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the highs and lows and reality of moving

November 9, 2018

"You guys look like you are settling in so well," Is a comment that I see/hear a lot. If you follow me on facebooks or instagram, you get to see the "highs" of our new life here in Georgia.  


The trips to the beach. Our new house.  The neighborhood pool.  The lake behind our house for fishing.  Some Friday night date nights with Mike to Savannah.  You may have noticed my love for our new schools or church.  I suppose you could have seen that we have some pretty awesome new neighbors that have been so kind and generous and loving.  What you don't see is that I'm NOT at home alone every night with 4 kids. Hallelujah!  Or that Mike and I get to have breakfast together before he leaves for work.  Or that I can finally wake up and make my bed ****if I choose! On Saturday mornings instead of "hushing" the kids for hours and hours, waiting for Mike to wake from working the night shift, you might find us out riding bikes together or doing yard work together, or exploring the East Coast.  Should I even mention that it is 70 degrees here today?!?!  That's it's been in the 80's this week, in November? 


Without a doubt it was the right move for our family at this time. 


But, it has been HARD.  Hard is what I don't post on facebook or instagram, but am willing to share on this blog.  

You don't know that I cried when I walked into the cafeteria to have lunch with Luke for the first time and realized that I didn't know a soul or where to go or what to do.  I literally had the wind knocked out of my sails, missing "Home." Our schools back in Kentucky felt like second families, and that loss has been painful to accept. Thankfully, eventually his teacher came and sat down with us and with her own kindergarten daughter and said, "You know Luke D is the ONLY boy that you are allowed to marry." She went on to tell me about how well he was doing, and my spirits were lifted, but still, it was one of many HARD days.


Did I tell you about the 650.00 water bill our first month here? A little too much irrigation for us first timers with an irrigation system in the south. 


Or that our house didn't come with sod in the backyard, or logs in the fireplace, or toilet paper/paper towel holders? or Gutters?  Or that it (Of course!) wasn't finished on time?


Did I tell you that they originally told me Lukey was too old for kindergarten in Georgia, his birthday is August 2, and that he'd need to skip Kindergarten and move on to first grade? 


Or that when I signed Lilly up for middle school that they missed her test scores and put her in all the wrong classes and when we asked about the FUN elective classes like PE and ART and BAND and CHOIR and STEM they said, "Sorry.  The kids chose those in the spring of the 5th grade year.  If you are new here, you just get what you get." 


Is it that we were living close to everything and now we are close to NOTHING and I mean NOTHING that drives me the most insane?  We live where we live FOR the schools and it is WORTH it, but can I tell you, that doesn't make me dislike all the driving any less.  


Is it for the first time in my life I'm responsible for getting dinner on the table at 5:30?  Who learns how to cook at 37 with 4 kids????  (Don't do that!)  For the first half of my life my mom always had dinner on the table for us and when we got married, Mike quickly saw that I had zero cooking skills or even common sense when it comes to food, and he gladly took over.


Is it that my 5 minute carpool line is now 40-45 minutes because our elementary school hosts 1300+ students??  For real!


Should I been too proud to mention fierce disputes with our builder over property lines? And other stupid things. 


Let's not even discuss the bugs, snakes and ALLIGATORS.  Yep.  You read that right.  Not that we've seen any, but they do inhabit these parts.  


Could it be showing up to MOPS and realizing that your 300 (kidding, but really!) friends aren't there and excited to see you? 


Or that our public library is PATHETIC compared to what we left behind. 


Or that you basically need to be an olympic athlete to make it on the school sports teams here?  


If I could write you out a list of pros and cons to this move, there wouldn't be enough space on the internet to list them all.  Both sides would literally explode with my highest of highs and my lowest of lows.  Most of which I never even shared above.  Believe it or not, as much as I share, plenty of things are sacred to Mike and me.  


I tell you all of those things to help paint a more realistic view of what moving looks and feels like.  It has been hard beyond my wildest imagination.  I could have never predicted or fathomed some of the trials that we'd face. Seriously, who builds a house without gutters and doesn't know the property lines???  Even more maddening, how'd *we* miss these things when buying?  You just don't know what your don't know. Thankfully, most of these issues were presented to me one at a time, and solved one at a time.


