Sometimes you need to take a minute… or a year! Realizing that GraceBrokeMom has gone ‘unattended’ for a year has been both heartbreaking and relieving. The last 12 months have been marked with all the emotions that come from life… and death. All of a sudden, I was forced to put every ounce of mental and emotional energy into getting through with as much faith and hope and love as I could, and for the time, that meant putting some other things I loved (like GraceBrokeMom) on hold. But I have never had the desire to let it go for good!!
I am in a much different place than I was last year at this time. Last year, every movement was filled with pain, and I was fearful. My husband and I would have nights laying side-by-side, holding hands, while I just wept and cried in agonizing pain. We had hard conversations as we prepared for further decline and anticipated that I would be wheelchair-bound as the months passed. I lost the ability to drive as my compressed root nerve caused less and less functionality in my right leg.
The complicated web of thought, emotion, fear, and comfort is something I don’t know I could ever adequately convey in written words. The journey was (and continues to be) massively impactful for my family. Thankfully, I was able to receive a much-needed surgery in January and am now working on getting full use of my leg back! He is faithful.
Last year at this time, we were preparing for a move. Since moving to Arizona in 2003, we lived in the west side suburbs of Phoenix and were always so content to be there. Our home was in a lovely community, our children were enrolled in the best school we’ve ever known, and we had no qualms about living 30 minutes away from our church. It was worth it! Until it wasn’t.
When I wrote about our decision to move our family to Phoenix proper, I had no idea what an up and down process we would have in front of us! The whole story would take forever to describe, but I will say that we sold our home 3 times between the end of July and early September and even on the day we moved, we had no idea if it was going to happen or not. It was INSANITY and I never want to do it again!! Just thinking about it makes my eyeball twitch. Thankfully, we were able to move into a home in September that is perfect for our family in the neighborhood we love. He is faithful.
I can go on and on with details and even more gut-wrenching and traumatizing tales of things we walked through over the past 12 months. But as I write them I realize more and more how much the details of the circumstances don’t matter. Seasons of trial and pain and loss and grief are all around. Even if my immediate family is in a relatively “quiet” season, the community we love and do life with is hurting. When we enter into community and choose to live a life that is bound to others, there will always be an element of hurt because we are always being affected by the brokenness of sin and the fallen state of creation.
It would be easier to keep a distance and to just make sure my family is okay and taken care of. But as I love the Lord, I have committed to love His people. And the thing I’ve learned most over the past 12 months is how much I NEED my community and how much I’ve learned about the character of Jesus through their loving attention and constant care. The reality is that if we are truly living in community and loving our neighbors as Christ has demonstrated, we have to be living out of His Spirit.
If I am loving others out of my own ability to love, I will quickly become dried up, useless, jaded, and unable to provide any refreshment or support. If I am living out of my own strength, I will quickly become isolated, skeptical, broken, and unable to effectively minister hope. And that is my heart’s desire – To be a mom who leans heavily on the Spirit to speak truth into my children as they navigate their worlds. To be a wife who leans heavily on The Spirit to be a partner and source of refreshment for my husband as he manages the many heavy loads he bears. To be a sister and friend who leans heavily on The Spirit to always be available. I know that as soon as I fail to abide in the endless grace and abounding love of Christ, I will fail to take my place in the community that I love.
My family and I were so well taken care of by our friends and church family when we were at our lowest that I will forever remember it as one of the sweetest and grace-filled seasons we have experienced, despite the actual circumstances. I know that it was meant to remind us of how faithful Jesus is to walk us through every season, every low, every twist and unexpected turn. My journey likely pales in comparison to the pain many of you have experienced, but the truth of God’s attention remains. He is so good to us and cares so deeply about every detail of our lives. And because He has loved me so perfectly, I get to tap into His endless wellspring and love those around me as a tangible reflection of His character. There is no greater joy!! He is faithful.
I love you all.