Being two days away from the New Year can make one retrospective. As the girls and I were walking back from the park yesterday, I started thinking about all that has taken place in our lives over the last five years. I came up with a short list:Any of these things by themselves would test a marriage, and they did. But I think that we've not only survived these tumultuous years, but thrived in them. We love each other more and enjoy being around each other today than we did five years ago. There can only be one bottom line to all of this:
- Quitting work to become a stay-at-home Mom;
- Moving to Trinidad (and all that we learned while there);
- Moving back to the States;
- Deciding to become a writer;
- Selling a house;
- Buying and remodeling a house;
- Moving in and out of 4 houses total;
- Sophia's Cancer Treatment;
- Becoming pregnant for the 3rd time;
- Moving to Italy.
God has carried us through and all that has happened has been for the best.
It would be insanity to guess what is in store. When we got married nearly 11 years ago, I could have predicted absolutely none of these events would take place. I have learned that is part of the adventure with God - you just never know what you are going to get when you choose to stay on His path. But I still wonder what our purpose here in Italy is. I haven't got an inclination as to why we were sent here, other than the obvious career move for Dave.
These are the thoughts I come back to when I think of why we are here:
- To teach us more dependency on Christ?
- To pull us away from the maddening crush of life in the States?
- To learn how to approach life from a more peaceful, calmer perspective?
- To grow even closer as a family?
- To reward us for our faithfulness during our time of trial?
Like I must wait for this baby to be ready to be born, I must wait on the Lord to complete the preparation He is doing before He reveals the purpose.
There is one thing the last five years has taught me - I can trust Him with our future. He definitely has a lot more rough edges to smooth out and I hope He will be as gentle as possible about that. Our struggles were not just about "getting through." They were about learning peace and joy are available in all circumstances, not just during the easy times. It is becoming more and more natural to have Jesus as a partner in all the experiences of life (to paraphrase Gloria Gaither) and that's where I want to be.
Some days are better than others. Some days I have more faith and strength. Some days I handle the stress of this world badly. But I have been given the power, through the Holy Spirit, to try again the next day.
So, no matter what comes in 2013 and beyond, I know that I am safe. I know my husband is safe. I know my children are safe. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!*