Peace in His Presence
Hi friends. It has been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. Don’t get me wrong - I’ve wanted to write, I’ve just had this hesitation inside that kept me from doing it. We’ve had a lot happen and I guess I just didn’t know how to write about my life without including what we were going through. I would have felt like I was hiding this big part of my life. Sharing the pretty things in my life and excluding the realness. The day-to-day struggles. And I desperately wanted my blog to be real. But I wasn't ready to open up about our struggles. I was afraid that I hadn’t worked through things and if I wrote about them, I might come across as angry or resentful when I really was just confused and figuring things out. I wanted to be real but I wasn't ready to share, so I just didn't write anything. I knew I had friends online that would see my heart and intentions were true, but I also knew there were those that didn't know me.
But I love writing. And journaling has always been a form of healing and rest and worship for me. I draw closer to God when I write and He reveals things to me - about my heart... about His. So, now, I’m ready to share. I’m ready to be vulnerable. And I’m hoping that you all will have grace with me. This is going to be a place where I share real life - our struggles, our story, our hope in the Lord. And I hope you feel comfortable that you can share too. One of the things I miss most about blogging is connecting with others.
So... to begin...
Haha.. the problem about taking a break is that there is so much to catch you up on! I️ think I️ want to start with our most recent adventure and work backwards from there.
OUR BIG LITTLE MOVE
As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, we just moved. We sold our house - our first house. The one we brought our babies home to and made into a space we could call home. But what you may not know is that we didn't move into a nicer, bigger house. We didn't upgrade to more bedrooms or a better floor plan. We moved into a 900sq ft basement apartment. Why on earth did we do this, you ask? Well, that's the story I want to tell you.
A LITTLE BACKSTORY
Shortly after my first son, Rowan, was born my husband, Drew, was laid off from his job. We had just had our first child and I was recovering from postpartum depression when we got the news that we would no longer have any income. And it wasn't a good situation either. Drew has always acted with integrity and worked extremely hard. He is one of those people who is good at almost everything he puts his mind to. He is smart. Book smart, yes, but also in an inventive type of way. I call him “my Renaissance man.” He is science-minded and creative at the same time. But his employer accused him of something he didn't do and it did not end well. Drew and I were both angry. How come doing the right thing didn't end the way we thought it should? I was self employed then and working random jobs, but it definitely wasn't enough to make ends meet. Drew spent his time job hunting, but he quickly fell into a dark depression. I'd never seen him like this. I had just come out of my own dark postpartum depression and we were exhausted. New parents who didn’t know how to communicate our needs anymore. We were both hurt and confused. And we were barely making ends meet every month.
Somehow, through God's grace, we survived. And almost nine months after Drew was laid off, he found another job. We were relived, but still in survival mode. We found ourselves constantly playing catch up. We had learned a lot about how to be there for each other - about how to put each other's needs first and make sacrifices. There were a lot of times when we thought we weren't going to be able to pay bills, but God provided. We were so happy to be out of that dark place.
Fast forward to when I was pregnant the second time around with our son, Conor. Things had been going pretty well, but we were still recovering financially from our still-recent job loss. My birth with Conor is wonderful and redeeming and smooth, but then it happens again. The postpartum depression hits hard. And then Drew is laid off again. Almost like dejavu the nightmare that was our story happens once more. And although we find ourselves more prepared for the emotions and expectations that are to come, I am just so confused.
I wrestled for months feeling straddled between trusting that God would provide and wanting to take control and trust no one but myself to get us out of this. I kept asking God why we were experiencing this all over again... I mean, hadn’t we already learned what we needed to learn from the last time? What was the point of going through it all over again? I thought we were done with this. And then, one morning I was sitting out on our back porch. The cool spring breeze was blowing across the backyard and the boys were playing on the deck. I had a cup of coffee in my hand and in that moment, I felt these words come over me:
Find peace in My presence.
A wave of relief washed over me as I realized in this moment that, no matter what, we were going to be okay. Even if we lost everything, as long as we knew that God was with us, we could find peace. Even if the worst thing I could think of was to happen to us, I could still find peace if I had God’s presence with me. In that moment, the worry and anxiety that had been weighing me down for what seemed like ages was gone. Our circumstances were the same, but my outlook on them changed everything.
God never promised us a house or a car or any worldly possessions. But He promises to be with us, providing His loving peace and presence for us to cling to in dark times. And from then on, I stopped grasping for an answer to our problem and instead opened my hands up to God in surrender.
OUR BIG MOVE
Drew found another job a few months later, but we were in a bad place from months of surviving. Under the wise suggestion of my dad, we met with a financial planner and came up with some options. One of those options was to sell our house and a lot of our possessions (we had already sold the most valuable ones) and find temporary housing somewhere else. Although I knew in my gut immediately that this was the right option for us, the thought of leaving our home and doing something so drastic was very emotional. But, that peace I had found carried me through these decisions of letting go of the things we owned and making hard and uncomfortable choices.
Being content with whatever you have took on new meaning for me in this season of our life. I think before this situation, the word contentment for me had a connotation of “settling” for something less than what you have. But I’ve seen now how much contentment is a state of mind more than anything else. It’s when you decide that the most important thing in your life is pursuing the Lord’s presence and trying to glorify Him with your life and everything you’ve been entrusted with, no matter what that is. Being grateful and, as James 1:2-4 says,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
So, here we are. We are taking it one step at a time and trying to learn how to wait well and not rush this season. The Lord has been so gracious and we are thankful for friends and family who have been supportive of our decisions and encouraged us along the way. I hope that if you find yourself in a difficult season, you remember that there is peace in God’s presence.