Goodbye & Hello

It has been three weeks since I walked out of our house for the final time.

John and I never intended to move. We thought we’d grow old together there. I knew which room would be a nursery for our grandchildren. I could see the house full of our kids-turned-adults and their families.

They’d come charging through the back door with smiles, hugs, and news to share. They’d make us laugh and we’d treasure it all: crying babies, piles of dishes, fast paced conversations, and a pause in the chaos as we all bowed our heads and prayed- that would be the only moment when stillness & quiet would reign.

We’d laugh when they left. We’d be exhausted but happy, with a mixture of love, relief, wistfulness, and concern (because there’d always be someone we were concerned about).

I can see it so clearly. I wanted that beautiful life. I still do, but it isn’t going to happen. At least not like that and not in that house.

It is going to look different in ways I can’t even imagine now.

When John died I knew that moving was inevitable. He always said that if something happened to him, I needed to put a for-sale sign in the yard because the house was too much to manage on my own. It was true.

I also knew that I couldn’t move forward in my life until the big job of moving was done. How could I take on new things when there was such an obvious, huge task to accomplish?

But, moving is a wish. It isn’t something you can make happen on your own. Things that you can’t control have to fall into place. In the last few months, the Lord cleared the way and everything came together. The timing was perfect: the move was during the summer when my kids could help. I needed them. We could work and process the move together.

It’s weird, but moving reminds me of labor. I always had this crazy moment in the midst of labor when I’d look at John and say, “I don’t think I want to do this today. Let’s go home. I changed my mind. I am not ready.”

But there was no going back. : ) And, besides, there was a baby I was eager to meet.

This summer I felt like this about our move. Some days it felt like too much work. I wondered what I was thinking to take on a job so big without John.

But, then I would remember how the Lord had helped me find our new home, and how much I liked it, and how great our new neighbors were going to be, and how much I really wanted a new setting.

And I would keep plugging along. Hope as fuel.

On August 20, a sunny summer Thursday morning, the Lord gave me courage to walk through that empty house and say goodbye to a dream.

It is one of the holiest moments of my life. It was like I was able to gather all of those beautiful years with John in that home and hold them tightly one last time where they actually happened.

It was a parting gift the Lord gave me.

The reality of why it was time to move settled over me. It was a beautiful life that we had there together, but the truth is that John isn’t there anymore. And so I can’t have that life anymore. No matter how long I lived there, the life we led there has ended.

And I just don’t want to be there without him.

It was time for a new stage to be set where there was space for new dreams, instead of a constant awareness that we were never going to get back to the way things were.

The day after the move was over, I found this verse. “Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Isaiah 26:12

That is how I feel. We did it because He made it happen. He has helped me do one of the hardest things set before me. Again.

You too will get the strength and courage you need, when you need it. Even though it seems impossible to imagine now. The Lord will be your hope and fuel.

And to many of you, thank you for the many prayers, encouragement, and help as we took this step forward.

Settling in & feeling amazed,

Maria