Four states, five cities, and seven apartments have been home for my husband and I since we were married almost eight years ago. Each of our children were born in different states (Texas, Nebraska, and Florida). But NO, my husband is not in the military. We met and married in Utah and he worked while I went to school. During the economic downturn we moved to Texas for a job, then later up to Lincoln Nebraska for school, then Hastings Nebraska for a job, and then central Florida for yet another job.
But each year and move (and set of friends made and later left) was put into a new perspective recently. Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to spend a week at the beach in Destin, Florida. We met up with some of my husband’s family, some of which I hadn’t seen in two years! Destin is gorgeous. Beautiful beach, perfect weather, and great company! The beach house we rented was comfortable and big enough to fit all 23 of us. But one thing I loved most about the beach house (besides the proximity to the waves and the great beach cruiser bikes) was this wall art that hung in the staircase.
I’m sure the quote has been around for years, but it was the first time I read “The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God cannot protect you.” I thought about it, then thought about it, and when I came home I shared the quote with a friend. And sharing it made it come alive in my mind.
Geographically, God has taken us many miles in such a short amount of time. In each location, God has graced us with lifelong friends. In leading me away from all family except for my husband and kids, God has given me friends who are more like sisters.
But God has done more than protected me physically. God has protected me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. For these past eight years, God’s will has taken me to some pretty amazing vistas along with a few heartbreaking moments. My Father in Heaven thought is was a good idea for me to watch my mom suffer from Multiple Sclerosis for over twenty years and ultimately die from the effects. It is still heartbreaking. But in taking me to this place, His grace has protected me by strengthening my relationship with my siblings and dad. My mom’s positive attitude was astounding. It literally leaves me without words – I cannot fathom how she endured that debilitating disease for YEARS while keeping a positive attitude and being a blessing to everyone around her. So whenever I think, “I cannot possibly survive another day” of tempter tantrums, or wiping multiple bums, etc., I remind myself this, “If she can do it, I can do it.” And then I do it. And by God’s grace I know that my mom is there watching me and cheering for me. Understanding my frustrations, but slowly bringing me past them to recognize my blessings. God’s grace compensates for the places He takes us.
Recently, God’s will found me at my dad’s wedding. Oh what a location! And I kept saying, “I really could be mad and frustrated about this situation a lot more if I didn’t like her SO MUCH!” What a sweet woman my dad found to marry. And although I doubt I will ever like the situation of my mom not being here with me, I am grateful God’s grace has shined on us and brought his new wife into our lives.
And lastly, I (like many other mothers and women can sympathize) find myself in a place of suffering from post partum depression (PPD). But this PPD lasts oh so long. And I can’t help but ask myself “life would be SO MUCH EASIER if this just went away.” And “could it just end?” And “When can I have normal emotions again?”
But even in God’s will to have me face this mountain, his grace has led me to understand that this is actually an opportunity. Because this PPD leaves me feeling pretty emotionless, I have to fight with more tenacity to have a relationship with God. I have to have a purpose. No lollygagging around for me if I want to feel His spirit with me. I have to be diligent. Every. Day.
So sometimes God’s will takes me to places I don’t want to be. Places without my mom, without my family, and feeling horribly down. But His grace protects me and teaches me that I can get through anything. Seeking Him is my top priority. And His will and His grace are good enough for me.