i have to admit, people: i'm exhausted. the last year has been one long tiring situation after another. we've been living out of suitcases for nearly nine months. i haven't seen some of the things i used regularly (books, sewing machine, etc.) in a year. we've been from florida to north carolina to st. pete to novorossysk and all the way back around the horn again. my kids call every place "home" because they don't know the difference between a place you crash and the place you live.
and now here we are, about three weeks past our expiration date ("two weeks is all it will take," we told my brother zac and his wife rachel when we came down to stay with them. ha. two weeks my foot), getting ready to move into a new apartment. art has found a job (albeit an extremely wretched one that he compares to prison) and we have found a place to call our own for the terms of a 12-month lease. it's about time. i'm tired!
but now that the stress of wondering if we'll ever feel normal again is past, i've been left to ponder the purpose of the last year. i know a lot of people will question the point of all this frenzied globe-trotting, will wonder why after all the planning and packing and gushing about our future in russia we came back quickly and rather unpleasantly. why after all my griping about florida we would come back voluntarily. etc.
the answer to that is neither simple nor clear. and ultimately only God knows the true reasons He brings us through certain things, reasons we may never fully know. the only thing we can do is try and actually learn from the things we've experienced. and for me, personally, the thing i've experienced the most regularly this last year is being humbled. as a person intent on doing things myself, i find it difficult to accept the help of others. and yet we relied on the hospitality of so many people this last year. God left me with no choice when it came to my sojourn alone with an expired visa; ilya and ira gromov and the people they called in moscow to be on standby, the random lebanese guy, art's mom, pastor boris...i could not have possibly been my normal stubborn independent self during that time and i felt my own ignorant helplessness very keenly. and yet despite my awkwardness at the new and daunting task of accepting help with humility it was comforting to know there were people willing to help. the generosity of friends and family i find awesome; the generosity of strangers is astounding.
and now here we are, starting from scratch, the majority of the things it took us years to accumulate or afford sold off at a goodwill in south florida, and yet i can't help but think that we have so much! perhaps not in measurable things like nice furniture or money to burn, but in the things that matter we are rich. we have people who rallied to help when we were helpless. we were held up in prayer by friends, family, and strangers when life seemed grim. we've been showered with random bits of household items to make our empty place feel more like home. and every step along the way we have had beds to sleep in, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
-I Timothy 6:8
"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me. Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"