While I was throwing dinner in the pot tonight, I made the unfortunate discovery that I’ve purchased three cases of diced tomatoes in the past month and exactly no cases of crushed tomatoes. Thankfully, blenders and tomato paste and mozzarella cover a multitude of sins, and no one complained about the spaghetti.
Today was especially warm and this evening was impressive, too so we jumped up from the dinner table and ran out the door to hit our favorite walking path as the sun was going down. The boys love to bike and scooter while we trail behind, but it’s always a gamble what we’ll get with our girls when we’re walking.
Tonight didn’t disappoint. My husband and I held hands while our three-year-old carried on an entire dialogue with “Mr. Moon” and the five-year-old yelped and howled back at the coyotes when they started making noise from deep in the bush.
It was a nearly-perfect walk, sunset reflecting off the pond we love, and we ended the night in the front yard, watching the stars peek out from behind thin clouds.
We discovered upon coming home though, that we had no milk for breakfast, so my husband made a last-minute trip to the store. And then I texted him things I remembered: “Can you get bananas and half and half and some red Rooibos tea, too?”
He came home with the aforementioned items plus eggs and a massive box of Halloween candy, which frankly seemed a bit premature since it’s all of October 2nd. And I forgot tomato sauce again. I’m winning at life, I tell you.
I came upstairs to go to bed and found scrawled-out maps of European waters with my kindergartener’s signature at the top and the Volga River sprawling (as the Volga does) across most of the right side of the page.
Lest you think I’m some kind of overachiever with genius children who ace their geography, please think again. God gave my daughters initiative and drive and that is pure grace, because I’m slow to learn and even slower to work at remembering.
Stopping to remember and recount
But for some reason, in our very full life, it’s been the mundane, real-lifey things like tracing paper maps that make me stop and recount. The most basic elements of life can hit so hard and offer the chance to take stock of what has transpired in this past year, since life took a sharp turn and there were so many months I wondered if we’d ever come up for air.
I don’t want to just tell you a vague story though, and I wish I could express everything adequately. Maybe someday I will.
I think to a lot of people, we’ve managed to keep life looking normal on the surface. We have a healthy mix of friends who are deeply aware of what our life has been like and some who’ve simply said, “I had no idea,” when we get to talking. Some will never know and I’m very settled and comfortable with that.
I think on some level, knowing that many people don’t know anything about my life makes me think more generously of others, about how much they must be going through, too.
A year full
It’s been quite a year for us. We’ve spent a year reordering our life and mining some hard and complicated truths. Some of them have come out as bland as, “Oh well,” or “I guess that’s just how it’s going to be.” But by God’s grace, most of what we’ve dug up has been praise and thanksgiving and most of the prayers have been met with obvious, direct answers.
It’s been a year steering through trauma and betrayal, PTSD, and abandonment alongside a dear one who joined our family, navigating roads that have been terrifying at best.
It’s been a year of hunkering down, pulling in the corners, assessing what’s essential, rearranging home life, confronting lies and anxiety. And by God’s mercy, it’s been a year of facing trials and meeting threats with truths that He saw fit to plant deep in our hearts years prior.
It’s been a year of discovering how much words matter to God, how He equips us with a vocabulary and definitions so that we can order our lives and understand our circumstances.
It’s been a year of marveling at the Lord’s mercy in keeping our marriage strong and healthy in the midst of storms that could have derailed us.
It’s been a year with worsened flare-ups of the strange condition my body has been wrestling with for nearly three years now – always intensified by emotional stress and rarely made better by medication. But it’s also been a year of healing for hearts and minds, and overall increased wholeness for everyone.
Heavy and grace-filled, too
It’s been a heavy, lonely year on so many fronts. And yet, it’s been a year where we’ve experienced God’s love through His body – sometimes in the most random encounters that could’ve only been known to Him and orchestrated by His grace.
It’s been a year where we’ve vulnerably asked for prayer, all the while twisting inside with discomfort. It’s been a year of asking God hard questions and choosing to trust His goodness and mercy.
It’s been a year of last-minute provision, and a year of surrendering our idea of what is good, and finding He is good.
I sometimes wonder what God is doing with us, with our family. I’ve never known so much longing for a better country, but I’ve also never had so much peace about His nearness in our life here.
And tonight, we have Mr. Moon and stars in the sky, scrawled-out maps, candy, and tea. There is just enough milk and too many eggs and three liters of half and half. Still no tomato sauce. I’m winning at life, I tell you.It's been a year of surrendering our idea of what is good, and finding He is good.Click To Tweet