I'm sitting in our Loft on the evening of Easter Sunday. The floor is peppered with lego pieces, so i'm stranded on my couch in order to avoid the risk of embedding a plastic little death trap in my foot. I watch my son toddle about amid his toys. He is so good at navigating this mess I'm amazed, especially since he hasn't mastered walking on the grass yet.
It's amazing that this is my life now. Just a year ago our house and our hearts looked so different. We've spent a year in pain, uncertainty, and searching. We transitioned for a year.
This time last year, I was so pregnant. I had swollen feet and legs, a swollen belly, basically just imagine that blueberry girl from Willy Wonka and you've got it. Dave had mono. Dave has really great timing.
It was awful. He was down, I was down. We were a sight to behold, it was rough. On top of that we were coming to the end of a year commitment and there was a decision to be made.
We were committed members of our local church and a year before we had a growing unrest in our hearts about the direction of our church. We understand that this isn't a reason to leave a church, so we hunkered down. We committed to a year of volunteering, leading, meeting with church staff, and working as hard as we could to see if we could turn around the things we felt uncomfortable with in our home church.
The church we dated in.
The church where we said our vows.
The church we moved close to so we could raise our family around it.
The church we loved.
It was around Will's birth that our year was coming to an end and things had not gotten better, they were worse. It wasn't about direction at this point, it was about integrity. It was no longer a place we could see raising our family, and it broke us.
We danced around the decision as long as we could. We tried to ignore the obvious signs of the Lord pushing us to a decision. But inevitably, as He always does, He won our attention and our obedience. We found ourselves without the love of friends we thought we would always have no matter what. We found ourselves without the community that had promised to walk with us through the first few months of parenthood.
We were churchless and broken hearted.
I can't tell you how hard that decision was to make and what it took from us when we did. If you have ever had to leave a church that you loved, you know the grief that follows you. It's bitter and rotten. It holds on.
Thank goodness for Will.
He was a light in our dark place. He arrived in spring and gave us hope for a new future. We spent the better part of the summer visiting churches and struggling through new parenthood. I say struggling without guilt, I've worked out most of my mommy guilt by now, because anyone who doesn't admit that the first year of new parenthood is a struggle is lying to you. LYING.
It seemed that whatever church we went to was everything we hoped our home church would be, but all we did was grieve.
We soldiered on.
About 3-4 Weeks after Will was born, we found on that the beam that was holding our house up was too small and our house was falling into our basement. No biggie. So we spent a weekish under major construction with a new baby. They jacked up our house (like you would a car with flat tires) and cut a whole in the side of the house from the outside. They slid the old beam out and "slid" the new beam in, and by slid I mean beat heavily until it did what they wanted. Then, they had to fix all the drywall they tore into. Oy, the dust.
I suffered from a bout of the baby blues. It was rough. I'd talk more about that, but it would take a whole blog post, heck maybe even ten blog posts if I ever get up the courage. The worst part about PPD is admitting that you have it, that's the worst kind of guilt there is, but it's also the most important part.
I admitted it, I got help.
Around November, Dave accepted a new job at a Canadian based tech company. It is a great job that we really love, but it came with three weeks of on site training. In Canada. Thankfully, Dave's new job is family friendly and let him spread out his training. Still, Dave was gone for a whole week in November, January, and February. Whew! It was rough.
Still, we matured and grew.
We were tired and weary. We were confused and sad. We were churchless and without community. It has been the hardest year of my life. But we have grown more this year than any other year of our marriage.
It's amazing how God refines us in fire.
It opened up before us. We found a church home. We looked around at the friendships that had risen from our tattered year. These relationships were sweet, authentic, and strong. We found our rhythm, we took our days in stride, and we figured out how to be parents. I pulled out of my post baby funk and we healed.
The most important part was we found a church home.
Now the year is over. It was a tough year, but I'm so glad that we had it. We are more mature. We are closer. Our marriage is stronger and our confidence is sound. Because this year we learned that our hope is not in churches.
Or even ourselves.
Our hope is in the Lord.