We’ve been in Austin for about a month and a half now. I still miss home so badly. The string of events that led us to this point are still so fresh in my mind and on my heart that I feel like I can’t relax. The warfare we have faced is unbelievable. Friends have asked about how my blog is coming along… I’m feeling a thousand emotions. I have so many things running through my mind at every given moment, but I have very few actual words. So, the blog hasn’t been going anywhere. I’m going to try to commit to it again though, because I know God is doing something big and I want to document the process.
Moving to Austin has been a great step for Billy’s career. I’m glad that we did it. It has also meant dying a thousand deaths of “self”, for both of us. We are homesick. I miss the faint smell of salt in the air. I miss the sound of my doorbell ringing and the smiling faces walking through my door. I miss the southern hospitality. I miss cooking with my friends. I miss seeing other people love on and pour into my son. I miss our kitchen and our dining room filled with loved ones. I miss my big bedroom and Oliver’s dreamy nursery. I miss hugging my friends and breathing them in. I miss my yard filled with flowers and trails and trees. We are ever so slowly, finding a life here though.
Oliver refused to go outside for weeks after we arrived. He would have complete meltdowns very unlike his usual behavior. He was terrified of getting into the car and completely uninterested in our tiny backyard. But suddenly… he stopped panicking while being buckled into the car seat and has even started asking to go outside. So, I’ve been indulging him and prepping for my ASL class (I still teach via skype) some from the picnic table on the covered patio while he plays. It’s a small backyard, but it is sweet. He’s been jumping in the leaves and playing on the slide that Tia bought him a year ago. One of his favorite things to do in our Jacksonville yard was to search for flowers for me.
He and Billy would go through the yard several times a week clipping roses, hydrangeas, and azaleas. It was such a dream. Vases of fresh flowers from my very own property adorned my counter top, mantle, and bedside table reminding me of how loved I am and what beauty there is in the world. Here, it’s been a bit different. A few days ago, Oliver scoured the yard in search of a flower. I heard him squeal, watched him run to a dark patch in the grass and crouch down. He jumped up a moment later and ran towards me with his fist clenched proudly around an ugly weed. I choked back the tears. Part of me wanted to explain that it wasn’t a flower. It was actually something unwanted and invasive… but who am I to define beauty for him? If he is able to find beauty where I can’t, is that not a gift? So, I bent down and told him thank you. I gave him a squeeze, smelled the “flower”, and held it to my chest acknowledging his act of thoughtfulness. But my heart broke remembering the gorgeous blooms that once filled my life with color. How much we’ve given up! How much we’ve left behind. We’ve traded green grass for brown. We’ve traded familiarity for the unknown. We’ve traded flowers… for weeds. But… what if my sweet baby is on to something? What if his innocence allows him to see what I cannot?
And so today, there is a lovely bouquet inside my beautiful ivory colored creamer passed down from my Mamaw. It isn’t filled with reds and pinks and yellows. It’s all the same color. It is a vibrant shade of green. Perhaps there is life in the weeds of my garden. Perhaps some seasons are less fragrant than others. But what if there is still plenty of life to be found in the unwanted weeds of tribulation? This move has been hard financially, emotionally, and even physically. But just because there have been a lot of weeds, doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot of life and joy and lessons learned and love abounding. Some weeds are in fact life giving. A little research (in the form of chatting with my dad) has revealed that some weeds are in fact edible and holistically healing… aka life giving. Maybe the weeds are exactly what we needed to complete the work He’s doing in us.
Yesterday morning, Oliver and I spent time gathering the dark green weeds that are scattered throughout our new yard. It was a precious time. Individually, our findings were ugly. But when bundled together and tucked inside something meaningful, they became a lovely display. They were given purpose and new life. So… we will gather the weeds of this season and tuck them in our hearts. And God will tie them together to create something lovely. He always trades beauty for ashes. That’s what He does best. I’m not sure what the final product of these circumstances will be, but I’ll cling to the beauty in the midst of this journey. And we will proudly display God’s handiwork in the form of a testimony wrapped in a ribbon of His perfect love. So, stay tuned. God is up to something.
Until then, I’ll be here… gathering the weeds.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.