I Just Thought Things Would Be Different

Flashback to five years ago.

I was pregnant with Annika, heart and belly swollen up with the pressing of a miracle on it's way.  I would walk with my hands rested just above the tips of her little toes while she waited, upside-down and completely unknowing, to enter my world. I was filled, in so many ways, with complete wonder.

The yellow flowers climbing the wall outside the hospital were especially mysterious to me because I had read (in my extensive research of drug-free childbirth) that my senses would be heightened to ultra-sensitive levels during labor.  I imagined passing them and wondered, would the yellow be more yellow? Would the fading San Antonio summer be full of smells I'd never noticed before?

In reality, labor hit me hard and fast and there was no loveliness when Josh pulled me from the car in front of the yellow flowers - me, sweating and crying and vomiting again on the sidewalk. There was no tenderness in the unfathomable pain that wracked my body.  No quiet rest between contractions, no time to ponder or pray, no candles or Sigur Ros or kissing my husband. (That's a thing in natural child-birth, just fyi.)

Despite all my confidence and preparation, labor was still extremely painful and hard. Annika was still taken away shortly after birth and slept her first nights in the NICU.  I still spent the first days of her life in a slightly numb cloud of physical and emotional recovery.

It was all wonderful in it's own way, but it wasn't what I expected.

You'd think I might have learned my lesson.

But here I am, five years later and eight months into life here in Seattle, asking in the quiet moments why I can't seem to be at peace here, and realizing that it (yet again) has everything to do with my own expectations.

It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't been so dang happy in Arkansas. There is no lack of happiness here in Seattle, that's not the true issue.  There is no lack of a great church or sweet house or friends or life.  There are all of those things, there is just some thing - in me - that isn't here.

And the lack of that thing?  It stretches out into other things and makes them lacking, too.

A Bible sitting on the table with old mail piled on top.  My recipe books hidden away in a cabinet over the fridge.  A garden full of weeds, choking out the harvest. A journal (and blog) empty of the soul-digging that keeps my head clear and wheels turning.

It is only in Advent that I have come into these quiet moments and stayed long enough for answers.  It is in Advent that I have remembered God in the garden, walking, seeking, asking me always... "Child, where are you?"

So I have said, as I always must, "Lord, I am here."

And as he pulls me out from behind the bushes, into the light, into His light, I squirm and mumble and finally spill... "God, I just thought things were going to be so different than they are."

I thought I was going to be homeschooling.  Gardening.  Volunteering in the city and camping in the mountains. Urban in the cool, strangely non-urban way that Seattle people are. I thought I'd be blogging often and finally navigating a career in writing. I thought I was going to be growing and changing in all of those ways.

I thought Fayetteville was the beautiful labor. I thought Seattle would be the birth.

But instead I am pretty much the same girl I was eight months ago, with less of a tan.

I'm not that good at gardening, my daughter is going to public school next year, and I feel like I had an awkward break-up with my blog. I find that I don't want to be urban, I just want to hang out with my chickens and next-door neighbors.  I still just want to love God and love people in a normal, everyday way that looks pretty much the same way it did in Arkansas.

And even though there shouldn't be too much wrong with that, I find myself feeling so wrong and restless and wondering when I'll "find myself" here. It's like an identity crisis, possibly just because I expected my identity to change in some fast and awesome way as soon as we drove past the Space Needle.

It didn't.

I still feel a whole lot like.... me.

So, I need to ask him why my heart feels like its laboring in such an unpleasant and unexpected way. I need to just walk with him in the coolness of the garden and talk with him about it.  But instead, I feel like I'm ducking behind bushes and hiding a nakedness that I've been told should shame me.  Again and again, I need him to draw me out and question where I found my "truths."

I see him wrapping his first children in skins, covering their nakedness and shame with unnecessary grace.  Even after they trusted lies, even after they sought to control their own destiny, even after they ran away and wallowed in their own regret.

I hear him asking, the same question echoing throughout the hearts of human history, "Child, where are you?"

And I come forth so that he might wrap me up, too.  

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  1. Oh friend. We are so similar. Virtual hug from one also struggling with these questions after so much moving and...laboring. Sigh.

    1. Hah, Aubry, I can sense the literal in your words ;) Virtual hug back!

  2. hello there :) i am always so happy to see that you have posted something and excited because i just know u will blow me away with your words...and as always you have done just that and more ... where do u find them...? these beautiful amazing heart and soul words of yours...? i can only dream of ever being able to write as u do... alas i only have my ordinary old words :) Dear friend that i hardly know ... i can feel your struggle with every lovely word u have used... there must be some lesson u still need to learn in this season... i will pray for u [and for myself too] that our hearts will be open to those lessons and that we will grow in the direction we need to go... 'life' can be so very disappointing sometimes... all we can do is count our blessings and surrender instead of holding on so tight to what hurts us ... my new motto ... find a new dream #letgo

    1. I love your words, too, Charmaine. Thank you for being such a sweet reader with such encouragement always! You are right... we can't expect to BE in the perfect place, all we can ask is that we are growing in the right direction. <3

  3. oh girl! me in a nut shell! I Love where we are, i love CLC, i love "W...". but im away from family, Jayde has not slept through the night in almost 2 mo. my effort towards health are seemingly void. I hear the same thing all the time, from the dr. ! i want to feel good! i feel like i may have labored for years... I need the birth of my health, the birth of my dreams, The birth of Jesus more inside of me. Jaded and a little calloused i sit, but i look to mountains and know my help is coming.
    Its Joy that needs to flurish, not circumstantial happiness.

    1. It's surprising how many can relate and from so many different stories! I'm so sorry you can't get just the simple satisfaction of feeling healthy :( That is really hard. Hoping with you for the birth of all those good things. I miss all of you so much!


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