It's been a rough couple of years.
Marital issues. Major challenges with one of my children. Losing my Dad earlier this year, then losing my Mom exactly three weeks later.
And so on and so on.
But God's grace is truly sufficient, and I am still here. I'm still standing. And I'm believing that He will make me better on the other side of all this.
I'm believing that I'll be testifying like Job one day...
But I ain't quite there y'all.
So... while laying here in this spiritual cocoon, I made a decision to keep my mouth shut until I could share something with at least a drop of hope and joy.
I've barely visited my social media sites. And I haven't written very much. I'm still doing my freelance writing, but that's relatively easy. When I'm creating an e-newsletter for a nonprofit or writing copy for someone else, it's not personal. I can keep my distance. No one has to know what's going on with me. No one cares what's going on in my heart.
I can highlight the lives and accomplishments of others. I can remain anonymous. I can talk a lot, yet be silent.
So much easier than what I'm doing right now. Being real. Authentic. Imperfect.
So during my moment of silence.. or days... or months, my husband Anthony told me he believed God was calling us to relocate back to Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin -- a sweet southern town where we lived for almost a decade before our time in Arkansas.
I was excited about the thought. I love Franklin. It was home for many years, and the place I've always considered a second home. An added bonus -- we have great friends there.
And yet, I was also a little sad. I'd kinda hoped God might send us back to the East Coast. Back to the DMV -- DC/Maryland/Virginia -- the place that I consider my first home. After losing my parents, I'd hoped to move closer to my sisters and have my children grow up near extended family.
But... after I thought of all that moving to Franklin could be for my family, I got excited. Anthony and I began making plans, scouring Zillow for homes and searching job boards. More than anything, we prayed.
And God began to give some direction. Anthony began raising support for a nonprofit ministry that would be a great fit for him. I sent resumes in for communications jobs where I thought I'd be a great fit.
We also sold our house. We had nothing holding us back.
But apparently God had another plan. We'd originally set our move date in August.
Here it is the middle of October.
We have reevaluated, regrouped and reconsidered. We've prayed and questioned and fussed... And we're still here in Conway, Arkansas. In our little comfy two-bedroom exec apartment.
We've answered countless questions. "Aren't you guys moving?"
We've seen the puzzled looks on others' faces. They are still here?
Trust me. We're as confused as everyone else.
And yet there are so many bright spots...
We haven't had to abruptly say goodbye to the sweet people we've known here. We live very close to our old neighborhood, so our children still have playdates with their friends. Our kids are in the same schools. The apartment is small, but has kept us closer together. My children are learning to share and sacrifice more. I have much less "house" to clean, which is awesome. Life feels carefree.
Less really is more.
Also, while still believing things are brewing in Tennessee for us, God continues to open doors here in Arkansas. Just this week, I was blessed with an opportunity to serve an amazing nonprofit here until we move. Anthony continues to teach at a local ministry and help facilitate diversity workshops for a friend's consulting firm.
I'd thought our work here was done, but God had another plan. Echoing in the cocoon of my life, I can hear His voice reminding me...
I hear You, Lord. I hear you.
* Job 23:10
** Isaiah 55:8