Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learning to "Count It All Joy"

I'm in the middle of doing laundry right now and decided to sit down and glance at my calendar. I wanted to figure out how many days we'll be gone and what activities we'll be at so I can better pack up my family of five. Today is March 20. Near as I can tell, the earliest we'll be back home again sleeping in our own beds is April 15. That's right, we'll be gone for almost a month. So instead of just packing up church clothes and a few extra outfits like I do every other week, I'll be packing up Bible study materials, home school materials, vitamins, medicine, Easter outfits, Easter baskets, Easter eggs, food from our freezer, a stroller, a pack and play, all of the necessary items to complete our taxes and everything we might need for a conference we're attending. And since this weather is so crazy (which I'm enjoying, by the way) I'll need to pack both summer clothes and winter clothes. Throw in some baby food and bikes for the kids and I should be all set.

I'll be honest . . . I want to cry.

I'm overwhelmed. And I'm reminding myself of the verse I share with friends who are going through difficult times, Psalm 61:2, "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."
I realize that my life is not hard. I have three healthy children. I have a faithful husband. I have a wonderful church. I'm not fighting any diseases and I haven't lost a job, a house or a loved one. Every time I get on Facebook I hear about another friend who is facing a major trial: the death of a spouse, a frightening diagnosis, a divorce, or other life altering obstacles. In my head, I know my current trial is a drop in the bucket.
So, what is my trial? Well, after writing the above I'm now ashamed to even admit it.
We still don't have a house. The home we are renting is almost an hour and a half from our church so we spend most nights (and the next 4 weeks) in another home sleeping in another bed. I know, I know. It's not that big of a deal, especially since that "other" home belongs to my sister. It's not so much that I want my own house. What I crave is some consistency to our schedule. Family time. Alone time. A routine. A schedule of my own. These things are not possible when you're always on the go. Don't misunderstand me. It's not the hectic schedule that has me frustrated. It's that at the end of a busy day my family doesn't have our own little haven to rest and recharge together. We've been testing Aubrey for allergies and the lack of consistency has made it next to impossible to treat her. It's challenging to monitor everything she is exposed to when we are in so many different homes and eating in someone else's kitchen.
Please believe me when I say that I am exceptionally grateful for the hospitality extended to us. My sister and brother-in-law make us feel totally welcome in their home. The kids love spending time with their cousins. Individuals in our church have encouraged us by helping us with the cost of gas and treating our family to lunch on Sunday afternoons. We appreciate all of these acts of service.
However, the homemaker in me, the wife and mother in me, still desires a home of my own. We put an offer on a house 141 days ago. We're still waiting to hear if the house is ours.
I know God has a plan. I know there is a reason He has not moved us yet. I know He is in control and I know He cares about me. And while I am often tempted to respond to this trial with irritation and frustration, I'm learning to "count it all joy" as James, the half-brother of Jesus, encourages me to do. I am confident God has called us to Springview Community Church. I've never questioned that. And in this long period of transition I am learning many lessons along the way. I know that years from now I'll look back at this time and see it for what it is - just a bump in the road. In the meantime, please pray for me and my spirit. Pray that I choose joy. And if you'd like to go the extra mile you can also pray that we close on our house soon. I'm praying that we hear news before March is over. I know that's only 11 days away. I'm asking a big God to do big things!