Homesick

I’m homesick today, and I don’t even know for which home. I’m grieving double.

We lived in FL for 14 months, so I was just finally getting settled in. I knew my way around town, had a church to call home, the start of some very nice friendships, a routine that I enjoyed most days. Liked Bible Study, loved my Moms In Prayer friends, had great neighbors. Loved my house.

Now I’m starting all over and I’m lonely. I’m grieving the loss of friends. Ok, they’re not lost, they’re just not here. And in many ways, I’m grieving the move to FL again, as I grieve this move to VA. That caught me by surprise this morning. Grief can bring back old grief.

I find myself thinking of my older home, my WI home, the place I moved from when we went to FL. I’m missing my old streets and house and friends and neighbors and co-workers and church. It’s as if I just moved from there, as I’m homesick for them all over again. Even though I went through grief when we moved to FL, it’s as fresh today as it was the first time.

Granted, I’ve only been in VA for fifty-one days. Hardly enough time to settle into a routine, let alone have any friends. But I find myself asking God, “Didn’t I just do this?” I am reminding myself that I told God I’d go where He wanted me to go. I have to remind myself, or I’ll get lost in the pity-party. I think He wanted us to come here, for my husband’s job opportunity and for new adventures together as a couple. I know we prayed about it and sensed God’s leading.

But I’m so lonely. God truly is all I have all day long. I’m trying to practice that, live in that, be content in that. God is all I have.

He is supposed to be all I need. We sing those words. We read those words. Do I mean those words? Do I live them? Is He really enough, or do I only mean it when everything else is in order, in my order?

I know that time will help. I will begin to learn my way around this new place in VA, and I pray that it will start to feel comfortable soon. It will be at least a year before I can call it home – I know from all my earlier moves that’s how long it takes. But it’s really hard in the meantime. And the days are quiet and very long.

So I’m learning, at a deeper level, to listen to God in the stillness. To hear Him assure me that He is enough. He is all I need. He will supply all my needs. He understands my tears. He will draw near when I feel broken-hearted. He is the lover of my soul. I will tell myself these truth-promises until my eyes dry and I can rest quietly in His arms.

Mystery walk

What’s at the end of this sidewalk? Is it different in the dark?

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I can’t see beyond where the immediate light shines. Future is a mystery.

So I depend on faith for my future, affirmed by what I’ve experienced in the past.

I trust Jesus, the Light of the World. He’s been with me every step of my life, lighting the way as I needed to see, and guiding me when I was walking through the dark times where I couldn’t see, when He called me to simply follow Him. He has led me, is now leading me, and He will continue to lead me, curvy path and all.

(This reminds me of the excellent book, Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On, by Stormie Omartian.)

Coloring Grays

Yesterday on the way up the stairs to my therapist’s office, I wondered if she would want me to play with color. We’ve done that sometimes when talking about my mood, which we were going to do since I had admitted to feeling depressed again. I suddenly wanted to color – a simple pattern or design with all the shades of gray that I could find.

We didn’t get out the crayons, but she encouraged me to color when I got home. I forgot about it until after dinner, and when the TV was on and I wanted something to do, I remembered my wish to shade in grays.

I looked through my coloring books – I have 5 or 6 – and picked a paisley with very few flowers. I’m not feeling flowery. I’m feeling gray.

I chose what I thought was a black colored pencil and started at the center – it was actually blueberry, which came out on the paper as dark purple. So much for a picture in all grays.

I pulled all the pencils I could find that would give me the gray continuum, and a few complimentary colors, I had five blacks, one gray, one dark blue, one bronze yellow (it looked olive gray), two violets, one blue-violet, and one blueberry. I added honey gold for a dull yellow.

When I finished coloring, I sent a picture of it to my therapist. She asked why the purple and yellow. Yellow for a little light, but no idea why purple – really just because I didn’t have enough gray pencils. But she pointed out that the purple is in the center.

And then I realized that purple and yellow have always meant Jesus to me. Christ’s royalty as the Son of God, Christ Divine, Easter Sunday – yellow as sun breaking through symbolizing Christ’s triumph over death, or of Easter Sunrise Service, or even Christ the Son (sun). When I see purple and yellow together, I think Jesus.

(No “gray” in the last paragraph. Pretty cool how that happened, not by my plan at all. Just like the picture.)

Mood.

 

Dog toy, Cat toy, My joy

A year and a half ago, we gave away our dog Ella to a wonderful family. They were going to provide her a loving home in the countryside, and we knew that was a better alternative than moving her to Florida. She’s a mutt:  a mix of beagle, basset and labrador – but if you look up Coonhound on Google, you’d see her picture. I always figured hound dogs loved the south – remember the dogs on the porch in “Hee Haw?” Well, Ella hated the heat, was at home in snow and rain. So we felt it best for her to not bring her with us when we moved. And as much as I’ve missed her, she is with a family she adores and who love her back, in a climate that she manages well.

