Drought. Busy-ness. Routines started and dropped. A general inability to put words into sentences into coherent thoughts that someone might actually want to read. That’s been the last several months of my life.
But now I’m looking towards a new chapter. One where the hectic pace is a touch calmer, where streams flow through the desert, and where I put words together again. One where I have time for play with my kids. One that includes a semi-retirement for my spouse…which means he’s working a sixty hour work week instead of an eighty hour work week. One where park days, movie nights and snuggle time is a part of the routine. One in which I remember:
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
As a family of five, trips and vacations have been a challenge for us. Financially, even cheap activities add up for us. Working out available vacation time for hubby’s two jobs always seemed to run into a snafu. But this year, I determined no more excuses. No more living in Florida and not availing ourselves to the many wonderful vacation spots that the world comes to and are only hours away.
It took a bit of convincing. I had my heart set on Busch Gardens. As we are not Disney die-hard fans, and have seen Sea World several times for a homeschooling field trip, I felt it was the way to go. My girlie loves roller coasters while my boys still hate them, so I needed a good variety of things to do. Busch Gardens has a unique mix of playgrounds, small carnival like rides, shows, and a sprawling full park zoo amongst some thrilling coasters. It’s also only two hours away. Close enough for even an afternoon trip. But even with the reasonable all year pass ticket prices, when you multiply by five, that sticker shock is enough to require many husband and wife late night conversations!
In the end, we agreed. And yesterday, we sprung early Christmas on my unsuspecting children. With an early wake up call, to a litany of “are we going to….”, we managed to keep our own big mouths shut until we turned on to the Busch Gardens road. Once the squeals died down, we started them back up again when we said we could come all year. It was one of those pat yourself on the back moments until Jake said “Is Legoland in here too”?
Because kids were still in school and it was a freezing day by Florida standards, we had no wait times on rides or for food. In fact, a more wonderful first experience could not have been had!
Over the years I’ve watched a few DIY home improvement shows. I’ve laughed as the one project morphs into this nine month, six project, ten thousand dollar over budget extravaganza. And now…the laughs on me.
Because, apparently, home improvement projects snow ball. You start with a child’s move to a new room. In moving said child, you uncover some of the horrors of homeownership. Moldy carpets and a wall that most likely needs gutting and repair. But then you find those external factors causing said moldiness and know well, that needs repair too. So then, you double-check other rooms. Find out that another room is affected from said moldy yuk and will need new carpet and wall repair. And well, shoot, if you’ve got two rooms that need this then you should go ahead and claim it on insurance. And if insurance is going to cover that then shouldn’t you use your refinance money to finish new floors through-out the home? Well, if you do that, and your refinancing anyway, and your still way under your refi budget, shouldn’t you put in new counter tops? New or newly painted cabinets? A new sink?
If you give a mouse a cookie….
Yep. I get it now. I get how one thing turns into this giant snow ball rushing to bowl you over. And do we have to do all this? No. And maybe we won’t. But if the bank isn’t going to let us put some of our refi money into consolidating debt, then our requested amount gets significantly lower. And since it costs 5K in closing costs anyway, shouldn’t we do the most we can within our budget? Aren’t there any directions for these kinds of things??? I guess not, since HGTV wouldn’t be making their big money on home improvement shows where everyone succumbs to this type of snow ball effect.
Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:16-19 ESV)
So…this is where I find myself. Life has been a wilderness for me lately. My heart has been a desert. I’m still waist deep in unpacking so many things from this past year of homeschooling trials, family health crisis, and the loss of close friends. I’m also walking into the wilderness of a new church home, the sorrow of leaving one that was/is loved but needing something different in its expression for my family. For myself. Because sometimes you have a different path to walk. Not negating the truths of scripture, not denying what has been, but realizing that God can do a new thing.
It’s been really hard. My heart has been hard for a long time. This year, with so much bottled up because I just didn’t know how to say it/write it/feel it…I’ve just not had much of a place to wade through so much change. In the past year, I have grieved over Isaac’s dyslexic/dysgraphic disabilities. I’ve fought diligently and often times, blindly, to re-build his confidence and bring him to a point where reading can and does happen. I’ve grieved/panicked/prayed/begged/praised God during my brother’s sudden tumor shock and subsequent surgery and remission. I’ve looked on with sorrow as a dear friend left town and another just…left. And in looking at the subsequent landscape of life and heart…it’s safe to say I feel like I cannot rise, that I am extinguished and quenched. But I anxiously hope for the One who does a new thing.
With a new school year beginning, a new church to explore, and, please, Lord willing…new friends, fresh faith, a soft heart and a greater love of those lost around me, I’m trusting Him with my path. I feel like I’ve disappointed a thousand people. I don’t want to feel that guilt anymore. I’m tired of trying to please so many people. I’ve worked in vain to be someone I’m not. So I’m hoping to set my eyes on Him, to learn who I am in Him again. To learn and walk and understand this new path and rejoice in Him who has set me upon it.