Like many things, in some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago and in others, it feels as if it was just yesterday. This very weekend two years ago, I was putting the final touches on décor and furniture placement preparing to put my house on the market as the holiday weekend would come to a close.
In addition to preparing my house, I spent the previous weeks preparing the mind of my four year-old while I prepared my own heart, in the only and best ways I knew how.
“So, it’s like we’re going on a “A-venture,” the little said. “Like Dora does.”
She was strikingly accurate, and it only seemed appropriate to let her make her contribution, so the name stuck.
“Yep, honey, it’s our A-venture,” I replied, forcing a confident smile, without a clue where we were going, and yet, all the confidence that we would be okay.
If you’d like, you can read the story of how it all began when the For Sale sign was pounded into the yard here.
Two years later, the A-venture continues for us, unfolding in unexpected, sacred, beautiful ways, just as it did when it first started. We are self-proclaimed Chicago locals now. And Dorothy wasn’t kidding when she said there is no place like home. Being back in the Midwest with all of the seasons, the snow, the summer thunderstorms and people who drink “pop” has done my heart so much good.
I’ve learned a TON in the last 24 months about myself, about my kiddo, and this game called Life.
It took me a few years and an equal amount of mistakes to learn that I can try to have all the control I want, but things can still fall apart. But even in the falling apart, God is there, has been there all along and sometimes what feels like life falling apart was actually life falling into place.
I’ve learned that my kid will survive if she isn’t bathed every day, eats the occasional popsicle for breakfast or doesn’t always go to bed on time (although I will fight for 8 o’clock lights out as often as I can, mainly because Mommy needs to not be Mommy for a few minutes everyday). But she thrives because of the love, care and investment of people who love her in all her five year-oldness and in so many ways that I can’t even begin to do.
I’ve learned that my five year old can pick out better outfits for her (and me) than I can, and that by the time we can share clothes, I’m going to finally have a sense of fashion.
We’ve been blessed beyond measure on our A-venture, the five year-old and I, by people, our Village, as I call them, who have chosen to love us not because they had to, not because of anything we did, but rather simply because they wanted to. There just aren’t words to explain the depth of gratitude and love we have for you, our friends, our “Framily,” near and far, who have been one part or another of the life we call our A-venture.
But if there is one thing that has stuck out to me the most over the past two years, it’s this overwhelming sense that my whole life hinges on and is being held in the mighty, holy, powerful grip of God’s amazing grace. The more I come to know myself and my humanness the more awe-struck I am at His unending, never giving up, there all along in all the moments I never even knew it, love.
I have a feeling I will spend my whole life trying to sort this one out and will still fall short of a full understanding. And so, with a grateful heart, I look back on all of it – the highs, lows, mistakes and mountaintops. And with a hopeful, expectant heart, I look forward offering praise and thanks to the One who continues to prove that He writes a more incredible, perfect, and awe-inspiring story than I ever could.
I still don’t need to know the plan, Lord. I’ll wait right here until You tell me the next step, and I trust that You’ll give me the courage to take it.
Photo credit: The incredibly talented, Carly Smaha.