Thursday, May 21, 2015

Enough is Enough

This is for all of you with your toes gripping the edge of change, moments from tipping. It's for you,  half-breathless in worry over the future. It's for the one carrying homesickness around like a stone in a bucket, and for the one forcing her feet to move forward, every day, every day, when everything in her wants to sprint back to the past.

Mostly, it's for all of us who have made a friend of fear.
It's for the woman trying so hard to find herself again.
It's for all of us confused about where our real self lives and that she never really left.

I woke up thinking it would be fun to post another throwback today, something I wrote on this exact day, a few years back. As luck would have it, or maybe because I used to post 5-6 times a week (HOW did I sustain that for so long? And why? Questions for Jesus.) I had plenty of 5-21-** options. As even bigger luck would have it, I found a draft, something I wrote but never published.

I rarely draft anything. I'm a total Pantser, sitting down at the computer, pouring my guts out, and hitting publish. I don't let much simmer. Who knows what must have happened on the 21st day, three May's ago, in the Betty Draper Rental. I'm guessing it had something to do with the wiry toddler I might have literally been wrestling.

(This is what my kids looked like exactly 3 years ago. Please note the random small objects in Silas's hand. Marker - check (the better to deface personal property!) Medicine Dropper - check (that was the year he called medicine "funameen". More questions for Jesus.))

Reading my dusty words today, in the light of the change and sureness that only comes with the slow passing of years, I see God's steady hand at work.

It's a beautiful reminder to me, forever in the midst of change, that my anchor is the wide expanse of Him, not the confines of a property line, not a zip code. He leads us, yes, but He also walks beside us. I happen to need both.

(This is what my neighbor's peony bush looked like three years ago, but now I'm just torturing myself.)

The post sat in my drafts because it was unfinished. You'll see that it drops off the cliff, right at the end. No closure. No pink bow.

That's perfect for all of us, today and every day. This is our wild life, always ready to surprise us, poised to shock and stretch us, persistently proving and re-proving that the best things happen when we jump right into the flow, jangled nerves, honest insecurities and all.

I'm feeling mad love for you, friends.
Who knows how today might go down in the books?

 *****

 Enough - Written May 21, 2012

I'm sitting here with my feet propped up on the coffee table - this, the only time of the day I sit with the computer on my lap. There's a really cute guy to my right with a computer on his lap. Three different shades of brown drift off to sleep down the hall. Just past the screen, a full choir of birds make the most of the fading day. It's quiet, the kind of peaceful ending that pulls us tighter on the inside.

Less than a year ago I looked out my kitchen window at acres of hay and wondered if you could take the country out of the girl. Would I be the same person, standing there on a different plot of dirt? So I made a pact with myself - I would surprise everyone and be the very same girl. I'd surprise myself. I'd move into a beige rental and shove the toys in the corner of the living room, I'd wash every spoon by hand and hum while I did it. I wouldn't miss the past. I didn't need pretty. I'd be living proof that when God makes you go, it's nothing short of freeing and bright.

Here's one thing I learned: Never make a pact with yourself. Especially when it involves the impossible seeing of the future.

This move was not smooth or sparkling. It wasn't legendary. It wasn't brag-worthy. The hidden condition of my heart made me ashamed, so I started doing what I am prone to do: I began exposing it. I got bluesy and whiny and I made sure people saw it, because it was the truth. Sharing the truth seems to help me really see the truth, which happens to include the following:

I am worried that my children will not be hardy and creative if they grow up in town.
I want to kick people in the teeth when they say about country living, "It's such a perfect place to raise children", even thought it's true. 
I don't care as much about keeping my house tidy when it's not really my house.
I get grumpy when my house isn't tidy.
I cry sometimes when I think of Springtime on our farm.
I get jealous when people talk about their gardens.
I believe my mojo was buried somewhere near the corner flower bed on County Road 3.
I miss my trinkets.
Having pictures on the wall matters to me.
I like natural light in my bathroom and an absence of swine-flesh tile.
If I can't have a dishwasher, no one should have a dishwasher.

It was easy to tell myself that I'd handle it all like a champ, back when I wasn't handling it at all. I thought I knew so much. Things got scarier when it was game-time and I realized I wasn't taking pictures anymore because nothing seemed worthy. Nothing was good enough anymore.

*****

What was your life like exactly three years ago? What has changed? How have you stayed the same?
I'm all ears.




Literally.

