Last week I wrote about how much transition sucks. Many people responded to encourage us, including a personal trainer in Florida. She’s currently working with a guy who is particularly out of shape. So they came up with a mantra to help keep him going: Each week it sucks a little less.
Sounds about right.
We’ve now been transitioning to life back in the States for a little over a month. That includes five Sundays at potential churches, four weeks in new schools, three layers of blankets keeping us warm at night, two job interviews, and one closing on our next home.
And each week it sucks a little less.
No really. It does.
Like all seasons, there are stages to go through before moving on. Now that we’re almost six weeks in, I can feel the fog beginning to fade. We’re still cranky and confused and frustrated a lot. And many days it feels like you take a few steps forward, only to then take another one back. But there’s a sense of permanency to this new normal.
So at this point, I’ve decided the best course of action is to hunker down in the first chapter of James and count it all joy (mud and all). This involves finding the beauty in the ashes (even if it means looking for it again day after day), standing firm in our faith, and sharing about what God is doing to make us perfect and complete in Him.
No matter the trial, there is always a reason to smile. My husband and I were just talking about how every time we turn around someone is acting out the love of Christ, to be His hands and feet when we need it. Over the past week, for example, God moved mountains so we could buy a house here in South Carolina. Then He brought about 30 people together—most of whom we had never met—to help us start the renovation of the house (it’s been empty for the same length of time we were in Nicaragua).
People showed up with all sorts of needed tools and supplies, plus some totally legit skills and experience. For example, my girls were laboriously ripping up carpet staples with pliers, when a woman walks in with this amazing tool to remove a whole bunch of staples in one swift motion!
Another friend who lives far bought pizza for everyone! We were all so touched by her ability to serve, even though she couldn’t be at the house with us.
The Church body stepped us to save us countless hours and dollars, and to be a physical expression of love. We are so grateful!
Yet… I think we are called to offer thanks, not just for the kindness of others amidst our struggles, but for the very struggles themselves! Count it all joy… even (especially?) the trial.
Two weeks after we moved back to the States, the wife of the missionary couple we left in charge of the adoption care ministry found a lump in her breast. Two weeks. I had quite a few “discussions” with God about that timing. Had she found the cancer a month earlier, I would never have gotten on the plane. I want to be there, to serve her and to help with the ministry.
But even as I question the timing, I know the answer. It wasn’t for me to take care of. God’s got this. He doesn’t need me and my fix-it-self in Nicaragua right now. My friend is doing awesome. She sailed through the surgery and is recovering quickly. Sure, the ministry isn’t fully funded (which means she doesn’t quite know if her living expenses will be paid each month), she has cancer, and is living in a developing country (far from family and friends back home). But she is finding a way to see the beauty, keep the faith, and grow as a result.
And so we come full circle. We’re each in the midst of just another (sucky) transition.
“Count it all joy,” He says.
OK. If you say so… And part of the joy is that each week it sucks a little less. 🙂