I’m feeling a lot of hurt this week, so please quit reading now if you don’t want to read the words of someone who is processing pain. I know many who find the book of Psalms to be their favorite as they relate so much to David as he pours out his heart before the Lord. I’ve always just found the Psalms to be a book of praise; I’d never really considered David as one who was highly emotional. Yet I do think he went through things that no one else around him could understand, and he knew enough to know that God was the safe place for his heart.
Two years ago, when we were waiting, waiting, waiting for word on my visa so that we could proceed with moving to the UK, I began to view Psalm 23 as my Scripture to dwell in. I saw so much promise in that Psalm, and it aided me through the pain of leaving family, through all the waiting as we searched for a place to live in Edinburgh, and then through so much transition. I really learned that God is my Refuge, my Hiding Place, and my Safety. He saw and knew the things we were going through. He could relate to all that no one else could. He then got me through the very difficult place I was in at the beginning of this year as we went through another transition that I just could not understand. So I have history with my God and He’s always been faithful. I still believe He’s faithful. Please hear me say that before I continue . . .
We’re now approaching the mark of 5 months of unemployment. To say that this has been a challenge would be the understatement of the year. And honestly, I think we’ve handled it amazingly well. We’ve felt God’s grace covering us, and we’ve had so many friends bless us in so many ways. We’ve had many here who have prayed for us, stood with us, and have told us that they hope/pray that we do not leave as they value us. Those small acts and words of kindness mean so much. They’ve kept us going. The financial support and the prayer from our home church has also meant so much as that is what is helping to get food on the table. We’ve felt their prayers as they lift us before the Lord.
Yet we’re feeling the weight of the pressure. Our finances our suffering. I think both Mark and I have had very little sleep. I’ve grown very tired of the cliche phrases that people, even well meaning, throw at us as they forget that we don’t walk in each other’s shoes. Yes, it’s a dream to live in Scotland, but it is not a dream to work so hard to find a job and to have to figure out how to pay the bills. It’s not a dream to search high and low only to find very little opportunity. It’s not a dream to have spent thousands of dollars to move here, and to have lived under so much pressure for such a lengthy period of time. We forget that moving to a new place, a new culture, a new way of life takes so much out of us. After two years, we just found a vet that we feel like is reliable; just in time for our ailing older pup, which has been another heartache. The same goes for a dentist, a mechanic, a church, and so on. It takes so much time to settle into a place so that it feels like home. Forget the time that it takes to build real friendships and to find people that you can let your hair down with. I think people forget this or they don’t know if they’ve not walked through it.
And we know that God provides and His grace is sufficient, but man, if one more person tells me that His timing is perfect . . .
There is a cost in following Jesus and His plan for our lives. I’m sorry, but we’re lying if we say that it’s all butterflies and roses, even in the beautiful Scotland. We live in an imperfect world. Life is full of hardship. I believe that God sustains us and keeps us through the hard things, but the faith walk is not easy. Sometimes, we just need someone who knows what we’ve been through and who will just sit and cry with us. Someone who can share the pain and know enough to know that there’s nothing to say that helps the situation. Just being there and listening is all that’s needed. Being a safe place to hear the hurt and the pain and to not look down on us because we hurt.
Tomorrow, we find out if Mark gets a job that he interviewed for on Friday. Yes, we have very high hopes. But more than that, we have reached the point of desperation. What other options do we have? I hope that means that God’s timing is tomorrow, because I don’t know how much longer we can hold on.
If I’ve learned anything through the past year, I would say that I’m learning to put action to my words. It does very little to offer a word of encouragement if I’m not willing to offer a hand of help or a gift of generosity. I’m seeing the treasured ones in our lives as those who have given to our kids, those who have had said “how can we help?,” and those who have just listened while washing my dishes for me. These people are gold, because they’ve gotten into the trenches with us. They didn’t run when they saw our battle worn clothing or the cuts and bruises on us. They stayed and fought with and for us. No matter how long we’re in Scotland, these will be the ones who stay in my heart forever. They’re the balm on my weary soul.
And there’s no point or rhyme or reason to this post. I’m not angry at God, not disappointed that we made the move to Scotland, nor am I upset at how things have gone. I’m just tired. My heart is battered and bruised, and I don’t want any theological thoughts on why it’s in this state. I think it’s 100% normal and probably a part of the process of moving overseas and attempting to pioneer something. No one said it would be easy; they did say it would cost something. I had no idea that the cost would be so high, but I’m not giving up hope that God sees and knows. And if we don’t see the reasons why while on this earth, I’m okay with it. I don’t need answers. I just need to pour out my heart before the One is big enough to keep it. The One who finds my tears valuable enough to bottle them. I just need to honestly speak my heart so that I can get up and move forward. Because regardless of what happens tomorrow, life will still go on. We’ll move forward one way or another. And He’ll go with us whichever way we go.