8 months and 5 days. We said goodbye to everything I’ve ever known and the people I held most dear to me eight months and five days ago. We loaded up our belongings and made a 16 hour trip (that should have been 13) to Tennessee with a belief that this was what God had for us. It started long before that day with gentle nudges and still small voices. It was confirmed through words from friends, circumstances changing and opportunities offered. So we took the leap. 

But it will forever be the hardest thing I’ve experienced to date. This time has challenged me in ways I never thought possible. It has stretched my understanding to new levels and it has deepened my faith in ways I never knew possible. 

I like control. I thrive on routine and I demand perfection from myself far too often. New makes me nervous on a small scale. But when it’s literally every single aspect of your life… Tears in grocery stores and gas stations, wrong turns and missed exits- this has been my life the last 8 months and 5 days. Two moves and two schools for three of the four kids. Two churches and new neighborhoods- this all hits hard when you’ve lived your life in one home at one church and one school. 

Freedom House was the first place where we felt like we were “home”. We visited several churches, but they never felt like we could invest and plant our lives there. In June, after only attending for two weeks, six guys from FH came and helped us move into our new home. It would have just been me and two family members if they had not showed up. Those men had us moved in in under 2 hours. And the kindness they showed to us in time of need made me want to me a part of a church family that cares about the little stuff. Because the little stuff is sometimes the big stuff to people. 

Going to a new church is hard. Everyone has friends and their group and their people. I was so used to being in the center of All The Things and planning most of the functions, that I never realized that I would miss it so very deeply. I am loud. I am obnoxious sometimes. I laugh a lot. Because why not? Life is hard most of the time. Laughing should be a daily part of life. Not many people can handle my loudness plus 4 kids because quiet just doesn’t happen unless they are sleeping. And even then, let’s face it, I have no inside voice. 

But tonight, eight months and five days after moving to Knoxville, I found my place. I felt like I was a part of something. I felt loved. I felt peace. And it was in the midst of 51 people, 33 of which were kids. There were people in every inch of our new home. And my heart about burst with the overwhelming joy I had. 

I messed up the homemade rolls I had been planning all week. I forgot the yeast, so half the batch went into the trash. So, I made a cake instead. Except, it fell apart. Literally split in two while we were setting the table. And I caught it with my hand. Then we served it from a bowl because there was no saving it. 

It was awful. I felt like I ruined it. I tried so hard and cakes are totally my thing and I completely messed it up. 

But then everyone was there and we were all laughing and eating and suddenly the rolls didn’t matter, because crescent rolls taste good with honey cinnamon butter too. And the cake got eaten, even though it wasn’t pretty and we didn’t really need it anyway because Tiffany’s pudding was to die for. And the food wasn’t the center of everything anyway. The people were. There were babies crying and being passed around. There were skinned knees and snotty noses. There were video games and trampolines and laughter. Oh so much laughter. Belly aching, side splitting laughter. And I was Home. Tonight my house became a home. Not because of the stuff and the food, but because of the people. The company. The people that surrounded my family and accepted us as one of their own. 

Tonight I found my place. I don’t pretend to think that there won’t be more hard times and more to get used to, but I do believe that from this point forward, trust will be easier. Faith in knowing what He has for us is greater than what we left behind. Faith that He is not done with us. Trust in his promise that He will fulfill his purpose for me. 

So, if you find yourself smack dab in the middle of Hard with Difficulty staring you in the face. Hold on my friend. Speak life to your situation. Choose to believe the Truth and not just what you see. Trust His timing and His heart. Because He is a GOOD father and He is faithful and just. And I believe that He is working all things together for the good of those that love him and are called according to His purpose. And as my Pastor says, if you are not there yet, just hold on, because “You are in the middle of a miracle.”