Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Joel. Michawn. {Part 29 - It's Here. FINALLY!!}

The end of April and May are always so busy.  Time got away from me here.

Plus, I've told you that April was...just wow.  I'm going to do a whole little series on the weeks in April eventually.  There's so much to say about April.  But...

I started thinking about the time of year recently.

At this exact time a year ago, Joel was moving out.  Praise God He did a work...and months like April, as hard as April was, happened.  Because we're back.  And better than ever having ridded our lives of things and beliefs and people who would divide us.

At this exact time three years ago, we were packing up our house and packing up our bags and packing up our lives in many ways to board a plane back to the states to stay for about a year and a half we suspected.

Never in a million years did we expect to still be here, 3 years and counting later.

Never in a million years did we expect that our marriage would fall apart during that time.

Never in a million years did we expect basically any of the things that have happened since May 2012.

But, at this time 3 years ago, after having such a horrible year in Brazil, as we were packing up our house and bags and lives, the thing that I was packing up for...the thing that I was holding on for (with a slipping grip)...was that sweet rest that was on the other side.

That rest that I needed with every single little ounce in me.

That break from our lifestyle, that entering into a 'normal' life for just a little while, that pause.

There were several objectives for that time:
--we needed to reconnect as a family...really come back together as a unified unit.
--we needed to recuperate from all that had happened that year (Spring 2011-Spring 2012)
--we needed to just break from an agenda...a calendar of what others had for us to do...and have our own time for a bit
--we needed to refocus...on us, on our family, on our health

I've shared a basic timeline from May 2012 to the present already here...full of really difficult things. But, I haven't actually written out what had happened before that...what Spring 2011-Spring 2012 involved...and why a retreat from the front lines was already soooo needed at that point.

It started with a death in our family...a miscarriage (my 2nd miscarriage) of a sweet wee one in my womb.  That was in April 2011.

In June, I traveled for 2 weeks alone with the kids back to the states for a wedding.  It was a great time, but traveling alone internationally with 4 littles (they were 7, 6, 4 1/2, and 3 at that time) for 2 weeks isn't something that is completely non-stressful.

In July 2011 we started getting told that we might have to leave our house.  Our landlords told us that they might need our house for someone else.  It was very back and forth...and it continued to be that way until February 2012.  So, for 7 months we were in limbo about whether we'd be able to stay in our house...and were looking for another place to live that whole time just in case.  Pretty miserable, unstable way to live.

May - October 2011, we were hoping to get pregnant again...but, there was so much travel during that season that it just did not happen.  I had traveled with the kids to that wedding in the states in June.  All the other months (except one), Joel was traveling during 'optimal times for procreation.'  At the end of July he left for 10 days, came back home for about 3 days, and then left again for a 24 day trip, lasting the rest of August and getting back in September.  October was our last chance because we had to plan ahead...and we knew that we would be traveling back for furlough sometime the next year and baby would have to be born before that.  At the last minute during the October 'prime dates,' he was asked to travel again.  And that was it for more babies until after we got back from furlough. That was sad for us because we felt constrained by travel and an unstable lifestyle...yet again.

Also in October we had visitors come and stay a few days.  It was a great visit.  But, again...even great things add stress.

November and December 2011...the holidays were just exceptionally hard that year.  Obviously we had been away from family and familiarity many times before during the holidays, so it wasn't that alone.  I think it was just the cumulative effect of the 8-9 months leading up to that.  And, as I said, we were still on high alert that we might have to move out of our house, and were looking for a place to live.  Plus, the baby that we had lost in the spring would have been born at the beginning of December.  It was just...a really tough holiday season.

At the beginning of January 2012, we found out about the conflicting date of the family event that was on the same date as the Watermelon Festival.  That's been written about already.  But, it was a pretty devastating occurrence...because then we were forced to deal with that...and it was a given that there would be some conflict (although I never imagined to what extent that would be taken by others).

