I granted myself a hiatus from writing over the summer with the aim to pick up with it again once autumn arrived. In looking at the calendar, I may have missed my cue. However, we’ve been in the 80s until a few days ago (and still in the 90s just a week prior to that), so my seasonal awareness has been just a little off. Grace granted.
I’m not going to lie, this summer was a doozie! There were times when this house of ours almost made it back on the market. If you read the “Why We Moved” series, you already know that the security of our comfort zone is very important to both the Mister and myself, so I was actually a little impressed with how we handled the first six months in the South.
Then came summer.
The heat and humidity lasted an entire half-a-year… not something I look forward to doing on a regular basis, so thankfully we’ve been told this summer was more intense than usual. But the critters who will likely be gracing us with their presence every year, they almost did me in.
First, it was the house centipede. If you aren’t familiar with these disgusting creatures, look it up (this piece does an excellent job of summarizing just how creepy they are). They are harmless – good actually – but frightening nonetheless! There was only ever one in the house, but it was enough to ensure I didn’t walk around barefoot or in the dark for several weeks. As I slowly grew more familiar with those, a sense of safety began returning to our home again. It was then that I was introduced to the southeastern five-lined skink(s) who made his dwelling place underneath our deck. I never really got comfortable with him, but apparently he did with me because he migrated from under the deck, to on the side of our house, to on our deck as a regular visitor, and finally inside our home. Then came the 3-or-likely-even-4 ft southeast king snake that my brave husband took care of all by himself because I wasn’t about to go anywhere near it. About that same time the cicadas took over the woods. That special variety that only come out once every decade and a half and apparently feel the need to make up for lost time by singing… so loudly that we couldn’t even hear ourselves speaking outside for all of 90 evenings.
In case it isn’t obvious, I detest creepy critters. Even growing up on a farm, I’ve always been a little skiddish around them. I don’t mind so much when they are out and away from the house, but all up in my personal space, and cramping my style – no thank you! We’ve cleared out a lot of the landscaping right up against the house, which helped some, even if just because it permitted me to see what was or wasn’t there, rather than allowing my imagination to run wild. I believe, though, that more to credit for getting me through those seemingly never-ending months was knowing that we are exactly where God wants us to be.
Without a doubt.
Today mark one year since I was in one vehicle, my husband and our pup in the other, as we journeyed across six states, hauling everything we needed to live for a few days along with the valuables, electronics and cleaning supplies that couldn’t be transported on the moving truck. It still feels like a crazy dream. I still have a hard time believing we live here, and an even greater difficultly accepting that our loved ones aren’t just a few moments away.
Anniversaries are always a great opportunity to pause and reflect. This particular anniversary came with a healthy dose of grief. I was caught a little off guard, actually, with how sad it made me to think back on this day a year ago. The memory of leaving behind our former life and hugging our loved ones goodbye as we ventured out on our own is a painful one. But this morning, as the Mister and I were wandering around the grocery store, picking up way too much food for a Thanksgiving feast for two, my heart was overcome with something else… gratitude.
In less than a year of being here, there is so much to be thankful for! Relationships that we’ve built, a church family that we are growing closer to every day, quality time with out-of-state visitors who traveled just to see us, tremendous growth both personally and in our relationship as husband and wife, opportunities for our business that align with our hearts for serving marriage, a home that inspires us creatively and provides a calm resting place, a beautiful environment we appreciate daily (yes, even in spite of the critters)… a story that continues to form as a testament to the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness through His calling for these two ordinary people.
Sometimes I find it is easier to talk about the difficulties than to proclaim blessings. I guess it feels a bit like bragging to talk about the good things too much. And yet, even as that thought becomes a dance of my fingers across the keyboard, I am reminded of the words of a beloved hymn…
I will not boast in anything, no gifts no power no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection.
It is pretty perfect that the anniversary of the most bittersweet time in our life thus far coincides with a season of giving thanks. Maybe it doesn’t look like the house full of loved ones it once did – this Thanksgiving, we’re setting our table for two. And yet even so, we are reminded of the importance of gratitude. Not just as a list of the things we’re thankful for, but as a condition of the heart because of what He has done for us.