Where Mike can EASILY roll with the punches, I cannot. None of the above ruffled his feathers.  He's calm as a cucumber, always having faith that everything WILL work out. Not me.  I freak.  Cry. Holler. Cuss. Panic. Obsess and eventually, settle down and PRAY. 


And guess what?  HE {God} sees me.  He hears me.  He LOVES me and he answers my prayers.  Not ever in "my" time, because my time is "right now" but in HIS time, and in the most loving ways. 


About a week after I received the water bill, someone came along and basically said, "Your debt has been paid.  Although you guys waaaaaaay overwatered the new sod, your debt has been forgiven.  Be more careful next time."


Kinda like the woman at the well.  Your sin has been forgiven.  Now go and turn away from it.  Trust me!!!!  The watering got turned waaaaaaaay down! Lesson learned. 


And the sweet teacher who tested Luke and agreed with me that yes, he is so smart, but you are right, his fine motor skills are not ready for first grade writing.  I can't tell you this feeling of relief.  There was NO WAY I was going to let my boy skip the JOY of kindergarten and thankfully, God sent us the right lady to say, I couldn't agree with you more! Later when I questioned the principal about the new law in Georgia that expects kids between certain ages to be in certain grades, he assured me that at their school, they still did what was best for each particular child, regardless of age, which was a huge relief.  


And it was Mr. Shultz who just so happened to be standing in the middle school hallway as we were walking out back in July who asked Lilly, "So what elective classes did you sign up for?" When we explained that we had arrived there too late in the summer, he ever so kindly said, "Come into my office.  I am happy to let you choose.  In fact, you don't have to choose right now.  Go home and think about it.  Talk to your mom and dad about what would be best for you.  Bring it back to me on Monday and I'm happy to get you into the classes that you want." 


Can you even imagine my overwhelming JOY! That he just so happened to be there.  To love my girl in the way that I desperately wanted her to be loved. That he just so happened to ask us that question?  That he was willing to go the extra mile, to take the time to make something happen for Lilly that we had been told....weren't happening.  It may sound silly, but I don't know that I've ever felt such gratitude for someone.  That man was my HERO!  


And then there was the middle school counselor that changed all of Lilly's classes at the last minute to get her where she needed to be.  I think there are 1700-1800 kids at her middle school.  The fact that they accommodated all of her base classes and her electives when we were basically no-bodies in this town....I cry as I type.... WITH GOD, ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE!  Even when you've clearly been told NO. 


Lilly (and I!) were able to see, time and time again...even when you are TOLD....Sorry, there is no way, GOD CAN MAKE A WAY! For the rest of her life when she hears "NO" I pray that she'll look back on this time and remain faithful.  Hopeful.  If God wants it to happen, He'll find a way.  The right person at the right place at the right time can and will help make a way. 


Can I tell you that we've turned the ridiculously long morning car ride into a blessing?  We split the time up into thirds.  The first third, we PRAY.  The second third, Carly has learned to multiply.  And on the last leg of the trip, Lukey has learned 140! sight words.   Basically, they've learned to read, multiply and pray on the way to school, which means that after school, when Mike would normally cook while I did homework and flashcards, now I can send the three little kids upstairs to PLAY - they get all of their work done BEFORE school now in the carpool line, and Lilly and I are learning to cook.  Together.  Which is MUCH needed on both of our parts. 


Some things we just have to live with.  The library is still awful, although there are supposedly plans for improvements.  BUT  we have the BEACH and an amazing Zoo down in Jacksonville.  There are still bugs and alligators that I can't do a thing about.   I keep telling myself, FOCUS on the POSITIVE!  Keep your eyes and ears and heart and mind set on what you DO have, not what your don't have and miss.  Some days I am so good at staying positive and some days, I allow myself to grieve and be sad about my losses.  


There is no perfect scenario.  Every single person who is reading this is facing one giant or another.  In my case, I know God has me exactly where he wants me.  I believe that whatever struggles I face, I can use them to make me BITTER or BETTER.  I can face my giants and say, "God, what do YOU want ME to learn from this?  How can I use this trial to grow my faith?  How can I use this trial to make me more loving?  More patient?  Better?" Or I can be and stay angry, sad, mad, depressed.  