31 comments:

  1. Interesting question... 3 things have happened that I would have never believed would, if you'd told me 3 years ago! In order of significance: we got a dog, we are planning to homeschool next year and we have a baby!!?! I think I have grown a ton over the last three years and have become more content with myself. It's amazing how life can change n just a few years time.

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  2. Three years ago my life was just coming back together after a stem cell transplant for leukemia...I had slayed the dragon and was finally feeling more like my 'normal' self... although I know I will never be 'her' again. I was one year post transplant and looking forward to life again, but at the same time not. Funny how cancer changes you... how you don't have the patience for people who are whining about life's trivial problems. I struggled for a long time with this and with finding my new identity... and one day it just clicked I'm still me, just with more knowledge about a subject that I never wanted to learn about... so now I share that knowledge with those just starting out on their journey... Yep the same me... and so thankful for that!

    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG

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    1. happy for you that you slayed the dragon! leukemia came and went in my family 11 years ago. my mom had it. it is like being a part of a crappy sort of club that i never wanted to join. congrats on a few years, post-transplant!

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    2. What an encouraging story, Cheryl. Thanks for sharing and keep slaying those dragons!

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  3. Three years ago I was graduating college and exploring Europe with my best friends.

    Since then I have walked through depression with my best friend, walked through loss of a parent with my longtime friend, lost my job, gotten married, bought a fixer upper that we couldn't live in for almost 5 months so we bounced around staying with different friends,we have gotten a dog after our first experience getting one (three months after being married) about broke us (not recommended especially when the wife didn't grow up with dogs) and the list goes on and on.

    But since then too--God has broken me, stretched me, touched me, loved me and blessed me immeasurably through the valleys. I am nowhere near the same girl I was three years ago and I hope to say that again in three years. I am learning to keep my distance from my old friend fear and to embrace any hardship or blessing that comes my way.

    A big thanks to you for being such a huge source of encouragement to me. Your words challenge me in ways I cannot even explain this side of heaven.

    All my love!

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    1. "...and I hope to say that again in three years." YES. I say this all the time! We have to keep growing, or what's the point?

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  4. Honestly, my husband was on the verge of a dream job with a dream income...as in pay off all our bills, live debt free and give much much more!! It was exciting. Needless to say, it went bust with no explanation. Hardest time ever. He is still in his dead end job. But I have learned a lot about contentment and joy in the past three years. God is always faithful!!!

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    1. I mean, you know I really "get" this, right???
      Keep on keeping on, sister.

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  5. Exactly three years ago, our family was in the middle of an 18-month unemployment journey and my firstborn son was graduating from high school and preparing to move onto a college campus 12 hours away. Whew!! How faithful God is and how far we have come. My husband is now happily employed (after 2 tries, but 3 times a charm, right?), my oldest is now a rising senior at SEU and doing well, my two youngest are growing by leaps and bounds (they look like babies in pics from 3 years ago), and I am learning that I can do through HIS strength what feels impossible. Thank you for the prompting to take a look back. It helps to see how far you've come when some days it feels like you're going nowhere.

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  6. That's a pretty funny question actually, because exactly three years ago we were standing on the brink of a move for my husband's graduate education. During the past three years, we have been ripped apart and patched back together and I'm so thankful for the tearing, but in May 2012 I wasn't exactly expecting it. Now we're standing on the brink of another move, to only God knows where, as my husband job hunts. My heart is full of thankfulness for the home that this wonky town has become, but its also longing for a place of stability, a place where we can put down roots and live and love and invest for 10 years or, Lord willing, more. It's odd that looking back those three years, I feel as though we've grown a lifetime. But in some ways we're back to the exact same season. Waiting...

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  7. 3 years ago we lived in California and thought we were just ending the big adventure of our life. I thought I was going back to a dream job in Denmark and that all would be good. Then I prayed to be more dependent on God........ Et voila, no dream job for me on Denmark. Instead we are scrambling along in Michigan (where I have my dream job - very poorly paid though), all our belongings got burned in a fire, we still don't know if get to stay in the US (#immigrationauthorities) and I am often scared shitless but would not switch my life back for anything. Yet I wouldn't mind a bit if God decided to give us a little rest now

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    1. I agree, you seem overdue on some rest! But your outlook has me all heart-eyes over here.
      And on the plus side, Michigan is a pretty amazing place to be in the meantime. ;)

