The Other Side of the Present

It’s been far too long. Post after post has resonated through my brain, and yet I’ve found myself in a season of space – long, busy, wide open space.

In October of this past year, my husband, Chris, accepted a new position with Edward Jones that would relocate our family to Ohio. This is something that both of us were excited to do, since my immediate family (and some extended) live in Ohio. While living in Iowa, the distance between us and the two families between whom we were divided had been a difficult thing to span.

So we talked – what it would look like for us to move to Colorado (where my husband’s parents currently live and his totally beloved home state), what it would look like for us to move to Ohio, what it would look like for us to stay put in Iowa. And we talked…and talked, and we prayed…and prayed.

Chris had been interested in altering his career path towards a holistic financial planner role for many months by time the idea presented itself. Through our prayer and discussions, Chris found himself being encouraged by an Edward Jones recruiter to go ahead and begin the application process with the company. We inched forward. Phone calls led to interviews, led to job offer, led to more waiting and discussing and receiving offers from two other companies in Ohio and finally after much counsel and prayer, those initial phone calls led to Chris accepting the job as offered with Edward Jones in Ohio.

That was back in October, you know, in the midst of a season of lots of other fun and super noteworthy and memorable moments of life: Elias’ first birthday party, my sister-in-law’s wedding, Chris and my 5th wedding anniversary celebration. And then this decision.

What followed seems a sheer blur in my head. The end of October through the middle of December saw us working crazily on this first home of ours, a home that had already seen a great deal of transformation. (It’s difficult to picture that a place so near and dear to your heart could ever need anything to make it better for the next person. It already houses irreplaceable memories: deepened friendships, laughter and love in our marriage…and sometimes disagreements, bringing our first child home and seeing him grow and change there: first laughs, first sicknesses, first rolling over, first crawling, first bites of food, first sweet treats, first steps. What else could I possibly add of value to those walls that already housed so much good? And yet, we assessed and hammered, and fixed to make it about the cutest it had ever been.) We also set to handing over responsibilities both through Chris’ job with his current employer and mine with our church children’s ministry. We went out nearly every evening to try to treasure every relationship near us before we could no longer easily go out to eat with these precious people. And by the time December 20 rolled around, we rolled out of Iowa: our home sold, our farewells said. While I felt excitement to be around family again, my heart ached at the loss of the community I loved.

And so here we are – March 8th. Six months have passed since my last post; it would seem I’d have great insights to share and truths to unveil. And I truly could share time after time of the Lord’s faithfulness to us so far. We officially move into our new home this weekend – much sooner than we had anticipated. Chris’ job has been very good to us so far. He’s passed the exams that he has needed to pass. He’s been able to do some work on the new home to get it up and running. I’ve been able to enjoy much more family time. We’ve been here to see the births of two new babies into the family: Roman Witt Sheppard and Esther Kay Balch. Finances have been provided. Love has been given. Potential friends have arisen. The Lord has been immensely good.

And yet I still find myself in the gray…the haze between what was and what will be. It’s here that the evil one relentlessly tries to derail me while the Holy One infinitely more reminds me that I am His – that as I trust Him, He will make these hidden roads straight before me.

I’m reminded of the words found in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” It reminds me that this in between – this gray – is not so bad. These words remind me that I have all that I need to be successful in this state. The Word of the Lord Almighty lights my feet so I can see where I step and my path so that I can see just enough ahead so that I know the next right step. And shouldn’t that be enough?

No, I don’t believe I’ve said anything profound, but I’ve said something I need to say. Sometimes life is blurry. Sometimes you feel like you should be further along on this journey than you are, but what I continue to hear the Lord tell me here and now is that I’m okay. I’m okay in the in between. He hasn’t left my side, nor will he – ever. My God doesn’t break His promises to me.

And so I find myself on the other side of the present – feeling like a blink of the eye ago held me in my cute first little home in Grimes, Iowa, surrounded by community and life that we loved. One blink, and now here I am in a new present – one I can’t predict as easily as I could before now. But I can be full of hope as I trust in the Lord. Our presents will change, but because the Lord does not, we can stand confidently in each one – not because we find ourselves more bold or brave than we had anticipated but because He shows Himself more faithful and good than we had known. And this is reason to celebrate in the gray and enjoy the abundant gifts that we find in that place.