In the last two weeks we have moved out of our home, shipped 500 pounds of stuff to my dad in Washington, driven across the country and spent hours in cross-cultural training. Needless to say, we’ve been going through a lot of transition.
Before we left Louisville I wondered why I felt so scattered and crazy. My friends said, “Well you’ve got a lot on your mind!” They were right, but only partly captured what our family is going through. There’s certainly a lot going on–even moving across town takes work, is difficult and unsettling. But getting rid of everything (minus those 500 pounds), saying lasting goodbyes to all of the nouns in our life, trying to think about life in a foreign country, traveling cross country and all of the details that fill in the cracks between those big pieces, well, it makes life chaos. And we’ve been there for a few weeks now with a few weeks more before we can hope for change.
The training we’re going through right now isn’t giving us too much new information to chew on, but it is providing labels for the things we’ve been experiencing. Yesterday we were introduced to the “chaos bridge” which moves like this: Settled – Unsettled – Chaos – Resettling – Settled. When you’re settled, everything is familiar, comfortable, known. The in-between stages are varying degrees of craziness hanging over an abyss between the two havens of “settled.” Right now we’re smack dab in the middle. Realizing that the stress and exhaustion we’re feeling is a normal part of the leaving process has been helpful. Recognizing that there are tried and true ways to cope with the chaos was encouraging. Looking forward to the being settled in on the other end (as far away as that might be) has made me hopeful. There is an end in sight!
J has responded to our chaos by regressing on his potty training. Nora has put up a fight about everything lately, but especially about being left by mommy–in childcare, at bedtime, when I walk away from the table, you name it. Me, I’m tired and grumpy. Not sure that Chris gets stressed out in himself, but his response to our stress can sometimes lead to paralysis.
Things are crazy right now. But our hope isn’t just in getting resettled and making a new home. Our hope is in the God who is making a way for us, who has planned our steps–even the ones that seem crummy to us–and is preparing a place for us in his kingdom. He’s got work for us to do overseas both in our own family and in the lives of others and he’ll accomplish it through us for his glory. We’re not going to Asia to have a cultural experience or make big bucks (hah!) but to follow the Son and do whatever he sets before us. Because that is our hope and our goal, we’re joyfully enduring the chaos, the exhaustion and the uncertainty. But even in our forbearance our prayer is, “Come Lord Jesus!”