Several years ago, I remember saying to the Lord: I love my home, I love my church, I love my life. Please don't change anything.
Well, I'm sure you can imagine what happened just after that. My cousin,who has been with FamilyLife for years, called and asked to speak to my husband. Uh oh. I sat and listened to my husband's end of the conversation with tears running down my cheeks. When my husband got off the phone and looked at me with wide eyes, I knew I had a choice to make. There was a job open and FamilyLife would probably want him. I also knew that he wouldn't apply if I objected. I was at a crossroad. Would I stand in the Lord's way and deny my husband this opportunity because I was afraid? Because of money? Because I didn't want to let go of my current life? I prayed for strength and pasted a huge grimace on my face—I'd tried to smile, but I'm no actress. "It sounds perfect. You should send your resume tomorrow."
Four months later, we were in a new city starting a new life. God had worked wonders and sold our house, but that had occurred after my husband began his new job, leaving me temporarily alone with two preschoolers, one of whom we would soon find out had severe autism. Those few months of separation left me exhausted and bitter, yet I was afraid to admit it. After all, we were working for a marriage ministry. How could I be upset and resentful about following God's will?
In addition to this, the downsizing of our lifestyle left me reeling. Even though I'd given away a ton of stuff, I still couldn't fit everything into this new house. And I had this new thing to worry about: a budget. Ack!
That first summer was one of the loneliest times in my life. I missed my friends and family and for the first time in my life had no idea how to make new friends. Our youngest child was out of control and I had no local professional support. Plus, we were having difficulty getting involved in church because of her issues. We spent a great deal of time at my cousin's that summer, but they didn't live close by, and I knew I needed to start making a life for us. Most days I felt on the edge of snapping, as if I were a rubber band that had lost all its elasticity. One day in August, I locked myself in the closet and cried in the dark. A few weeks later, I started having rushing, impulsive thoughts, and I couldn't stop crying. I needed professional help.
I sought the help of a professional counselor and she helped me through that transition. Here are some of the things I learned:
1. You cannot embrace the future until you have said goodbye to the past. Because I am a writer, I wrote a goodbye letter to my old house and life. In the process, I uncovered a lot of other emotional issues that I was able to deal with.
2. Look forward to seeing how wonderful God's new plan for you will be. Looking back, we are so thankful we moved to this state from where we'd been before. Even though it took us six months to get help for our youngest, we praise God that we now receive so much more than we would have before.
3. Find reasons to thank God for your new life. When I cleaned my new home, I thanked God it that was smaller than our old house, especially since I no longer could afford a cleaning lady. I thanked God for the trees and flowers in our new house, though I will admit my thanks were often given through clenched teeth while I pulled weeds. When I finally began to make friends, I thanked God for His abundant provision.
4. Join local groups and meet other moms. As a young mother, I met one of my best friends through library story time. Church groups, local mommy-and-me groups, play groups, the community pool, walks in the park on sunny days. All these are great avenues to meet other moms. Try Googling your city name and words such as play groups or mommy groups.
5. Read After the Boxes are Unpacked. Some churches even offer Bible studies based on this book. If a local church doesn't have it, suggest they hold one. I made some dear friends in the study I participated in, and I received a lot of comfort.
Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Dyer. All rights reserved.
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