Life. Has. Changed. [the closing of a chapter]

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(written in March 2014)

Well, it sure has been a while since I pumped out a blog. There are a number of reasons for this, the first being that I have simply had no idea what to write about. I have a few beginnings written, as well as one entire entry, but they just haven’t been right. Secondly, I haven’t been inspired. With the non-ending snow, short days, early to bed evenings, as well as being extremely overwhelmed with life, I have had no motivation to sit down and do what I know brings me immense joy and helps me process; namely, writing.

I am going to move on from the excuses that I have been feeding to myself over the past few months. I now choose to press the pause button in life for a few moments. I will pray, breathe deeply, and allow God to guide my fingers on these keys as I process what in the world has been going on in my crazy life.

We are packing up our home right now. Needing to save some money, my sweet husband and I have been on the apartment search for a few months. We found one we adored, but after we placed our deposit, the resident decided not to move out. Instead of pounding on their door and letting them know what we thought about their decision, we decided to move on with our search. Hah! – Sometimes maturity isn’t as fun, is it? We’re still not sure where we are going to live, but are slowly packing non-the-less.

While I was doing some packing this afternoon, I came across a box which had been left unpacked from our original move. Surprised and curious, I sat down in my living room with some of the first bold sun of the season streaming through our windows and dug in. Thirty minutes later, I realized that I had lost myself in a box of random wedding items. From the maid of honor speech, to the program, to invitations, to the slideshow we played at our reception as well as some of my favorite notes we had received; this was a memory box. Completely caught off guard by this box, I sat back after looking through everything. My eyes began to well with tears, and a completely random realization hit me; it has been months; literally MONTHS since I have cried. This might be normal for some people, but for me its not. Let me clarify: I’m not saying that a nasty sob is common, but life simply touches my soul. And whether it is a sad cry or a happy cry, crying truly is therapeutic and tears just can’t be stopped from glistening on my cheek every here and there.

I slowly started putting everything back into the box, completely lost in thought about my strange lack of emotion recently, but all of these thoughts stopped when my hand grabbed the wedding slideshow. I looked over at the TV, got up, and popped it into the DVD player. Obviously testing my luck with tears, I began to watch and what do ya know; the tears came back, but this time they were hot tears, and they weren’t just glistening. They began to stream down my face. Good grief; what in the world was going on? I didn’t understand. I was feeling hurt, pain and an immense amount of sorrow and confusion. Where was all of this emotion coming from? Certainly looking through my wedding stuff couldn’t be this terrible! I sat there completely confused and then all of the sudden something 100% unexpected happened. Have you ever had those “ah-hah” moments when something finally clicks that has been an unsolved puzzle in your mind for a long time? That’s exactly what happened. A puzzle I haven’t been able to solve for the last few years started coming together in my mind and I finally had the piece I have been searching for; a piece I think all people moving to a different life stage need. Let me explain.

To say that the past two years of my life have had a lot of change would be an immense understatement. My entire life has been flipped upside down in multiple ways and I haven’t taken a single moment to stop, think, and process with a clear mind. I haven’t been able to. While you’re in the thick of change, its hard to clearly understand what is going on. Coming out of a season of insanity, I think I am finally starting to process a lot of emotion; joy, sorrow, anger, love, confusion, loss, and gain. Some of it, I am so thankful is over, and other things I wish had never ended.

I think the processing has to start the summer Andrew became an intern at my home church. These three months were a fun kind of crazy at first. I lived in Wheaton,IL, doing an 8 week extremely intense internship at Meier Clinic; learning for the first time the beauty, pain, wisdom and intense emotion that is all involved with Professional Counseling. Almost every other weekend, I traveled back to Midland, where Andrew was interning. Ten hours of driving in 2.5 days?! Crazy? Oh yeah. But as my mom always said, you have to do some crazy stuff to make dating work. What wise words.

It was during this fun time of crazy that a very bitter season began that only now, two years later, am I beginning the healing process from. I became aware that summer that something was seriously wrong at my home church, where my Dad had been the senior pastor for 22 years. This tragedy eventually led to my Dad resigning, after being encouraged by his mentors and those superior to him in leadership in order to protect himself from what was going on, because he had done everything within his power to fix something that was not able to be fixed. This resignation naturally led to my family packing up the only home I have ever known (all during the summer I got married), and moving to a completely new place. [I had a lot more written to describe what happened, but for wisdoms sake have decided not to write everything I want to. Sometimes less is more, and I would rather hold my tongue than have to apologize later for saying too much; and potentially in the wrong way and with the wrong motive. To all of my mentors reading this: see; I’m learning 🙂 ] All of this suffices to say, and the point I wanted to make is; this was all slightly overwhelming.