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  8. 3 years ago we lived in California and thought we were just ending the big adventure of our life. I thought I was going back to a dream job in Denmark and that all would be good. Then I prayed to be more dependent on God........ Et voila, no dream job for me on Denmark. Instead we are scrambling along in Michigan (where I have my dream job - very poorly paid though), all our belongings got burned in a fire, we still don't know if get to stay in the US (#immigrationauthorities) and I am often scared shitless but would not switch my life back for anything. Yet I wouldn't mind a bit if God decided to give us a little rest now

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  9. Wow- what an interesting question, and struggle to actually re-build the timeline!
    3 years ago I "think" my son had gone to jail for what would prove to be the final time ( those" events" blend together...)
    I was in the midst of repairing a marriage being torn apart by MY co-dependent behavior
    I began a journey that saw me lose 40 lbs and regain my fitness levels- actually exceeding what they were as an athlete in high school
    I got the courage to leave "our church" that had ostracized us when my son went down the wrong path, and began rebuilding my one on one relationship with God. I have since found a healthy church...but it took a long time.

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    1. SO thankful God led you to a church family that loves you well!

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  10. Oh my. Three years ago I was hugely pregnant with my third child. My husband was commuting 2.5 hours a day and working crazy long hours.

    What was in store (but I had no idea): a new job for my husband, with a five minute commute and reasonable hours (GLORY).
    Another baby.
    A move.
    A brain tumor and brain surgery.

    We have had a lot of highs and lows in three years. Dang. It is crazy to think back on so much of that.

    Thanks for the invitation.

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    1. Congrats on adding to your family...sorry to hear about the brain tumor and surgery..hope all is well now!

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    2. Right? 3 years doesn't sound that long, until you really think of all that happened!

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  11. Three years ago today, our Austin was getting better...looking better...and feeling better. We had hoped that it was a permanent change. We believed it was. Two years ago today, our Austin was getting better...looking better and feeling better...but, the Lord called him HOME only ten days later. He was eighteen. We miss him SO much! But, we are so thankful that He is with the Lord...and, one day, the Lord will call us HOME as well. Hug those children and love on them and enjoy the journey...with all its ups and downs...it is a treasure. All of it. Hugs, Camille

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  12. Wow, did the first sentence of your post speak to me. Yesterday we found out my husband has alzheimers disease. Three years ago we were planning our trip to Paris.
    xo

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  13. What a good question...3 years ago our family of 5 lived in Chicago, but we were getting ready to traverse the globe to a very large South Asian city for mission work thinking that would be our home for the next long chapter. Now we're a family of 6 and we're in rural Michigan (still in full-time ministry, but what?!?). If you would have told me that 3 years ago I would have NEVER believed it. I miss the city. I live in an old farmhouse on acres. We miss that SAsian city, we cry and get nauseous about it all at the same time. So much can happen in 3 years.

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  14. May 21, 2012....Hun and I had been together and forming our family for all of 3 months and 19 days. We had had many of the "hard" conversations and we were still learning pieces of ourselves and each other in our real and final relationship. We were trying for a baby and working opposite shift jobs. We were completely in love, but not fantasizing about love. We were real with each other. I was looking for more permanent and higher paying work in my field - somewhere, anywhere. In some ways I was lost and questioning other decisions I'd made, yet somehow also knew that when it came to Hun and creating our family together, I knew it was right.

    Today, some has changed in small ways, some in bugger way . Hun and I are still happy and in love, yet not under an illusion. We have Baby Boy and I'm growing another in my body. We've moved out of state, for me to work professionally, then I gave that career up to be a SAHM. We also now live in a house. One we're paying mortgage on and somehow were making everything work. I'm still entirely sure about Hun and our life. I'm even more sure today than I was 3 years ago. I'm not lost and I've settled into motherhood and left my previous career behind. I do work at using those skills in other ways. I've also discovered I like crafting and re-discovered learning and connecting with others. Hun and I have learned more about ourselves together and as individuals and we're definitely a team. I'm filled with even more gratitude and joy today than I knew was possible 3 years ago.

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  15. May 21, 2012....Hun and I had been together and forming our family for all of 3 months and 19 days. We had had many of the "hard" conversations and we were still learning pieces of ourselves and each other in our real and final relationship. We were trying for a baby and working opposite shift jobs. We were completely in love, but not fantasizing about love. We were real with each other. I was looking for more permanent and higher paying work in my field - somewhere, anywhere. In some ways I was lost and questioning other decisions I'd made, yet somehow also knew that when it came to Hun and creating our family together, I knew it was right.

