September 1st. The beginning of a month I have always loved (hello…back to school, changing leaves and my Birthday all in one month?!?!). This day took on a new meaning 3 years ago. Now it is a bit of a marker for me. On this day I am grateful for change and the passage of time and the freshness of what feels like a new season. I don’t say much on my blog or my social media accounts about what I have walked through over the last few years. If you know me in person, you know I am pretty open and actually like to tell my story (when the time and place is right) because it is an account of God’s goodness and faithfulness. I recently told the story to a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time and as I spoke I was once again totally overcome and in awe of all that God has done in my life.
For the sake of context, I’ll share a few details. On this day 3 years ago, I moved to a new house after coming to the realization that the situation I had been in for about four and a half years was not okay (that is a massive understatement…but I don’t want to dive in too deep here…). I had become so severely depressed and anxious that I could hardly function. I didn’t even recognize myself. The craziest thing was how quickly it all happened. It was like something finally clicked in my brain, and once I knew I had to go, it happened pretty fast (like…a week).
I wrote the following a few weeks ago, before moving from the house that was one of many miracles;
“It is my last morning in this house. I have been here for nearly 3 years. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around the light years of difference between my life then and my life now. Between myself then and myself now. I am an entirely different person. And yet, so very much the same.
A lovely friend told me a few weeks ago that her second move after splitting up with her husband was the hardest one. I didn’t think that had much personal significance for me. But….last night I had a bit of a breakdown as I reflected back on what this place has meant. I saw myself walking up the steps and looking at the cute little white picket fence for the first time. It felt like a mirage – like I had been stumbling through a harsh and difficult desert, and it looked so inviting and beautiful. I never thought I would get the place. I thought they would pick someone else – why would they want me to live there? I was a complete disaster.
I remember stopping my car in a parking lot the next day so I could answer my phone and hear the guy tell me that everything had gone through and the place was mine. I remember weeping on the phone, grateful, shocked, relieved….oh, the relief. I had taken so many risks already. If this place hadn’t gone through, I had no backup plan. I had only a few days before it would be time to move, and certainly no time to continue searching.
This house has been a nest. I began here as an egg. Those early months were just incubation. God covered me with His warmth and protection and brought me back to life. I had been dead for such a long time. He used my new church community to help me break through the shell. I think writing Flourish was my tiny little baby bird body, finally emerging from the remains of the shell, tired and bedraggled, but so full of life and promise.
Now I sit here, picturing myself as a bird about to jump out of the nest. I am scared. I am excited. I can’t believe I am leaving this place. This house has meant so much to me.”
And now…I am all moved (though not even close to being all unpacked…good grief…why is moving so much work???) and starting to feel settled, and my new place certainly does feel like home. And what my friend said? She was right. In a lot of ways, this move was harder.
3 years ago I was in pure survival mode. I was running on caffeine and adrenaline and I look back and seriously do not even understand how I made it through. My incredible family and friends rallied around me (I have tears streaming down my face thinking about just how loved and supported I was. And am.) and carried me out of that life and into a safe place.
I could write paragraph after paragraph telling you about all the amazing ways God took care of me and nurtured me back to health (in every way) in that house…how He breathed life into hopes and dreams that I thought had died…how He inspired me to start writing again…how He was with me as I wrestled every single song from Flourish out of myself in that living room. So much happened in me when I lived there. And it was actually really hard to let it go.
Moving felt like just that – letting go. Like jumping out of the nest. I have been getting used to jumping lately, but this was a big one. The great news is that God is good everywhere. I think I needed to physically move so I could finally emotionally let go. What happened to me does not define me and I keep learning more about how God can take anything – even something terrible – and turn it into something good.
And so I say “Hello September…I’m glad you’re here again. Bring on the autumn air and the changing leaves, bring on the Birthday cake (black forest, please…) and the excitement of back to school, and bring on all the good things I know God has in store for me in this new season.”