My body cracked and popped as I gently entered the lime green office in my parents house. A twin mattress and an air mattress lay on the floor one holding my son, the other left open for me.
Tired and weary, my mind and body battled one another keeping me awake. Laying in my former bedroom, I wrestled with the thought of being home. Home is where your heart is, where your story begins, there’s no place like home.
The words spoken and written expressed the excitement of those to whom I was returning. But my heart, oh my heart could not embrace those words.
“Welcome” and “home” poked at my ambivalence and I wondered how I would reconcile my reality and the state of my emotions.
For nearly two weeks, I had been alone, without my family as they made the trek to Texas and I stayed behind to pack up the house and wrap up work. Every evening after work as I sorted and packed, my husband navigated the adventures of a road trip and settling into my parents house while preparing my boys for school. Both of us were doing hard things and I couldn’t help but compare the places where my load felt particularly difficult for me.
As my heart vacillated between gratitude for my husband and irritation at all that remained for me to take care of, I began to laugh knowing that he had similar feelings toward me in my physical absence in caring for our boys. Although they were settling in well at school and my parents house, his stories reminded me of what it felt like to live in a familiar space again and doubt started to creep into my mind.
What if we’ve made a big mistake? What if we can’t handle the life we’re moving into? What if we lose who we’ve become? What if we’re too different? What if the pressure is too much?
What if I didn’t get on the plane?
My questions coupled with my emotions about leaving only grew in intensity the closer the time came to stepping onto the plane. As my friend drove me to the airport, I looked at her with tears in my eyes, “what if I just don’t get on the plane?” She smiled, “You have to. It’s my responsibility to get you there, I can’t let Darin down.”
And with that, I left Michigan. Home for the last six years. The place where we learned who we are as a family. Home to the precious souls who let us become who we are and supported us along the way.
As my husband and I have talked about what the time in Michigan has meant to us and we’ve unpacked our feelings with one another over the last six years we agree most wholeheartedly that it was the hardest, best thing we’ve ever done. Darin recently said it felt like we were the Israelites leaving Egypt to head to the Promise Land. Unable to fully identify Texas as “the promise land” I reminded him that the Israelites still wandered in the desert for forty years. Maybe Texas was our forty years? But, what if this move is a move to our promised land?
One week has passed since returning to Texas. A great deal of life has been lived in just seven short days. The ache in my chest still remains and yet something is shifting inside of me as I look at my people. They are changing and adjusting, settling in and adapting and I am beginning to notice that it feels good. Not without difficulty but good.
How can it be? How can grief and goodness exist in the same space? Choosing to be present in this space requires a conscious choice to name the goodness for me. For so long I have worked to name my reality, to name the difficulty with honesty and integrity. What if my hope for change both in my own life and the lives of my family really happens in this new space? What if these new trials and obstacles are needed to bring fresh growth and deepen our understanding of who we are designed to be.
What if I began to look again for the goodness that is available this side of heaven?
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” Psalm 27:13-14
Bethany Cabell is recently returned to her home state of Texas after residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here. &
Where in texas?
Dear Bethany, you words allowed me to feel the goodness and the grief. It sounds really hard and the energy during transitions is unpredictable. Bless you as you return “home” in your old room and have to re-introduce yourself to others who are seeing a new you. Hugs across the many miles…
This has been over the top a lot for you, my friend. I’m hoping for the very best for you in Texas with your family. I will miss you being in Michigan and I will see you in Texas. It was wonderful being with you yesterday…brave on💜MJ
You named the tension of this space so beautifully. Proud of you, so grateful to spend this weekend with you, and love you so much.
Friend, remember, the Israelites wandered for 40 years because of lack of trust and disobedience. You’ve obeyed in this hard thing. This very hard thing. And God doesn’t fault you for the struggle within. He embraces that in you. As long as, at the end of the day, your trust in Him is still greater than the weight of the struggle. I’m glad we’re closer together again. And I’m excited to see how God unfolds His Promised Land for you & your people. Love you, B!
Choosing to be present in this space requires a conscious choice to name the goodness for me.
These words. Your reality, with boys who don’t deal with change, feels like a lot.