I can smell the gardenias just outside the screen and hear the sound of the water splashing. The kids just ran inside to put on their suits for a morning swim. J and I might get in a little later, once it warms up, and sit on the spa bench and turn on the massage jets. I've got a cup of coffee, a book and a plate of grapes. I can hardly believe this is my life.
The past year has been unbelievably rough. If you'd told me on New Year's Day, 2010, what the next sixteen months would hold, I don't think I would have had the courage to face it. I would have crawled back into bed and refused to come out. I would have gone home to Mama and tried to hide there. Not that she would have let me get away with that, but I'd have tried, anyway. We have gone through some incredibly testing times-- not nearly what some of our friends have faced, but still, the toughest we've had yet in our nearly-ten years of marriage.
And yet, I can say today with completely honesty, that I am so blessed. So grateful that the Lord has brought us here. Not just Here; this physical location, but Here; this place in our lives, too. I am so glad that this year happened-- with all its pain and sorrow, all the uncertainty, the upheaval, the insecurity, the leaving. Because along with all those things came growing, and stretching and (hopefully) wisdom. In a perfect world, a world without sin, we'd have all the growing and the stretching and the wisdom without all the suffering. But in this world, to get the one, one must endure the other.
And so, while I once again have no idea what the next year holds, for the moment I am at peace. Something tight and braced in my heart is starting to unfold and relax a little more. Today, right now, I don't feel quite so rigid. Despite the broken vacuum cleaner, washing machine and dryer, the dying truck, the sick husband, the stressful work schedule, the absent family, the distressing anniversary coming up, and the physical and financial worries still plaguing us, I'm starting to be able to open my eyes a little wider and look around and see the Lord's hand in all the troubles and the struggles. I pray that I am able to continue in that peace even through the storms ahead-- able to trust the Lord's plan in the future as I remember His providence in the past.
And seriously, how