Change. Never an easy thing for me. Some thrive on it. Some live for it. Some crave it.
Not me. I like status quo. I like same ol' same ol'. I like predictable.
But I married a Marine. Change has been a part of the last 20 years and I would choose change all over again for that one man. But my heart longs for predictable. And God knows because He created me that way. In our ever-changing life, I sought out sameness. Predictable. Stable. Constant. I could countdown weeks by our routine. Prepare for my husband's return, survive through his deployments, and serve him happily while he was home. It's why we have tacos on Tuesday. Pizza on Thursday. Cinnamon rolls before church. I mop on Monday. I clean bathrooms on Thursday. I wash sheets on Friday. I iron on Sunday. And God left us in Beaufort for 8 years in a row. 8 precious, sweet years. And we thrived. We dug our roots so deep because that is my heart's deepest desire. He gave us a tight circle of friends. A strong church. We plugged in. Everything was easy. Day to day was very close to the same. Week to week was closer. And year to year in Beaufort was even closer to predictable. My heart was content because it was how I liked life.
As retirement got closer, I could feel the winds of change. And I avoided them. I ignored his appointments with the movers. I didn't talk about his retirement ceremony. Just pretended it was not coming. But like life often does…the change came. And it came quickly. And it hit me in the gut.
Soon, nothing was the same. Our house was empty. We said our goodbyes. We drove away. I still don't think I have fully comprehended the fact that I no longer live in Beaufort, SC on N. Eastover as a member of Community Bible Church. I am no longer the story time leader for VBS. I am no longer a 4th-5th grade AWANA leader. I no longer run the streets of Habersham or take my girls to The Larew Dance Center. I have spent much time missing what was home to me the past 8 years. I miss my church. I miss sitting in the upper balcony and saying hi to Miss Ann at the door as she hands me my bulletin. I miss the swing bridge. I miss meeting at the pillow store to grab Preston or drop off Cole. I miss laughing with Jacki in the hall when we were supposed to be in Sunday School. I miss seeing sweet Miss Laura and Miss Claudia as I turn in my progress reports. I miss seeing Cin come around the corner on the limo of golf carts to get a treat for Belle-Belle. I miss Chloe knocking on my door to see if the girls could play. I miss Ale' Grace hanging out in my kitchen. I miss having teenage boys on my top porch on a summer night. I miss having picnics in the Princess Park out our front door. I miss gingerbread houses with Sue and watching her perform science experiments that we never got to work. I miss chit chatting with Charlotte on her front steps. I miss listening to Audrey's encouragement in the front hall on Sunday morning. I miss gearing up for VBS story time. I miss Common Ground Hazelnut Lattes. I miss slumber parties with Melissa and Jane. I miss giggles from the Curry girls upstairs. I could go on and on. I even miss Scrappy and her sweet family. I wish I could say I haven't missed it yet, but I do. I miss it all almost daily.
We are here now. Bullard, TX. Where everything only 4 short months ago was different. Ironically, it was the first time the change felt permanent. No Marine Corps road that led back to Beaufort. No "We'll be back!" I felt so alone and vulnerable. New house. Husband gone. New town. No church home. New school. No friends. New streets. No furniture. New everything. And yet nothing. I felt as though I had been stripped bare and just left. I felt abandoned. I missed home. I was grieving. Nothing the same. Everything different.
In the first few seconds of landing in Bullard, He showed Himself. My sister and her girls were standing in my driveway to welcome us to our new home. He blessed us #1. A new refrigerator. Blessing #2. Smiling faces running through the new house. Blessing #3. Family visiting more in the first week then in the entire previous year. Blessing #4. And on and on it went. A few days later, I was struggling to find the good even though He had so clearly shown Himself faithful. He brought me to the boys' new school and gave me my first friend. And through her story about *her* move to Bullard and how so long ago she was missing the blessings God was trying to give her, I made a conscious decision that day to not miss one blessing He would give us. Not one. I would allow myself to miss what I had grown to love but I would not miss His grace and goodness and blessings He wanted to give me in Bullard. Some days were harder than others, but I was like Daniel. I made the choice ever before that first step. I resolved not to miss God in the everyday moments and, in the midst of all of the change and my grieving, I would look for Him.
But Daniel resolved….
I was invited to lunch by a sweet lady who just wanted to welcome me to Bullard and to Brook Hill. She brought me cookies one night on a particularly hard day. I didn't miss it. I was invited to join a Bible study that quickly grew my circle of friends. They were incredible prayer warriors. One stopped by just because she was close to our house. I didn't miss it. I sat by my first ballet moms at the girls' new school who prayed with me. Three neat guys befriended Cole. The founder of the school sat by Logan at lunch one day just because and started encouraging him. I didn't miss it. A first A on a test for my boys. My neighbor across the street had a daughter. I didn't miss it. A sweet friendship soon developed with my girls. That neighbor is now a friend. The workers at our new neighborhood grocery store were so nice. And remembered me. I didn't miss it. Phone calls from friends back in Beaufort at just the right moment. Texts from new ladies welcoming us to town and to Brook Hill. Introductions. Invitations to lunch. I didn't miss it. A mom just happened to sit by me during a very hard time one night at Open House. She prayed. Asked others to pray for me too. I didn't miss it. The boys were happy at the new school. I had lots of time with just my girls. I didn't miss it. Sweet fellowships at churches we visited. I didn't miss it. I met so many new prayer warriors and friends. Our house was fitting us perfectly. The weather was beautiful. I didn't miss it. I discovered my new favorite donut shop. My new favorite pizza place. Target a few miles from our house. Baseball teams for the boys. I didn't miss it.
Amidst all of the change, He was my constant. My constant reminder that He was here. He was in Bullard and He was in control. He would never change. And most of all, I felt loved, taken care of, and secure. Even in the middle of so much change. I felt like a little girl crawling into the arms of a big father in the middle of a scary thunderstorm. His arms wrapped around me daily. He was using so many people around Bullard to encourage my heart. He never let me get down a road of self-pity without amazing me with His goodness. He spoke to my heart. He brought verses to mind. He was very real. I didn't miss it in those first few weeks of being in Bullard. I haven't missed it even in this day. And I resolve not to miss it in the days ahead. He is a good, good Father. It's Who He is. And I am loved by Him.
And I haven't missed it yet.