Twenty-five years ago my husband and I began the greatest adventure of our lives.
With a moving van chock-full of every possession we owned, and our four small children snuggly buckled into our Chevy Suburban, we caravanned across the Arizona desert to our new home in beautiful Southern California.
Certainly, God was in this! He had moved upon our hearts and opened every door to pave the way for this new chapter to begin.
April, May, June, July and August of 1990, we settled into our new home. Easily, our family fell-in-love with the rolling green hills, the majestic ocean blue, and the beach style life.
By summer's end, however, the grand adventure became a great challenge. That's when my husband began law school. Each morning he would leave for work by 7. Not to return home until later, after classes, around 10 every night.
For me, life in a new place, with four little ones under the age of 6, suddenly became very hard, lonely, scary, and exhausting. I was in over-my-head. Life, indeed, had become way more than what I believed I could handle.
The next few years were some of the most difficult of my life. It was as if I was thrown into boot camp. "Wait! Stop!" I wanted to yell. "This is not what I signed up for."
Yet, the huge task of raising four children (much of the time alone), running every part of our household, and cheering on my husband were the very circumstances God used to force me to grow up!
During those long days, and even longer nights, I learned to:
Run to God
No longer were grandparents or aunties or girlfriends nearby. If I had a need, was overwhelmed, or felt as if I just could not cope, the only one I could turn to was God. I called out to Him again and again! Sometimes, His answers were immediate and miraculous. Other times, they were mysterious and hard won. As I ached for human help, I learned God was always there!
Face My Fears
Once law school began, I was on my own with our little tribe 15 hours a day. Every night, I fell into bed totally spent. I desperately needed sleep. But, sleep did not come. Instead, fear crept into my heart and panic took over my body. I was terrified of everything. I went to war against my fears, memorizing God's word, mediating on HIs promises, and praying for deliverance from this enemy.
Long days and fretful nights, made me one weary mama. Much to my dismay, I lost my temper all too often. I begged God to help me to overcome my angry outbursts and short temper. I continually sought Him for wisdom to love, strength to serve, and understanding to slow down and enjoy (not simply endure) my precious blessings.
Cast Down Vain Imaginations
Once a month, (it took me a while to see the pattern) I freaked out and worried that I would lose my husband to smarter and prettier women. When I didn't feel well, (which happened a lot), I imagined the worst case scenario. And, as we homeschooled our little ones, I was uneasy all the time that we would get in trouble for doing it the wrong way. I had to put into practice, again and again, Paul's admonition in 2 Corinthians 10:5, to cast down my imaginations, and take every thought captive to obey Jesus.
Take Better Care of Myself
During those demanding years, I discovered many of my health problems, physical and emotional, were because of a poor diet and lack of exercise. As I ran to God with my worries and concerns, He sent me answers in the most unexpected ways. I learned that my body could not tolerate sugar and I was allergic to wheat . As I changed my diet and added daily exercise, my heath improved and my emotions followed.
Halfway through my husband's law school program, I was done! Something inside me broke. It was as if everything in me died. For the next several months, I simply went through the motions of life, with no passion or pleasure. My dear husband offered to quit law school. I prayed. I read books. I sought council. I even considered "running away." My dad wisely counseled me, "You know you can't come home. You have a good man. You're just going through a hard season."
Then one day, I knew the answer. As hard as it was, I still believed we were in the center of God's will for our lives. I decided, that day, I would rather be in pain in the middle of God's will, than to suffer the consequences of stepping out of His plan.
And now, here we are twenty-five years later. We still love the rolling green hills, the majestic ocean blue, and the beach style life of Southern California. My husband is an attorney. Our four little kids are all grown up. Writing this post, I can still feel the strong emotions of those painful years. The circumstances were, indeed, more than I could handle. And yet, God used those long, hard, lonely, scary, and exhausting days to grow me up. He taught me that although life was more than I could handle, with His help to grow me up, I could handle them just fine!