There are times in life when it feels like everything in you is being stirred up, heart soul and spirit, like a big pot of stew on the stove. Have you ever experienced this? Your inner person all a'tumble? It can happen suddenly or gradually, but the churning seems to come from somewhere beyond your control, and, try as you might, you just can't get it to bed back down again.
I am slowly beginning to learn that, in times like these, there really are only two options:
1. Trust the momentum and follow it, or
2. Fight it until you're bone-tired, and are swept up in it all the same.
This has been just such a season for us. And somewhere along the way there came a moment when both Chris and I made that unnerving decision to follow the current rather than fight it, which, I believe, has made all the difference.
It all started about 9 months ago, around my birthday last year, the feeling that I just couldn't breathe this air anymore. I was beginning to resent every lung full, and I was exhaling nothing but discontent. I sat down and wrote this blog. Oklahoma was having the hottest Summer ever recorded in ANY of the 50 United States... meaning, there had never been anywhere in this country that had ever been that hot for that long ever... and I was completely done. Baked. Cooked. Burnt.
I poured it all out to my husband one night on the couch. The kids were tucked away in their beds and I just... broke. The stirring inside of me had been intense for quite some time, even from the year before, when I did not know if the third child growing inside of me was a girl or a boy and I had chosen the girl's name of Dagny, which means "New Day". I longed for it and I longed for her and I knew that the Lord had said "the time is yet to come" when Truman was born and my heart overflowed with all these bright flashing sons.
Even then I had tried to bottle up the longing. But on the couch that night, I finally reached the point where I just couldn't fight it anymore. It was too strong and I was too weak. At the time, I had believed that this longing in me was a bad thing... the result of an ungrateful heart. Instead of trusting the God of the Universe with it, I had been trying to shut it down, thinking it was the "holy" thing to do.
But that's the tricky thing about longing, isn't it? It is only as holy as it is submitted. As soon as I grip my fingers around it and try to force it into existence, it becomes my enemy. It becomes my god. It becomes what I live for. But if I can really say, "God, I desire this, but I desire You even more!", then GOD remains my God. He remains what I live for.
It is a dangerous can of worms to open, this longing and desire, because it makes you vulnerable to the possibility of disappointment and grief if those longings go unmet. But on the other hand, to never open it up or listen to it at all is a different grief altogether- one heavy with regret and the feeling of never having truly lived. And I think, at the end of the day, I'd rather be able to say that I had lived vulnerably, instead of questioning if I had ever even really been alive at all.
That night, I opened up the treacherous can. I told Chris what I was longing for. I told God what I was longing for. A new place, a new start, a new season. New air! A new day. It felt SO good to get it all out. We had talked casually about the future before... about how this never felt like a permanent home for us, but we had never felt released to really consider other options. Chris had been known to say, "If we are going to move again, God is going to have to speak to me from a burning bush!" (Little did we know....... more about that later!)
We have a lot invested here in this neighborhood, in this town. Chris owns his own thriving small business. We are surrounded on all sides by a community of dear friends and neighbors who are only steps away in times of need. It would be no easy thing to consider uprooting from all that God has done for us in the past six years we've spent here. This dangerous longing of mine was going to change everything. Even as the words left my lips, I felt afraid. Was I really ready to exchange it all and follow the current that was churning me all up inside?
That night we agreed. Chris took the time to ask questions and really hear my heart. We decided we would follow, not fight. We would trust that God was the author of this longing in my heart, and we would trust that He had good plans in and through it. We would take a step of faith and start asking... start "pushing on doors". We talked late into the night about Denver or Reno or San Luis Obispo or Portland or Seattle or somewhere new here in Oklahoma... we allowed ourselves to dream big for the first time in a very long time.
That night was the start of it all, when the floodgates flung wide open, and there would be absolutely no going back.