Hello, friends. I wrote something about a week and a half ago that I was too chicken to publish. Because, well, fear. Because vulnerability is scary. But I've decided that some things are worth being vulnerable about, and fear is not going to have the last word in my life.
Apparently, today was the day. I don't know why my wacky psyche chose today, but it did, and so here I am, furiously trying to process all the thoughts and feelings of these past two and half years. My eyes are stinging from the mascara I was too tired to wash off last night, and my kids are wreaking havoc on the living room as I sit here, paralyzed. This is the ugly, finally erupting from its buried place in my heart.
Maybe it was the mess of boxes that were strewn across the garage (that I've arranged neatly four hundred times this past year). Maybe it was the mattress on the floor, the toys EVEYWHERE, the rooms that feel so utterly full of our endless stuff but so thoroughly not ours.
I’m not sure what exactly was the last straw, but this camel's back is officially broken.
I see the mercy of God in the fact that I'm just now feeling the powerful weight of all these emotions now, when I'm nearing the end of our transition journey. I know it's God's grace that I didn't know what a toll all the change and unsettledness had taken.
But now, suddenly, I do. I want to be home. I want to be settled. I want to have a tiny corner of the world that is ours. I want a life that I feel is truly the right one for me.
And then comes the wave of guilt. (I don't know if I've ever met someone so selfish as myself.) Think about the millions of refugees--families, just like us--who are in transition under horrific circumstances, and without a home today. God help them. Their plight is trauma on top of heartbreak on top of an unending chain of unknowns. Their sense of home and the life they knew was brutally ripped from them. As I look at the cozy little mattress my daughter's been sleeping on (and thoroughly enjoying), I think about the mommas who have no idea where they and their babies will be sleeping tonight. As I listen to my daughters play in the next room, I think of the mommas who have nowhere to go when they feel bone tired and in need of 2 hot seconds of solitude. They've experienced trauma beyond anything I could imagine, and they have no closed doors behind which to break down in tears. They don't have a room, or even a house to call their own, to cry in private.
I think of Abraham, who traveled with his family and possessions for YEARS, and waited for years before he saw God's promise to him fulfilled. I think of the Israelites, wandering for over 40 years, living in tents, and unable to settle in their home. I think of Jesus, who "didn't have a place to lay his head." Yes, we've been in transition for the past two and a half years, but that's nothing. I mean well and truly NOTHING.
And you know what's great about transition? Your true north, your stability, is not in your home. It's not in your job, your community, or even your friends. It absolutely must be in God. When God is the only constant, he becomes everything.
So today, I will pick myself up off my carpeted floor, walk down my hallway, hug my babies, and be thankful. In the midst of frustration and emotional weariness I'm overcome with gratitude for my healthy family, my safety, the ample houses I've lived in these past years, the cars we've driven, the toys my kids are playing with, and the food we've eaten. I'm really quite spoiled. And I'll be doubly grateful for these years when God really became everything, in a greater way than ever before.
When all securities are stripped away, what do I have? Everything I need, it turns out. May I never forget.
It turns out that the whole "use your feelings to make some beautiful" thing has really been convicting me lately. After I wrote this I realized that God might be able to use this in a truly TANGIBLE way for some of the beautiful people who find themselves as refugees today. My church (which I am SO thankful for, by the way) is sending 50 people to Sicily this summer to be feet on the ground, offering hands of tangible hope, love, and welcome to refugees. I have cried real tears of thankfulness just thinking about that. I can't believe I get to be part of a family who has the audacious hope to see this crisis as the opportunity it is: the opportunity to love.
But it turns out sending 50 people and providing real help costs real money, so that's where this is going. Our whole church has been given $5 with no strings attached. But we've all been challenged to grow it as far as we can so that we can meet needs and send people as we partner with Engage the Crisis this summer. We need the help and partnership of as many people as possible, so that we can be a blessing during a time of need for our (soon-to-be) friends across the ocean.
Now, luckily, I happen to have an INSANELY talented sister-in-law who can do all things artsy and creative. Her specialty is photography (check her out on Facebook: Hope Renae Photography!!) but she is an incredible painter, illustrator, and hand-letterer. (**Also, I love her so much my heart could burst. I wish you all could know her.) She was kind enough to create a BEAUTIFUL printable for us, so that as we send help and people to those currently without homes, we can look at this sign in our home and remember to pray. I am bursting at the seams about this. For real.
Here's the gorgeous image you can hang in your house, available in a few different colors, and one black & white option:
Note: These images are meant to be printed on a standard 8.5" x 11" size.
Ok, so here's how this will work. I'm asking you to join me by doing these things:
1.) Go to https://waypointomaha.givingfire.com, and in the "fund" dropdown menu, choose "Engage the Crisis: Grow 5". We are going to join together to give more than any of us could alone, and turn our feelings into something beautiful. I pray that as we give, our love follows our dollars and that we carry these precious people on our hearts. So because we are doing this together, any amount helps, and I do mean ANY.
2.) Leave a comment on this post saying "I will engage the crisis!" When you give your email in order to leave the comment, it won't be shown to others, just to me, so that I can email you a pdf copy of the printable! You can specify which color you would like by saying B&W, blue, burgundy, orange, green, or multicolored.
3.) Share this post like crazy so that we can gather as much help as possible!
4.) When you hang this in your home, remember to pray for the thousands of people who will be affected by our collective love.
God bless us all, and our home sweet homes, and God bless all those who have had to flee theirs.