The other day, I bumped into an acquaintance and after chatting a bit, she asked, “So . . . did you stop blogging?” I’ve answered this question at least a dozen times as of late.
Truth be told, I don’t really know how to answer because no, not really. But yes, I guess. For a time.
I’m not even sure where to begin on summing up 2016 but this I can say: it came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.
Last year was the single most difficult year our family has walked since becoming a family 13 years ago.
Have you ever had a year like that? A year when you just know you won’t be sad to see the ball drop on Time’s Square and start over again?
Last year, my marriage struggled to the point I wasn’t sure it was repairable.
Last year, things were said about us and to us that stung the soul.
Last year, we made a whole lot of mistakes.
Last year, we made a whole lot of hard, but necessary, changes. Much like ripping off a bandage and exposing fresh skin that wasn’t really ready for the world but had to be exposed nonetheless, these changes nudged at us for a few years before we had the courage to obey.
We enrolled our children in different schools. We moved out of the home we had inhabited for ten years. We began attending a new church.
Nothing was the same, really. Except God – and of course, our family. Those six remain.
We’ve spent eight months living in an apartment while our home is being built and I won’t even begin to complain about it because really? Aleppo, people. That’s suffering. Not our family of five and two big dogs living in an apartment.
Yet life is relative and this time all crammed together has been bitter and sweet all at once.
As for writing . . . when you find yourself face-to-face with a family crisis, you do only what you can possibly do: you stop everything. You commit to nothing that doesn’t involve ministering to the physical and emotional needs of those you hold most dear.
You put your own desires and longings on hold because who are you if you don’t do what you say?
Through this destruction, this tearing down of all we really knew, we assessed the rubble at our feet and asked, “Now what?”
We began to rebuild. Because, really . . . what choice did we have?
We forgave those who uttered words that stung – and forgave ourselves as well.
We received good counseling that began to heal a broken marriage.
We re-assessed and simplified because we really had no choice.
This is where the healing begins.
Here’s the thing: not everyone will understand your choices. That’s OK. They’re not their choices to make.You’re responsible for what God calls your family to do. Other people are responsible for what God calls their family to do. All are good and right if this is where God is leading but remember that all paths will not look the same. Thank God. Literally.
And when it’s time to frame your family’s new house, you select Bible verses that mean something to you all. You write them on Post-It notes. You pack a bag of Sharpies.
And you write scripture on the beams so the word of God can literally be found inside the walls.
Which, of course, doesn’t mean this house will be free of pain. Goodness. I’m not that naive.
For every house is built by someone but God is the builder of everything. – Hebrews 3:4
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. – Matthew 7:24-25
Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. – Proverbs 24:2
We move to our new house in a little over two weeks. A new transition is upon us.
But we move forward in trust, in the knowing this is where we are led and where we will go. A little more tattered and torn but a little more real.
Do I plan to keep blogging? Yes. I look forward to doing more writing – both here and on the Facebook page. That seems a little bit easier to manage these days.
I’ve also opened my calendar to accepting speaking engagements again and my next book, Becoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships is being released by Abingdon Press on February 21. This will include a six-series DVD teaching, a participant’s guide and a leader’s guide. I would love to speak to your women’s group so please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In the meantime, what scripture is written inside the walls of your heart as of late? I would love to hear.
Get Natalie in your inbox!
Liked this post? Get more just like it delivered directly to your inbox. It's the best way to stay in touch to these kinds of conversations!
I look forward to connecting with you!