If you’ve kept up with our lives for the last 8 months, I don’t think that it’s a secret that they’ve been challenging at best. There’s been the sickness, learning the language, adjusting to a whole new culture, battling the everyday darkness and so much more. Can I be really honest for a minute? We came to the end of ourselves a few weeks ago. It was messy. It was ugly. There were lots of tears involved (mine). But it was so good, so so good, because it ignited a shift in our thinking. We had been pleading with the Lord for awhile just to make things easier. Asking, “How long is this all going to be this hard?” over and over again. But finally, in the midst of the mess and my own desperation, I had to change my thought from “when/how are you going to make this easier?” into “how am I going to walk through this valley gracefully?” It is amazing how a small change in thinking can completely shift our lives.
I feel like for the past eight months we’ve been treading water, splashing around, always struggling and often times feeling like we were surely going to drown. But now we’re coming up for air. We’re learning how to not just survive in our environment but to thrive in it. We’re learning that maybe this is the new ordinary and therefore we have to adjust and mold ourselves to cope with it even though most days, nothing feels ordinary.
For me, coming up for air is a lot of small things. It means adjusting some of my habits so that I sleep better. It means reading more books. It means more regular exercise and more regular times of worship with Preston. It means choosing joy. It means taking care of myself. It means choosing openness when people ask how I’m doing. It means practicing humility and asking people for help. It basically means taking my own advice and feeding my soul more regularly.
Coming up for air has been the best thing that I have done for myself in the last 8 months. It’s been refreshing. I feel like a more complete version of myself and I am coping better with “the new ordinary.” The valley doesn’t feel as low and the darkness doesn’t feel as dark. I feel like I can breathe better. But most of all, I’m thankful for all the ways that the Lord is teaching me to obey. All of these things seem small, but when you put them together, they make a huge difference.
“The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.”