We move to Africa in 2 weeks and that is really setting in today. As I sit and type in a folding lawn chair I swiped from downstairs because we sold most everything you can sit on in our place I feel completely overwhelmed. The bizarre part is that at the same moment I am feeling exhausted and depleted I feel recharged, encouraged, and at peace. That is a testament to Jesus.
The official term for this time is transition and although we were warned about the chaos, mixed emotions, and busyness I somehow thought it would not be as crazy as it has been. For about a week we have been busy doing something to prepare to leave almost every second from when we wake up until we go to bed and there have been at least 3 days when I did not shower until after Anni went to bed. Tonight I am forgoing some of the seemingly never-ending to-do list to reflect because I need to pause long enough to catch my breath and appreciate everything that surrounds me. For the last two days we have had our moving sale and I have bargained prices with strangers and friends for most of what we have accumulated over the last 7 years of marriage (and longer for our personal stuff). I have actually been surprised that I am not more attached to my stuff. This is unlike me as I like stuff, I sometimes have anxiety about getting rid of things “I might need someday” but again God is good because He has taught me the cleansing nature of purging. I actually have been joyful to see other people want to use something that really I have been selfishly holding onto (clothes I have not worn in 2 years, and really how many purses does one girl need?). I probably have bored some unsuspecting bargain shoppers with the stories attached to various pieces of furniture but we chatted it up with tons of people and again were reminded of how much we love this neighborhood.

Most of the stuff I have felt little attachment to with the exception of my car. Now, anyone who has seen the Blazer recently might wonder how I could love a car that had a bumper held on by super glue (thanks J), leaked water onto your lap whenever it rained, and seemed to break down often. I believe in beauty from ashes, in principle I loved my hard working, urban-scarred, battered, and wounded gas-guzzler. I guess it has nothing to do with the car itself but more with the memories I have with Old Blue. As I mentioned the car sold within a few hours and as is typical in the last few days I had no time to think or feel but only to act, to quickly clean out my junk from the car I had for 10 years and hand over the keys. Now that the car is no more I need to at least thank my old, falling apart ride for the memories. Here goes…..I kissed Jason for the first time in that car, my dad drove it down to U of I and handed me the keys my sophomore year and I then drove it around for an hour (gas was only 99 cents a gallon back in the day) with the seat heater accidentally on full blast on an 80 degree day thinking “man, leather seats are sure hot”, the first time Jason met my parents he was driving it and rear ended my Dad’s new Cadillac (my brother; who was sitting in the back seat quickly yelled, “Dude, get the F#$@ out of the car and run” while I sobbed “you hit my dad’s car”-welcome to the fam Jason!), it was the only car owned by a college kid that, at one point, had 2 car seats and one booster seat to bus the kids from the homeless shelter around, it was decorated as a house in the Homecoming parade for Habitat for Humanity, Jason and I took a road trip out West and hit about 6 national parks to hike and camp, my girlfriends and I would drive out in the corn fields and watch for shooting stars and talk relationships and love until we fell asleep in the back, after Jason spent hours cleaning it my students spilled vanilla shake all down the seats in the back, I ran out of gas driving back to college and Jason got to be my knight in shining armour who rode in on his silver Ford Escort with a gas can to rescue me, when I lived in Atlanta my roommates and I got lost and then got a flat on our first night there and we found out that Southern Hospitality is an awesome thing, I clutched the hand bars on the roof and screamed the whole way to Swedish Covenant Hospital in labor, and we drove Annikah home for the first time in my car with me holding her little head up because we did not properly attach the carseat straps while I insisted Jason drive 15 miles an hour. So to you; Old Blue, thanks for everything and may you have a happy existence in your new life. back to reflections…..

Gratefulness does not begin to describe how I feel today about God’s provision for me. He has a plan for all of us and while not easy it is best. I need to record this right now, in the midst of it, because I know that there will be some hardship ahead for our family and too often in difficulty I complain and forget the good gifts I have been graciously given. The material comfort we know will be challenged and while for some that is not difficult I must admit for me that is a daunting trial. There is still a power outage where we are set to live that has been going on for weeks and after speaking with a team member they are projecting it to continue for months. Months? Right now I cannot deal with that, or even think too much about it except that I know God will be there. He revealed clearly to us in the last week that although things may be tough He cares about us and He will provide. Case in point, we found a fabulous loving home for Bonita, we sold our car, we have been blessed financially by our sale, we found a renter so we can keep our condo for now, Annikah slept almost 4 hours today (This has NEVER HAPPENED! and she slept just long enough for us to pack up everything from the moving sale), it started raining 5 minutes after we sold the last of our furniture, and friends brought us meals 2 days in a row.

I was sitting this morning in a room with no couches or chairs, just a TV cabinet and a coffee table and scattered with packed boxes of random stuff like pants and picture frames and after a moment of feeling a bit sorry that I no longer owned all the stuff that once happily occupied the room I realized that still, even with next to nothing that formerly filled this space I still own more than 90% of the world’s population. I am so wealthy, I have all that I need, I do not worry in desperation about how to feed my daughter each day. In fact, we have such an amazing community of family and friends that people have brought us meals, sorted and helped us organize, loaned us cars, called to ask what they can do, stopped over, worked in the blazing heat all day at our moving sale expecting nothing in return, came and bought our stuff paying double what it was worth, played with Annikah so we could get more done with minimal stress, sent us encouraging emails, and prayed for us. All of this in the midst of all of your own busy lives, with the demands of your jobs, kids, families, stresses, grief, joys, important events, and change. You are taking the time to bless us as we embark on this crazy adventure: Thank You. As I type this I am already crying like …….well crying like me because that is what I do. I cry. A lot. I cry because I just cannot lie, even to myself about how much I feel loved and terrified and excited and at peace right now. This is helping me to leave well, as they say.
“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:17
  1. Anonymous says:

    I am crying now too. šŸ™‚ I started when you were saying goodbye to your car…you have such a gift with words and putting your feelings down. YOur whole post was very touching. God has blessed you deeply!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rox- you always have a family of friends here in Chicago. We will be praying for you to find your path and to continue to realize God’s will in your life. You are so brave, and we are all so proud to know you! I can’t wait to hear about your experiences when you get where you’re going…so much love!! xo-M

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Though I am not moving to Africa, I often contemplate letting go of “things” so as to focus on the gifts that surround me each day – you’ve really inspired me to just go for it. So glad to be able to peak into your life again! :)Liz šŸ™‚