But I have never stopped to process that I won’t be going back to Midland anymore as a resident. I have never stopped to process the overwhelming grief I have in my soul regarding leaving the church I have so deeply loved, with such sorrow at the state it is left in; knowing that the situation still continues. I have never dreamed all of this would happen. I won’t be bringing my children back to Midland to visit grandma and grandpa, and I know I will get over that someday, but for now, it hurts. I haven’t let myself hurt yet, and I need to.

For two years, I have been waging an inner battle against bitterness, anger, the desire to set the record straight for selfish and unselfish reasons, the desire to absolutely annihilate people verbally (I have practiced many speeches many times in the mirror…the first sign that I had to start checking my anger before the Lord), as well as mourning with many tears and hurt deep within my soul, the breaking of relationship with those who I have known and loved for years because of lies. These church stories are the ones you hear about at Moody Bible Institute as case studies, but that you “know will never really happen.” Well, they do. And I have come to realize that God has blessed Andrew and I by going through this situation while solidifying whether or not God has called us to full time ministry. Well, this has not scared us away and we are moving forward with more confidence than ever. Interesting how God works life out.

On top of this situation, my wonderful husband and I graduated from college, got married, and moved to a city hours away from any family or friends. My entire world has been turned upside down in the past two years and I haven’t even taken a moment to realize it. I think this is the reality of many newly-weds; everyone in their own unique way. The need to intentionally stop and process is pressing and vital. That is what I am doing today.

Bringing this story around to fruition, lets go back to when I was sitting in my living room, watching my wedding slideshow, with tears streaming down my face. Remember that? As I watched the pictures of Andrew through the years; the pictures of myself, and finally us coming together and falling in love, I realized that this is a slideshow I have always day dreamed about. These are common at weddings, and being the daughter of a pastor, I have been to many. I watched these slideshows growing up and wondered who would be in mine. I day dreamed about this mystery man often.

Well, here I finally was….watching my very own slideshow, having that blank filled in at last. I was overcome with the realization that….life. has. changed. And that is a beautiful thing. But in order to move forward with full freedom, there is a closing of a chapter that needs to be done. I can’t hold onto my wonderful childhood, the joy of college, and the picture of a young girl dreaming of her prince charming. I can allow those to be memories, but I have to let them be simply that. I can’t keep holding onto the past; wishing I was still under the roof of parents who paid for everything and held my hand through life’s hardships; always seeming to have the right answers. I can’t keep holding onto the beauty of college; the late night food runs, the 2AM dance parties, girl night being every night….holding onto these things, wishing they still were…it is only going to hold me back. They are beautiful memories and I will never forget them, and I will stay in contact to my closest college friends to the very best of my ability because I truly love them. But, I can’t hold onto these memories and be miserable because my life isn’t like it was even a year ago. This is exactly what I have been doing.

Not only do I need to not wish life was as it has been, but I need to let go of the hardship as well; just as we all do. I can’t hold onto the hurt anymore from Midland. I can remember what happened, forgive those who will never ask for forgiveness, remember the wonderful times, and not allow my memory of my childhood church to be based solely on a select number of people’s actions over a short amount of time. Those people weren’t even the ones who knew us well anyways. Why should I hold onto this? I will never seek revenge; I will never be able to explain truth to everyone; I simply won’t be able to fix what happened. But I know that I have a Great God who cares about truth and His Church even more than I do. He doesn’t need me to fix everything for Him. I am in a new season, at a new church, with new friends and a wonderful new husband.

I need to be where I am at.

I need to flourish in the present.

I need to close the good chapters knowing that many are still to come.

I need to close the bad chapters even though they didn’t end as I wanted them to or dreamed they might. I can’t wait for an ending that isn’t mine to wait for. I relinquish control to the Lord.

God is good. And He has created life so beautifully. Maybe this entry is what I needed to process the past two years; this blog combined with a number of other events that happened today.

Adulthood has come so fast, and I still don’t feel ready for it. But here it is none the less and I must bloom where I am planted. Praise God that He is with us. I do not know how people make it through life’s challenges without His wisdom, truth and peace with them every step of the way.

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