In 2008, our family moved from Vancouver, Bc to St.Albert, AB for Dave's work. He'd been called to his first church after graduating from Regent and so we were on our way.
Needless to say, I was not happy about this move. While our interview / visit to this church brought many wonderful people into our lives, the thought of packing up and leaving my precious Lower Mainland, did not feel good. I had the hugest tantrum of my adult life.
But it's hard to tantrum and be grateful at the same time. I knew we needed this job and I knew the members of this church were happy to have us with them. They were kind. So tantrum aside, I embraced the move and the thought of joining so many others on the road to truly being an adult.
We rented a whole house, not just a basement suite. Then we purchased a house. We bought cars, we had a few more kids. We lived our life.
But I never settled. I never felt at home. Despite giving birth to 3 kids in St. Albert, despite having many wonderful friends, despite seeing 2 counsellors to help me talk through my struggles, I just couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to leave.
My heart belonged to the West Coast.
As I sit here and write, it is pouring down rain. Windy, damp and cool. I love it. I ran in it this morning. And it's so not snow. I hate snow.
Dave and I often refer to my time in St. Albert as my exile. The place I needed to be to grow, to learn, to experience pain and accept it for what it is. And I am grateful beyond words for my time there. Not because it was easy. But because it taught me that I can bend and not break. It taught me that I am strong and capable. It taught me that Jesus is trustworthy and merciful. It taught me what true friendship looks like.
Today, I am walking through another exile. I'm confused about why, when we've finally landed in a wonderful town on the coast, in my dream house, with the possibility of chickens...why now, do I get Stage 4 cancer? Why now do my kids fall apart?
Why did we go from one exile to another? I don't know. I don't know what God's plan in all of this is. If we knew...well, that's just it... if we knew we wouldn't need faith. We wouldn't need trust... or friends or community. But we don't know so we do have needs.
And that's life. Shit happens... again and again and again. And there are people to help again and again and again. And there is community and support and all the good things in the midst of the shit storm.
Today I was reading my bible and a few verses in Daniel came to mind. Daniel 29 is a letter to The Exiles and verses 10-15 are the ones that stand out and are familiar.
11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."
This is my prayer for my children and a good many other people walking through their own exile. We may not know... and that frustrates our human nature like crazy... but the Lord knows and that is something I'm holding on to.