    Today, some has changed in small ways, some in bugger way . Hun and I are still happy and in love, yet not under an illusion. We have Baby Boy and I'm growing another in my body. We've moved out of state, for me to work professionally, then I gave that career up to be a SAHM. We also now live in a house. One we're paying mortgage on and somehow were making everything work. I'm still entirely sure about Hun and our life. I'm even more sure today than I was 3 years ago. I'm not lost and I've settled into motherhood and left my previous career behind. I do work at using those skills in other ways. I've also discovered I like crafting and re-discovered learning and connecting with others. Hun and I have learned more about ourselves together and as individuals and we're definitely a team. I'm filled with even more gratitude and joy today than I knew was possible 3 years ago.

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  16. Eeesh...I've been reading your blog for a very long time!! I remember the Betty Draper rental!

    I'm a Hoosier girl transplanted to Zambia. Yes, it has been rough but my goodness, God is MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS. I am learning so much about myself. I wouldn't trade this new life for anything. It's allll good, even the tough times. :)

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  17. We'd just spent a cRaZY couple of days getting ready to welcome a group of college students on a cross cultural trip. We were spending several days at the house in Sta. Rosa and I was determined to finish the new cushion covers for our rattan furniture out there. I don't have the maddest sewing skills but (for some reason) that project went almost without any glitches. Definitely fewer than I normally have while sewing. Ha!
    The students arrived the morning of May 21, 2012. My husband had lined up a lot of activities, both in Sta.Rosa and at home in Carlos Paz, as they were supposed to be learning about all aspects of Argentine life: political, educational, family, religious, and cultural. I was in charge of feeding the hungry hordes.
    This was a three week pause from our construction project. We'd bought property and had put in a foundation for house and garage, started working on the garage as well as doing major renovation on the existing structure on the property so we could move into that while building the house.
    All this was being done in and around our regularly scheduled programming as church planters :)
    We wondered if we were completely out of our minds. There were not enough hours in the day to do our job, supervise the construction guys, and have any time left over for sleeping or eating. Especially since our method of church planting is to build relationships by spending time with people. Lots and lots of time.
    Looking back I do not know how we survived that year. It almost killed us.
    BTW, we are still living in the little 395 square foot renovated casita and doesn't look like the house is ever going to get built. But the foundation forms a nice patio for hanging laundry :)

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  18. I'm contemplating this question from 2 directions, one, the things that impacted me the most, and then what impacted the rest of the family-- especially my husband. 3 years ago, I was under a big dillusion, and it crashed by the end of the summer. Into what would be the 'next chapter' You've given me something to ponder. Truly, perhaps to help my husband, encourage him. Our move 5 years ago was like a plane crash that kept sparking, not unlike what you've described, and since then our family motto is-- "Don't look back, you're not going that way." But the pain has worn off, some, and we're able to be reflective, just a little now. Loss is relative, disappointment relative. And it felt like we'd just 'given away the farm,' and not even received something in exchange. I'll just add this, and contemplate this further, without rambling here-- like scripture says, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Our treasure has changed, what we value has changed. We aren't those people anymore. And we've grown accustomed to loving what we've chosen. We root for the 'home-team'. your blog inspires me all the time, -- I'm thankful for your dislike of 'swine-flesh' tile, and your love of the 'shades of brown', the peony in your neighbors yard. Thanks Shannon. Off to ponder.

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  19. You probably don't want to read this summary. 3 years ago I retired from a job I had held for 30 years. I sold my home, moved from Alaska to Oregon, bought a run down rambler, and spent a year in remodel mode. I found myself, my happiness, my Jesus. Then, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I lost my breasts, my hair, my energy, but through it all, I was blessed and loved and held SO MUCH by a loving God. Cancer burned away everything that was not important. Cancer opened my eyes to focus on what is really precious and good. Cancer was necessary to break my stubborn independence, and allow God to work in me, through me. I am a daughter of an awesome God.

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  20. Oh wow, three years ago today I was trying to figure out why I was so sick all the time. Little did I know within a matter of weeks I'd be going in for surgery that would start the beginning of a nightmare that has nearly killed me a couple times. A simple surgery that doesn't bother most people just about did me in. Even though it's been the roughest three years of my entire life, I wouldn't trade a minute of it for all the lessons I've learned along the way about Him, myself and those who love me most.

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