As I stared blankly ahead into the snow covered hills and ashen skyline, my mind reeled with reflections of this past year and the countless changes that have occurred. Beginnings, endings, failures, successes and all of the in betweens.
I thought about how this move to Montana had changed and shaped me. Us. How I felt like I had fallen flat and failed on so many levels, yet maybe those failures were successes in their own ways. How our family had changed, evolved, and grown through it all.
We moved across, and into, the country for a change. But I don’t think anyone could have ever explained what that change would entail until we experienced it for ourselves, even if they had known what the future would hold.
No one could have told me what it would feel like to step into full-time ministry, trusting God to provide for my family, and asking others to join us in that. The mix of fear, excitement, joy, faith, sadness, doubt that came with raising financial support… How incredible it would be to watch at-risk teenage girls grow in their faith as they faced adventure and challenge through rock climbing, or how they would shatter my preconceived notions of what a girls group home was like. How lonely it would feel to serve in this foreign work territory anywhere from 50 to 70 hours a week while my husband and kids were at home facing the challenges of adjusting to a new house, lifestyle, and all that they/we knew, far away from our family support. The fun and fulfillment that would be had in learning and serving at a Christian adventure camp with many beautiful, faithful leaders, versus the sadness and isolation that would be felt each and every moment, leaving my overwhelmed husband to work, homeschool and care for two young kids who desperately wanted their Mommy back, leaving before they awoke (or crying as I left) and arriving back home as they prepared for bed. Or the conflict, confusion and guilt that I would feel when I tried to decide whether to stay in ministry or be home with my family, then after much deliberation and prayer, decided that my family needed me home, and I was not fully serving anyone in my current state of being. How on the one hand, I knew how deeply I was needed at home, on the other I felt that I had moved all the way to Montana only to let down my supporters, myself and Bighorn family and friends (resulting in the guilt and self-doubt that I continue to carry). Yet… Today, I finally saw in that “failure”, the success to show my children that sometimes, often times, the right decisions aren’t easy.
Sometimes, “failing” leads to grace.
I don’t have it anywhere close to figured out. My depression still gets the best of me and I’ve been battling a heavy, dark cloud for far too many months now. I get sad and mad that this disease robs me of the emotions that I want to feel and that God doesn’t fix it. Fix me. Country life has completely won me over as has an overwhelming passion and love for horses that I never knew I had, and in a cruel twist of fate, this peace that they bring is now being taken by a horrible allergic reaction to their hay. We spent too much money to figure out what has been causing my health issues only to get one simple explanation (nerve damage caused foot drop) and far more questions (no idea what’s causing everything else). Some days we question the validity of our efforts in homeschooling as we beat our heads into the wall over a simple concept. And then some days we see the light in why we are doing what we’re doing, whether that be a conversation with a public school family and the struggle they’re facing, the ability to adapt our school schedule to family visits, or the smiles on the kids faces when they learn/master something new, often times that never would’ve been taught or understood otherwise (or in Lulu’s case she’d be waiting at least another year to learn). Our new church family has helped and supported us in spite of and in light of, our newness when I’ve needed it the most, in ways that would be unheard of in the city. We long for the leadership and teaching of our pastor in Utah. We miss our family dearly and at the same time now feel most at home in Montana, where the tranquility and work of the small town country life has re-shaped our souls…
And in it all, all the while, we’re learning, changing, growing. I wouldn’t say I’m falling or failing gracefully, but I would most definitely say I’m failing to grace. The concept of that may not make sense, and maybe it’s not supposed to. We all fail. And in all of those failures there is some sort of success if we can just see it as such. But moreover, in all that we learn, all that we do, and all that we are, there is a whole lot of grace.
As our (Utah) home pastor puts it best “Grace and Peace”. Cheers to failing (into the receipt of) grace…