“Can I just tell you that your pictures radiate happiness? I get the feeling that it is an accurate portrayal.”
I received this from a dear and sweet friend just yesterday, and I quickly responded that she is correct. We are happy in a million ways. But also that really is only half the story because nothing is ever only roses or thorns.
I have been quiet about the hard places in my life since our move, broadcasting all the ways moving back home is a gift, a truly extravagant gift. And it is. It has been, in some ways, like taking a tranquilizer – restful and without worry. Most things feel more doable, less overwhelming because my people are here. The people who already know my flaws and love me anyway. The people who love my kids like I do. The places that built the foundation of my story. That is a grounding, good thing, friends. Adelle rides her bike to my parents’ house at least once a week just to bake cookies or visit for an hour. Josh’s parents drop in for spontaneous visits. We do real and true life with my sister and her family. We get to see Josh’s siblings far more often than we ever have before. When we go to church or to the store or to the bakery, we see people with whom we share genetics and history and unconditional love – and aside from Jesus there is little that is more comforting and restful and grounding.
And also this move has been hard, too. We ache for Colorado almost daily. We miss the mountains, our church, our friends, and our neighborhood. We miss Jack’s, daily walks to the bus stop, snow in the winter, and hammocks in the summer. I miss Ralston Creek Trail with everything inside of me. I miss Jill and Jennifer and Abby and Laurel and a million others. I miss walking through the doors at Storyline, exchanging “Hellos” and weekly updates among a church family that God allowed us to help build with our time and hands and prayers and tears. We had built a home and a life there that we loved very much. My oldest has struggled mightly to find her place. We have all struggled with insecurities and unsurety about where exactly we fit as new people, molded and changed by different cultures and places, back in a place that is largely the same as when we left. Just as wonderful and warm as ever – but different because we are different.
I knew this would be the case, of course. I didn’t expect to arrive home and have all my struggles and fears and doubts and insecurities be healed. This is not the way of God – to heal us with circumstances. I tell it to my single friends and those aching for a baby – and I tell it to myself. God heals us when we draw near to Him for healing.
Just today I was reading the story in Mark 1 about the man with leprosy who approached Jesus and said, “If you are willing, heal me.” And it says that Jesus felt great compassion toward the man and said, “I am willing.” And He healed him.
Friends, we are all broken to pieces in a million ways – and I want you to know that while moving to my hometown has been good and wonderful in a million ways, too, it hasn’t stitched up all my broken places. In fact, some pieces have split wider since arriving, and for that I am grateful because when I become aware of those broken places, I know I can run straight to the One who is willing and able to stitch me up whole again.
Circumstances will not make you whole. Only Jesus will. Are you running to him with all your yucky today?