of durable joy

It’s been a tough year for us. Have I mentioned that? Without pausing to analyze whether it ought or oughtn’t to have been a tough year, I admit simply that it was. It was harder than I expected to dismantle our home, sell our belongings, and leave our happy little vintage apartment in Massachusetts. I am a little ashamed to tell you that I cried over a Kitchen Aid mixer and a green lamp, but it is true. I stood in our empty bedroom with its big sunny windows and its view of green pasture and cried my eyes out the day we shipped our boxes. Whew. It’s a relief to admit that, actually.

Then came the partings from our dear friends, our church family, our two big happy families with everyone living close to each other and in and out of each other’s homes and lives–like family should be. And through it all the endless, expensive, and complicated details of an international move. It felt like one headache after another, Alex bearing most of them. Shipping and passports and visas and tickets and medical records and banks and bills. Being pregnant with Harriet was hard, too. I had morning sickness so badly that I had to go on medication. I have sciatic nerve problems in my hip so walking pregnant is really painful. The whole time I was exhausted.

Norah says goodbye to her best buddies

Then we arrived and everything was new and difficult all at once. We camped in a cold empty flat for several weeks until our boxes came. We slowly learned our way around. We waited for time to pass and things to settle. Daily life required a lot of keeping calm and carrying on. At this point I could hardly walk to the bus stop. I wrestled with homesickness, loneliness, and fears about the future–everything from isolation (will we ever settle anywhere?) to mental health (am I losing my grip?) to finances. And the truth is I often felt quite sorry for myself.

Why am I writing out my grievance list?  Because it forms the background for what I am learning. Some weeks ago as I began to emerge from the fog of post-partum blues and sleep deprivation, I began to feel stirrings in my heart and mind–as though God was lifting my head (from its fixed position facing my navel) and reminding me of certain things I ought to know. Of his unending love for me. Of the high calling of being wife and being mommy in this little family. Of the reservoir of strength, wisdom, and help available to me in him as I attempt to meet it. Of his many good and precious promises, and the many good gifts he has lavished on my head. Of my permanent home (can I decorate it, God?) and where it will be. Durable joys. These are durable joys.

I want a joy that won’t wear out from daily use. Joy woven from the sturdy cords of confidence in the promises that are yes in Jesus.

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6 Responses to of durable joy

  1. Auntie Candace says:

    I can so identify with the ‘can I decorate it God?’ comment. Even though He could give me everything I didn’t know I ever wanted! No more decorating faux pas or personal insecurities for me, just bliss. Imagine the most exquisite design & multiply it by infinity. Loved your post. So real.

  2. Susan says:

    I love how you have shared the real emotions of moving and adapting to a new country. I pray that you will thrive while in Oxford – you and your precious family.

    I’m reading this from Zurich – where thankfully I don’t have to try too hard to speak German, as so many people speak English. With that thought in mind, I’m so glad you don’t have a language barrier to deal with. Although in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us 🙂

  3. Peggy says:

    “I want a joy that won’t wear out from daily use. Joy woven from the sturdy cords of confidence in the promises that are yes in Jesus.” [You are a] budding amazing writer..
    I love you friend, and thank God for you and your beautiful family…we were truly privileged to have you as part of our church family..you will always be a part in our hearts and in reality!
    I was convinced about [husband] being famous one day, and now I think you will be too, from your writing…don’t let that go to your pretty head, but DO keep it up!


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