I just read a book about moving and she said all of those "bad" feeling are normal to have, but that obviously, you don't want to stay there.  You always want to look AHEAD, not back.  Give yourself time to grieve, hurt, curse, cry, but then say, What can I be THANKFUL for?  Who can I focus on LOVING? What do I have to celebrate? Pray and beg and plead with God to face you forward and into the light.  To either make peace with your situation or find the courage to change it.  


I would say before this move I believed in God.  Really, how could you not?  Can I create life?  Nope!  But did I trust God?  Did I {TRUST} God?  No.  I mean, I wanted to.  I really did.  But I just couldn't.  I couldn't have JOY or Peace when there were trials.  When there was outstanding debt?  I thought "I" needed to FIX everything.  All the time.  Me.  The weight of the world rested on my shoulders.  When I couldn't handle it, I'd BEG Mike to fix it or make it right when he could.  When I couldn't fix problems and when he couldn't fix our problems, I could not see the light.  I didn't trust God to see me through.  What I couldn't SEE, I couldn't believe would happen.  


Now I can clearly see why God brought us here.  Sure, Mike's shoulder is getting rest.  He's not suffering from a chronic headache and living in a fog from never really sleeping and working the night shift.  But it was for me too.  I probably  needed the move more than HE needed the move. 


I needed to be put through trial after trial after trail after trial.  Only to see that I need to grow my faith.  I need to believe that God is who he says He is.  He has proven to me time and time and time and time again, through this move, through a rapid fire of trials that....I will take care of you.  Be patient.  Be loving.  Have faith that you don't need to fight every battle.  Solve every problem.  Win every war.  Have faith in what you cannot see or fathom at the this moment.  


I wish I could beautifully sum up the book of Romans for you, but I'm too afraid I'll mess it up. Instead there is this, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:15


When you call on Him, do you BELIEVE in Him?  Or do you believe in You?  Are you your own God, or do you trust in God?  


I am so hopeful that Mike and my kids and I can hold on to these stories for the rest of our lives and remember, when we thought there was NO WAY, God made a way, time and time again.   


"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it, until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady." Romans 5:3-4


I wouldn't say my faith is necessarily "strong" or "steady" (YET!) but man! it is GROWING!  


I can see God's handprint all over my life.  I can clearly see how he is growing me.  That doesn't mean I remain Joyful all the time, of course I have HATED all of these trials as they were occurring, but I can now see great value in each of them.


I can also appreciate God saying, "No."  Lilly was recently told, "No, you didn't make the basketball team" darn it, we are getting used to rejection, but she said, "That's okay.  What I really want to do is learn how to ride horses."  So Mike is getting her signed up for a few lessons.  We are learning that some doors get closed because there is an even BETTER door that is about to be opened! At least we hope! 



Where are you?


Do you need to turn lemons into lemonade? Could you turn a ridiculously long car ride into a daily learning opportunity? What lemons are in your life? How can you turn them into lemonade?


Do you need  a safe place to grieve?  To cry? To be sad?  Find someone who will listen and not try to "fix" you.  Some things simply can't be fixed. Some things have to be accepted.  Sometimes you can't move forward until you've made peace with the past. You have to have the right person who will let you cry it out and accept your sorrow. 


Do you need to accept God's "No" and start opening other doors?  Could there be a better door to bang on?  Could His "no" be protecting you from something you don't need?


Do you need to just be patient.  Like the water bill?  Did I tell you how much sleep I lost over that stupid water bill????? We all know the verse "Be still and KNOW that I am God."  Maybe you're waiting for a problem to be solved or fixed.  Could you just trust that God will fix it in His time and be a JOYFUL mother and wife or friend while you wait? 


I want you to know that for all the "smiling" pictures you've seen of us on facebook and insta, behind the scenes, there has been stress and stress and stress.  I'm guessing you've been feeling EXACTLY the same.  You've likely had your own buckets of stress.  We all do, even when you think you are seeing otherwise.  


For the sake of my kids and for the sake of our marriage, I have tried to dig deep, especially when the kids and Mike are all home on the weekend and in the evenings, I choose Joy.  I literally beg, God, please fill me with peace.  Please set my heart on things that are good and well and things that we can celebrate.  The beach! The Zoo! Church! Family Meals. Bike rides.  Pizza Nights.  Neighbors.  Yahtzee! Fishing. Visiting friends and Family! Our health!  


Help me set my sights on the blessings in my life and find Joy, even in the midst of all the chaos.  












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