The story I want to tell you is not mine to write and yet, to write my story is to write hers. We’re knit together, she and I, not by blood or by marriage but by Jesus who makes families from nothing but willing hearts.
My family is stretching and all the stretching is painful.
Placing one twin bed with one beloved quilt at the end of a noisy hall with the two windows and the small sitting area was a small, simple act of faith a year ago. An outward expression of the inward work happening in the heart of our family.
Last month, that act of faith became an act of obedience.
The twin bed got new sheets and new pillows and a new throw. New towels filled the bathroom and a fan filled the corner where the sun pools on the floor. Totes full of belongings from a past life filled the one good closet and hours of stories from that past life filled every waking minute. The fridge brimmed with new favorite foods and small bottles of Mountain Dew.
A house once buzzing with normal, messy life morphed into a house swarming with not-so-normal, messier life.
Mornings became a juggling act of people coming and going. Mid-days became a blur of pick-ups and drop-offs and surprise pop-in visits by public servants. Meal preparation became something other than the usual humdrum-let’s-make-do sort of meal preparation and blossomed into something unmanageable and quite Martha Stewart-ish. Quiet evenings became prime time for late night counseling and truth telling, swallowing up any sliver of solitude that ever existed.
And if ever a body did sigh, mine did.
If a soul ever longed for what used to be or a heart ever broke for propelling itself into an abyss of unknowns, mine did.
I woke every morning, grappling with the day ahead of me while looking for some semblance of normalcy. I checked off my to-do list and hugged my kids with more intentionality. I cleaned with a ferocity, trying to find a new rhythm in an old task. Books once held in my lap became books listened to over sinks full of dishes and piles of laundry. Loud conversations with my kids turned into quiet whispers in stolen moments of togetherness. Words of affirmation and belonging and thankfulness rolled off my tongue as the mother in me felt the overwhelming need to speak love over my children, reminding them that they still had all of me. I slipped into the fold of my husband’s arms whenever I could do so without being seen. Time spent lingering on the porch turned into smoke break counseling sessions. Old thoughts about poverty and homelessness and custody and jail time dissipated as real life played itself out under my roof.
And every minute of every day, every thing I looked at, every task I completed, and every person that gathered around my table only served to reflect back to me a deeper longing for home.