You know how you go into things thinking you don’t have any preconceived notions, but then life happens and you catch yourself thinking, “Wait, that didn’t turn out like I planned,” and all of a sudden you realize how very preconceived notion-bound you’ve actually been? Yeah…that’s been the last 12 months for me. Which is why I disappeared from the blogosphere, why I spent many, many hours overwhelmed and crying, and why I’m so very glad for the changing of the seasons. Let me give you some of the highlights (or lowlights, depending on how you look at it).
Exactly one year ago, on a rainy afternoon, Lechuga and I pulled into Wasilla, Alaska, our new hometown. And right from that very moment, things did not happen as we thought they would. If you recall from an earlier post, the plan was for her to get an apartment, where I would stay until my boys got here. Instead, we spent all our money on 2 weeks in a cabin, and then we moved in with a total stranger for a month. That was July through most of August.
At the end of August, we finally moved into a rental, where we waited 3 more weeks for our stuff to be shipped across the continent. And that rental — let me tell you about that. It was a nice, fairly new house. With a stupid, stupid layout. In which you could hear virtually everything everyone else did from every room. I’m not even kidding. That home was never comfortable for any of us, and I know that was by design because the Lord told me it was a picture of what he was doing in our lives. He wanted us transparent with each other, out of our comfort zones, and he wanted to expose things that needed to be dealt with. (Later in the year, he told me this was a year of establishment, so the ordeal in this house finally made sense — often, you have to tear down old to establish new. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)
September: M started his new school and got really lazy. All of a sudden, he couldn’t remember to do his chores or homework, or even that he HAD chores and homework. In retrospect, he was going through his own adjustment period, as well as picking up on the tensions in the house and not knowing how to handle them. I couldn’t find a job.
October, November, December: More of the same. Both Lechuga and J were facing (or avoiding, in some cases) their own issues, and there were times I felt like I had 3 children instead of 1. There were also times I didn’t come out of my room for 2 or 3 days on end because I couldn’t deal with another minute of it all. I spent much time on my face, seeking God, seeking wisdom. And God had told me he wasn’t going to talk to me like he normally did for a period of time because he wanted me to learn to hear/see/experience him in new ways. I, who am perfectly content not to exchange a word with another human for days on end, have never felt so very alone. I still couldn’t find a job. On the plus side, no job meant I could go aurora-chasing all night long whenever I wanted — and I did much of that.
January: One morning, I awoke to the words, “I want a divorce.” (Note: I have full permission from the hubby to share everything in this post.) My husband, whom I love tremendously and look at as one of the greatest gifts in my life, was going through a very dark time of confusion. In the 10 years we’d been married by this point, there were a few deeeeeep issues that he just didn’t want to see, and God put him on the spot in this house. And it got horrible. You know how a wound festers and hurts the most right before it busts open and begins to heal? That was my marriage. But I dug my heels in and said, “No, I won’t agree to that,” and God gave me wisdom. I never, ever want to go through anything like the following 3 months again, but I will say that when the tide finally turned, it was beautiful and recognizable. I still couldn’t find a job.
February, March: These were the months where I learned to choose love when faced with an onslaught of bile, indifference, sarcasm, dishonor, and all the other ugliness that comes from not knowing who you truly are. But the Lord told me he had an anniversary gift for me, and right around the 12th of March, J began to get his breakthrough. All the yuck was finally torn down, and establishing of the new began. It was a slow process, and even now is still going on, but there has been measurable progress, and that brings incredible healing. In February, I had a job interview and then a second one with the State of Alaska.
April: After a THIRD interview, I finally got the job. But two days before I was to start, I had some kind of weird allergic reaction, and my face puffed up and turned red like I had sun poisoning, and my skin got flaky and gross and rashy and ITCHY all over…and I had to start the job looking like that. I’m still not happy about that, and I’m still dealing with the rash, although the swelling went down after 3 weeks or so. I’m headed to a naturopath next week because I’ve exhausted my knowledge for figuring out what’s going on. I did a candida cleanse, put myself on a low-histamine diet for a month, took Allegra, slathered myself repeatedly with shea butter/coconut oil/essential oils, drank gallons of bone broth and ate copious amounts of gelatin gummies, and tried to alleviate as much stress as possible (ha!). I’m out of ideas.
May: My birthday and Mother’s Day came about, and the beginning of more family time, as people’s priorities began to realign. The woman who took us into her home when we move up here passed away.
June: And the establishing continues. We bought a house! There’s a great story to be told, but this post is already over 1000 words long, so I’ll tell it in another one. At any rate, the house is perfect for us, and I smile when I think how the Lord put it here 5 years ago, knowing we’d move up and fall in love with it. 🙂 Kudos to J for finding it, by the way. I would never have even looked at it if he hadn’t expressed interest, and the moral of that little tidbit is that it’s easy to miss a blessing if you don’t look for it.
July: It’s our housemate’s turn to come face to face with stuff that needs to go. And because I didn’t get permission from her to share, I’m not going to say much, except that things are a little awkward right now, but it’s a necessary part of the process, and this, too, shall pass… M told me Alaska feels like home now. And J told me, just two days ago, “Come hell or high water, I’m in this with you.” He has never said such a thing to me before, and I felt something significant shift and click into place when he uttered those words. Moreover, I believe him: we ARE in this together.
So regarding those preconceived notions I had? Since it was such a BIG move, a BIG life change, I guess I thought we were going to get here and immediately start doing BIG things for God — big, GLORIOUS things. The reality is that it’s been a very, VERY difficult year, and you can’t begin to imagine how happy I am to have it behind me. I will state for the record that I still wake up every morning profoundly grateful to be here. I still ooh and ahh over the mountains that ring 3 sides of this valley, for they look different and ever more beautiful each day. I still dream and hope and offer myself for this lovely state and her people. I still call this little town home. And I’m glad to be established. 🙂