I’m squished in the back of our sweet little Corolla, with not nearly enough elbow room to type. It’s 10:27pm on Tuesday night and that I THINK that all four children, split up between two cars have finally fallen asleep. The past few days have all been those sorts of days where at the end of the night, when you think back to the first thing you did that morning, you’re certain that was actually four days ago. This morning feels like four days ago. Yesterday morning feels like eight days ago, Sunday morning may as well have been 2011.
The past few days have been just chock-full of the gospel being played out. The minutes have ticked by in this weighty and yet sweetly floating sense. You know, we’ve moved a lot, transitioned a lot, and we’ve almost always done it quickly. So I’m getting more and more used to these chunks of time that are thin. I read an author once who describe “thin places”, where the space between eternity and earth is so small and almost transparent and things just look different. Just happen different.
And I could write pages about all of them. I could write pages about our prayer time with our community group last Wednesday. A new Indiana friend had given me some precious encouragement about waiting and hearing something the Lord might have to say to us in this transition and I feel like He used that prayer time with that group of people to speak some sweet things. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were filled with laughter, prayer, worship, tears, talks, and rest with our family. We just totally abandoned the massive amount of packing we had to do and enjoyed them.
Sunday we said goodbye to Riverside and that night, Riverside (and some other friends) showed up and gave us the greatest gift in the world. They basically packed our entire house. I sat in my room and maybe felt truly, truly overwhelmed for the first time in this entire move. So I sat in my room and joked with the people who rotated in and out while other brothers & sisters in Christ packed my dishes and my books and my kids toys.
Monday was a whirlwind. I went walking and praying early with Ellen. A few tears on the way home. Elias and Nick had the mosy joyous and curious and amazing time talking and praying that morning, but I feel like that’s Elias’ story to tell. But it was a gift beyond words. Laura dropped by. A few more tears. Ruby & Nonny and the boys arrived. The Gospel Community guys pulled in. Hugs and fun and talking. (ps – have I mentioned that I’m still overwhelmingly thankful for these guys. If you’re praying about moving to be a part of a church and the pastor, his son, and two interns want to drive 12 hours to come move you, then 12 hours back – you must be dealing with gospel community) Packing. Packing. Packing. Megan and Piper visit! Packing. Packing. Dinner with lots of kids and lots of people and a quick bye hug with my mom and sister.
And then I was home alone, the boys were all still out, and the kids were in bed. And I sat on the couch and looked at the bare walls and the no furniture and the desolate nature of that house and I couldn’t help but feel like I had been transported back to a little over a year ago when we moved in. Broken. Scared. Bare. Vulnerable. Lonely.
And now we’re leaving. Having met the Healer in all new ways. Full of a faithful peace that can only be from Him. Having received more than we could ask or imagine. Protected by Him. Protected by a body of believers sending us and a body of believers receiving us. Loved by Him and His body.
And then my girls came. And the tears started. And woosh, they didn’t stop. I cried myself to sleep and the whole time, I just begged the Lord for what – I don’t know. Maybe just that He’d make me a big girl, big enough for the tasks He’s called us to. He’s given me a love for this thing called gospel community, this loving one another till you’re bleeding out His blood and seeing one another covered in it. And doing life together and actually wanting His best for one another. And He’s given it all over. Charlotte. Seattle. Columbia. And I know He’ll continue to do it. I just needed Him to patch up the little hurt places in my heart to be ready to go at it again.
And then it was Tuesday. Elias’ FIFTH BIRTHDAY! And there have been fun stops along the way and a pervading smell of poop in this car and too much diet coke and too much coffee, and a growing sense of joy and anticipation as we drive.
And all that is just to say – it’s not so tidy in this heart. It’s not all fist forward in the sky, charging fearlessly into the unknown for the sake of the gospel. There are nights facedown on the mattress because the bed is already packed in the trailer saying, “Lord: is this good news real? Help me decide in my heart once more that it is so that I can remember it’s worth going anyway, leaving all the family and friends in the world for. Comfort my heart with your good news.” And He does.
And it is good news.