We had her for her first six years, and like most dogs, she had her favorite toys. She had a stick that she loved to gnaw on – she had been so proud dragging it home from her walk. She also loved pine cones – I remember seeing her on a Sunday in December, tossing the tiny pine cones that she had pulled from my front door wreath – just throwing them in the air and watching them float down until she could catch them and toss them again. She was so full of delight, her whole body wriggled. It was hard to get mad at her for dismantling my wreath with such joy exuding from her!

Inside, she loved stuffed animals, especially the ones that squeaked. She would zero in on the squeaker and with her very strong back jaws, bite through the fabric to pull it out. She would completely de-stuff the toy – there’s a lot of batting that squishes into those fabric carcasses! But the squeaker was her delight – rolling back and forth, wiggling with the squeaker squawking until she had completely punctured it. Her entire body would wag as she laid on her back, paws flailing in absolute bliss.

I bought her two rubber toys, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to disembowel or destroy them – one was a blue figurine of a person, and the other was a red shape of a dog. Oh, how wrong I was. She applied her strong jaws to biting off the feet of each animal, and tossing those in the air.  The footies flew just like the pine cones! For awhile, we had two blue footies and four red ones, but they slowly disappeared, until we were down to one of each, then only one red one, then none at all.

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Fast forward 12 months, and my kitten Annabelle discovered a new toy – a red footie. As far as I can tell, it somehow became lodged in the netting of the underside of our couch, until one day it fell out onto the floor. Because suddenly, my darling kitten is chasing a bouncing red rubber footie across the living room floor! If cats have favorites, I’d say she loves this footie. Just like Ella, she tosses it in the air, but instead of catching it, she watches it bounce haphazardly a few times before she pounces on it. She picks it up and carries it to another room, where the routine begins again. And then suddenly it’s gone – nowhere to be found, until it shows up several days later in the window track or by the TV or under the throw carpet. She tosses it, she pounces on it, she wrestles with it, she buries it, then delightfully finds it again and the play starts over.

Watching Annabelle makes me smile as I see her pure joy in playing with the little red footie. I often wish I had such a thing, that would bring me joy like her toy does, and did for Ella before her. But that is external joy, and the Bible says that our joy comes from within. Knowing that our names are written in heaven for eternity. Complete joy from Christ placed in us. A gift from our Heavenly Father and as fruit of the Spirit. Multiple verses speak of joy being found in the Presence of God.

So why do I feel like I’m still looking for it? For some external toy, some outside thing that gives me the exuberance of a small red footie. I told my therapist years ago that I wanted my joy back, and I feel like I’ve been looking for it ever since that first depressive episode 8  years ago.

I think it might be that I find that joy, that exuberance again, as I continue to sit with Jesus each morning. As I draw closer to God and He shows me His heart and fills me with His joy. A joy that cannot be removed or lost in the couch cushions. Complete joy of His kingdom, forever and ever.

 

Not So Lonely

I woke this morning feeling very lonely. The word kept echoing in my head. Lonely. Alone. Maybe I should just stay in bed – who would miss me? Ahh, the self-pity kicked in.

I used that word on Monday to describe myself to my psych doc, and I think that just made it come true (self-fulfilling prophecy). I felt it all day yesterday, too.

As kitty Annabelle rubbed on my legs and plopped down at my feet, I sat down to pet her. “You’re my friend, aren’t you, Annie?” Then I prayed that maybe God would help her want some cuddle time – that she would lay on my lap and purr for a bit. She’s a great cat, but snuggling isn’t something that happens often.

I made my coffee and got out my devotional. But before I began reading, I wrote a prayer in my journal, and told God how I was feeling – lonely. And at the top of the page I wrote:

  • There is one who is closer than a brother.
  • Jesus called us friends, not slaves.

I didn’t look up these verses, but wrote them down as the Holy Spirit began to comfort me with His Word. Then I wrote about a woman I see later this morning who I consider a friend, and I know that our relationship can deepen with time. And I remembered the woman who called yesterday – probably to make lunch plans. We haven’t seen each other for at least a couple of weeks, but she, too, is a friend-in-the-making. Hmm, maybe not quite as alone as I thought.

I read my devotional – I highly recommend Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  I read my daily Advent reading. I read some fellow bloggers’ posts. I realized that I wasn’t feeling as lonely.

And then Annabelle pushed my iPad aside and settled onto my lap. Thanks, Lord.

“…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24b, NIV

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15;15, NIV 

Friend of God performed by Phillips, Craig and Dean, written by Israel Houghton and Michael Gungor: