Most days I do really well as a single mom, head of household, full time employee, doctoral student, home owner. I am an optimist by nature and I have a deep faith in God, the sustainer of my life. Today, however, is a not one of those days. I have not felt this way in a long time, that I couldn’t do what is ahead of me to do, even with God as my strength. I find myself wandering around the house and yard, restless and fatigued. Unable to anchor in. Unable to find my way.
I woke up early this morning with the last vestiges of an intestinal bug. Gross. I didn’t eat much yesterday and felt weak. A full day was ahead of me but I crawled under the covers and slept again for a bit. Then I got up and did laundry, turned on the sprinkler, and handed out the day’s chore assignments to my kids. I looked on the rental app site for rentals on the west side and then headed to work.
I couldn’t seem to shake the discouragement, an overwhelming feeling that I am sinking under the waves. I am leaving my job as an Executive Director of a non-profit next month, and there are a myriad of details to attend to in the next few weeks. I arrived at work to find that the remodeled kitchen had another leak in it. With an open house this Friday on the schedule, the repair crew has two days to gut the kitchen, repair the pipe, and make it look like new. All this while we see patients, make the clinic beautiful and prep for visitors.
A bit discouraging to me, but it is doable. So what is going on?
I realized on my drive home that I am utterly overwhelmed with finding a home in a city two hours away. How does one find homes? I can’t find a phone number to call to talk to someone when I find a place I like; the timing of renting a place is tight; and I need to travel over to see a place before I say yes to it. As well, how do I pack up twenty-three years of living in one home? What do I do with pets, with storage, with memories, with all the details of transferring ownership? Do I rent? Do I sell? A realtor is coming over tomorrow to talk through my options. My house is not at its best right now and while I think I care about that, I don’t have the energy to do anything about it.
On top of that, I am just beginning my field research for my doctorate in the town I am moving away from. I am waiting for permission to start the research without which my hands are tied. Do I try to jam all the research interviews into one week? Do I travel back and forth all summer?
And, in the midst of all that, is the truth that I am beginning a new job in a new town. The learning curve will be high. I said yes to a life change that is going to be wonderful. Somewhere inside of me is excitement over this, but it seems to be lost to me today. I am standing at the foot of what feels completely insurmountable.
I think about what I would tell another woman in my situation. First, I would tell her to take a deep breath. Then I would tell her to sit down outside with a soothing beverage and listen to the birds and crickets and remember that she is not alone. She is not alone. Then I would tell her to pour out her heart to God, to cry and to tell Him how small she feels in the face of what is ahead. And then, I would tell her to listen to what God tells her in reply.
I think that God would tell her that He has her back. That she is so precious to Him, so beautiful and good. He would tell her that she is not alone. He would tell her that He knows how hard it is to leave where she has found safety, where she finally learned that God is good. God will tell her that what is ahead of her IS too big for her. But it is not too big for Him.
God would tell her to let it be, the house, the yard, the clutter, the packing, the saying goodbye, the search for a new safe place. Let it be. He would tell her to trust Him for it all. To keep breathing, to keep resting, to take it one day at a time, one moment, one moment at a time. He would promise her that He has a new place for her to live, a shelter and a place to rest in the midst of new learning. He would remind her that He has never left her, never forsaken her, never abandoned her, never failed her.
Forgive me, Lord, for giving in to discouragement, for thinking I had to do all this on my own. Forgive me for thinking You would not take care of me. Lord, enable me to live today – all of today – close to Your heart, listening for Your voice. Give me the grace to not take myself so seriously, to not doubt Your care. Show me what to do next, and sustain me with a willing heart.
“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the spring rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)
Today, by the grace of God, I will press on.