I am extremely emotional writing this post today. Words can't convey the last year of our lives. If I tried to scrounge up a few they would be hard, painful & growing.
One year ago today we got on a boat, heading to Moosonee for the last time as residents of Moose Factory Island. Our beloved Moose Factory. One year has gone, and I have yet to fully process this. I haven't had a chance really. We boarded the train for the last time, drove to Philadelphia, and hit the ground running. New job for Josh, new baby, new city for me. A totally different life than we had been leading for 4.5 years.
At the University I attended, Lee University, we were required to study abroad, which I think is fantastic. Along with that, they require re-entry courses for going into a different culture, living there, and returning home. I'm grateful for that little bit of knowledge and understanding that there are REAL & TRUE consequences to leaving what you know, living in a different culture, and returning to what you once knew.
The Lord called us back to the States, and of that we are sure. With that comes a level of peace which I am so grateful for. Though peace is the foundation of this past year, there have been hardships. Loneliness is a factor as well, because few have walked this path, so simply cannot understand.
Of course there were the obvious hardships that I expected like having anxiety driving for the first 6 months back, the pace of life being eons faster in Philadelphia, and our beloved family time being cut by an 1/8 at least. But there was more to these obvious things that we didn't consider, like, faster pace & busier life means less time to spend in the Word, watching sermons, etc. Less time as a family means less time to build one another up causing a heaviness and stress I didn't anticipate.
We had such worth in Moose Factory. We were able to use our gifts on a daily basis. Josh, in Pastoring, in caring for the flock, studying the Word to teach, caring for people in the Community. Me, in leading the slow paced homemaking life that I had always dreamed of, in having countless women over for coffee & the Word, in pouring into new believers and leading by example. Our kitchen table was a Holy place with good food and conversation and changed hearts. We struggled and sometimes missed the many conveniences of back home, but we were so fulfilled day in and day out.
This new season (season is my favorite word right now, oh Lord, let it be a season), Josh works long days, I mother all day, and sleep little at night. We re-center often and look for the grace in our lives and tell each other that GRATITUDE must abound, but we struggle still. I'm learning gratitude & struggle can coexist. I'm grateful to tears many days, just yesterday I was holding Caleb and my eyes filled with tears at the gratitude I feel to be his and Lenna's mommy, there's no greater joy. That is true and real, but the heaviness & spiritual battle are as well.
We felt freedom in Moose Factory that I'm understanding many don't feel. To be able to put what's most important to you first each day. Time with the Lord, family, homemaking, hospitality. It was FREEDOM. I long for that freedom again. What I miss most in this season is that freedom I felt. I know being a mother to small children definitely has a role to play in not feeling free, but there's something deeper there that I've been wrestling through with the Lord.
He clearly saw many things in us that He needed to chasten, and oh, am I thankful. I know His ways are the best, and I can fully say that through this hard season, if it's the Lord's will to better us in this way, then so be it. Joshua & I are both feel like we are gasping for breath as the Lord is molding us into a vessel that will bring more honor and glory to Him. This season has been hard, but we will look back at it and see BEAUTY, I fully believe that.
So there's no pretty bow tied ending to this. There's no conclusion. There's certainly no self pity (please know that). We will continue to fight the good fight. We will seek the Lord in this season, we will cry through the pain, and we will be bettered. We will work to use our giftings in the different ways that the Lord makes available and shows us. We will serve Him in ways that maybe don't fit into our pretty little picture, but that He sees fit.
In this entire year, writing this has been the most at one time that I have sat down and processed this. Sitting here I have thought about Ecclesiastes chapter 3 for the first time this year, and wow, there's comfort there.