Life Lately: Fourth of July

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Happy July!

I hope that your summer has been an enjoyable one so far. There really is just something about slow, steamy days that seem really sweet as I get older. I love getting to watch my little ones experience the glee in summer treats like swimming, sprinklers, fireworks, and popsicles. Getting to constantly see bare feet and chubby baby legs is a good perk too (and lanky three-year-old legs…cause let’s be real, they are both precious to me).

Back a few weeks ago, we made our first trip back “home” since moving to see family and celebrate the fourth. It was so nice to be around “our people” for a few days. We got to watch our town’s best fireworks display to date, go shopping for fireworks with my sister and brother-in-law, share many family meals, got to see our church family, snuck away for a dinner date with our dear friends, and even managed a game night (in which Jessica got loopy and no one could spell words because it was past bedtime). Nora babbled full on conversations of gibberish and enjoyed the many arms to hold her. She also met her sass match in her “Aunt Mimi”. Henry ate up the quality time with “Ankle Seth” playing in the yard or just constantly talking. He was also big enough this year to handle lighting the smoke bombs…right before he’d run away in complete terror that it was going to be loud. He spent the majority of July 4th with his hands over his ears. I can’t say he falls too far from the tree with that one. I spent most July 4th’s with my hands over my ears when I was a kid. He’s scarily like me in a lot of ways these days…but that’s a blog post for another day. It really was such a good break for my heart to be back on familiar turf, to eat my Mama’s good cooking, to laugh with my sister over inside jokes and movie quotes, and to watch my kiddos get loved on by all of my favorite people. But do you want to hear something weird?

Yesterday in church it popped into my head. Someday you’ll be able to say “Thank you, God, for moving me to Kansas” It caught me off guard mid-worship, but it curled up in the corner of my mind and stayed put. Memories of sitting in our bedroom window the first night my parents went back to Missouri came flooding back. Our duplex was miles away from being move in ready, the only people I knew and knew me were half way back to Missouri, and I was stuck. Sitting in a yet-to-be-screened-in window overlooking a mud pit of a yard, watching the sunset, and finally crying over the move. Why did you move us out here, God? This will never be home. But yesterday, as I sat mulling over being able to be thankful for moving to Kansas, I actually…felt thankful that God moved me to Kansas.

Now here me out, I miss Missouri. I frequently have flashbacks of our old house and our old routines and I just want to crawl into that memory for a bit. I bawled when we drove by our old house. I still get teared up when I miss my parents and friends and can’t do much about it. But, I’m thankful. I’ve grown in ways that I wasn’t forced to back home. It’s kind of like being a potted plant. I think, under the surface, that I was root bound in my comfortable, known, and tiny little Missouri pot. Not exactly fertile soil for faith growing. Then God planted me here in this giant new pot with room for my bound up little roots to grow and reach down into new depths. Not necessarily out of “get to”, but “have to”, so that I don’t get blown over or dry up. I’ve had to stretch my roots down into new depths in Christ because I needed to have a sturdy connection to survive. I don’t do it perfectly, I don’t even do this well. But I can tell you that in the last two months I have more actively preached truth to myself, prayed more Scripture, and cried out in more desperation than any other time in my life. I’ve had to step out in humility and fear to meet new people (something I seem to be really terrible at post-college) Mid-sermon yesterday, a verse sidled up next to that thankful thought in my heart. I smiled. I felt hope. Maybe if you too are in a transition season, maybe you can look on the hard things with thanksgiving. Maybe He’s up to doing a new thing.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

So, despite all of the feelings, the changes, and the adjustment, I can say:

“Thank you God, for moving me to Kansas”.

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Jessica Rutherford