Still sad!” Doesn’t sound like the kind of thing you are supposed to say. I wanted to stay in Norfolk, but God had other plans. It’s not like I can tell Him I have nothing left to say to him and leave it at that. Clearly there is purpose in this duty station. So tonight I am really trying to pull my head out of the sand, look around, and see Jesus. I am sad, I am disappointed, and I am adrift. But no matter what I am feeling, I am reminded that I am never beyond the reach of His grace.* It is so easy for me to despair and forget that the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.** That when I sit with my head buried that He is not ignoring me, but sitting next to me with His hand on my shoulder. The temptation remains to feel that His presence is gone when I am sad, that when I am failing, He abandons me until I can pull myself together. But the truth is that He is near and accessible.
I don’t predict that the road ahead of me will be easy, but I do know that the Lord will throw unexpected blessings my way. I also know that He will delight me with the comfort of His presence, if I would just maybe stop crying for, like, maybe even a minute and just let Him.
I will remember His faithfulness to me, like when I was able to sit in the perfect spring weather, propped up against the brick and mortar of the most imperfectly perfect church around and spend time with the Lord. I’ll remember that He doesn’t give up on me even though I’ve been reduced to googling tips for parenting strong willed children. I’ll remember that He is for me and not against me when I am embarrassed by a toxic mix of my subpar parenting and my children’s willful disobedience in front of my neighbors.
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.” Psalm 119:176
Please seek me Lord. I’m the one yelling “YOU LOOK LIKE YOU WERE RAISED BY WOLVES!!!!!” at my 3 year old. Monterey, California. Turn right past the sea otters and the kelp beds, past that forest fire, and you’ll find me. Oh wait, you’re already here!
*Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace
***I didn’t really start a book club. If I did, do you want to come?!?!