If you'd told me 6 months ago where I'd be today, I would've belly laughed at you.
If you'd sat down with me in our enormous home, sipping coffee as we overlooked the expansive landscape that was our "back yard," and said:
"Mandy, in 6 months time, your life will be completely opposite what it is now: Your home will be a third of the size, you'll have no friends, no neighbors over regularly for bonfires, and no neighborhood kids running around. No longer will your trampoline be a gathering place for gaggles of kids, your back yard will be a 20 x 30 foot fenced space, and almost everything that made up "you" will be gone.
5 of your 6 kids will be enrolled in public school, you won't have a church home where you're actively involved, and the hollowness in your heart will be almost more than you can bear.
No Tuesday night women's Bible studies where you get to watch relationships mend and grow as you share the Word and pray over the women you've come to love dearly like family.
Your husband will thrive and soar in his new vocation, finally having a calling on his life that makes a diference in the world. Your kids will be gone 8 hours of the day, and the deafening silence both in your home and in your heart will nearly break you.
But you'll be exactly where you're meant to be."
Well, if you'd said all that, I would have kindly asked you to leave.
And I wouldn't have believed you.
But here I am...3 months into this move and all of these things are now my reality.
Not every bit of the change is terrible, but so much change at once has buckeld my knees at times.
What a reality check to learn how I derived my meaning and purpose. I'd hazard a guess that I put waaaaay too much stock in what I did over who God says I am.
It was all stripped away. Just like *that.*
Women's ministry leader? Now we don't even have a church we call home. We're still a bit unsettled in that area, and seeking where we "fit."
Active community member? No longer is my husband on the soccer board or are we friends with countless members of our commuinity. No longer are we recognized wherever we go as that "big family with all the kids."
Homeschooler? Almost all of my kids are now enrolled in public school and starring their homework is no longer on my to-do list. No longer do I get to see those "A-Ha" moments as they happen.
Strong-willed Wife? With my husband's newfound career came a new-found confidence and he is really stepping up as the leader of our family. Sounds great until I have to swallow my pride and take my rightful position.
Now my days are filled with different tasks and I hold a different purpose. I get kids up, fed and ready and then deliver them to a building of strangers who do what I couldn't.
There is no humility like taking your children to someone you don't know and humbly admitting, "You will do this better than I can."
There's no wound like admitting something that once fulfilled you and gave you purpose must die for something else to come to life.
There's no fear like the FEAR that rises as you wave goodbye to your babies and send them off, all the while ignoring your churning stomach and the tears threatening to fall.
There's no gut-wrenching feeling like assuring your littles that school is "good" as they cry that they don't want to go back, when you're not even 100% confident in your decision to send them.
There's no loneliness like looking around at unfamiliar landscape all around you. Figuratively and literally.
There's no discomfort like the pruning process where God strips you of almost everything and says, "This is for your good."
And theres no where else I'd truly rather be than where He leads me.
Depsite it all...the sadness, the loneliness, the fear, the anxiety...I trust Him when He says He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11).
I also believe it when He tells me that He is working it all out for my good (Romand 8:28).
This is the first, tough step of many in a long road that will lead to good. I'm trusting in that.