Also at the end of January, we had more visitors.  Again, even great things (these fun friends visiting us) are not without stress.  And this visit included traveling by airline to another state in Brazil to visit some other missionaries in a more remote place.  And leaving our kids (the first time we'd left them all overnight with someone non-family).

At the beginning of February, we traveled for a weekend retreat with our mission organization, Asas de Socorro.  It was a very basic camp where we stayed and it rained the whole time (mud everywhere and a backed up shower, ha, fun times).  Just the kind of 'retreat' we needed...ergghh.  With everything else the previous months:  #notrelaxing #alreadyalmostattheendofmyrope

Also that month, we found out about the sibling group that we really prayed about and thought long and hard about adopting.  They were perfect, except they were older than we had planned to adopt. In March, we traveled down to meet them.  We wanted to meet them anonymously, but that wasn't what was set up for us there.  So hard.  That made everything about 100 times harder.  Everything was great, they were awesome, incredible kids...but, God said no.  I wrote about that really, really devastating weekend here.  It took me a long time to get over that (I'm still crying just writing about it difficult, so heartbreaking).

And April and May brought preparing to leave our lives there in Brazil for the next year and a half or so...deciding what to live without for the next year a half, packing luggage, packing up the house for someone else to live there, etc. you see what Spring 2011-Spring 2012 held for us.  Now do you understand why a break, a retreat from battle, a real respite was needed?  I love the definition of respite:  a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief.  Relief!!  It was needed.  It is still needed...and now, about 3 times more than it was needed then!!  :)

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to something called The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.  It is a tool that lists life events.  Each life event has a different 'weight' and by clicking on it, this tool can 'quantify' the amount of stress in your life...and how likely that stress is to cause illness. It is said that a score over 300 indicates that you have a high to very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.  In fact, the actual high to very high risk score is 300-600...they even give a top ceiling.

I used their tool.  I busted right through that ceiling.  My score, for the past 3 years straight, has been 845.

Again, see the need for a respite?

I have so much more to say as far as our story.  So much more to write about...things specific to our story, but using those things specific to our story to look at the big picture.  To see what it means for society/the church at large.  Things like counseling, how the church responds to situations like we've walked through, what is considered acceptable behavior (that is not acceptable behavior), gender issues, theology, missions, etc. etc.  So much more to discuss.

But now, it's time.  It's over three years past due.  It's time for that rest.

Joel and I are back...finally.  All the horrificness of the end, it was what was needed to put us solidly back together as one again.  And that had to happen before the rest and respite could come.

I finished what I wanted to finish as far as posts go, for now.  I was finally able to speak out, to tell my side of the story (as well as Joel's and others'), to clear things up, to answer questions often posed to us, to let it be known what had happened to me (and why life for us had become so different than before).  I was able to relate that to a bigger picture...and address things like theological issues, true love and care, forgiveness.  I have so much more to say here.


Rest time has come.

That time of pulling back, as a unified couple and family, and refocusing.  It's needed now more than ever.  I mean...

Who are we now?  The things of the past 4+ years (since Spring 2011) have changed us.  In good ways...but, there is change.  Who are we?  What do we believe?  Where do we go from here?  What are our lives to look like?

We have lots of refocusing and reconnecting to do.  We have lots of recuperation to do from the past 4+ years.  We have lots of healing to do...emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.  We had all of that to do already exactly 3 years ago.  So you can imagine just how much it is needed now.  4+ years of painful, harmful, damaging destruction.

Yes, it is so needed.

And ohmyword!, I am so glad it is finally here!!!!!!

I've been waiting soooooo long for this.  I've been hanging on for this for soooo long.

I will be back to finish what I started here.  I will probably write periodically all during my rest will probably continue to be quite therapeutic.  But, I won't actually be posting.  I will just post it all periodically after our time of rest and recuperation.

When will this rest be over?  Well, since around Christmas, we've said that we were going to take this year and not commit to anything.  We were taking this year for us.  So, we have done that locally and physically.  And that will continue.  Then we will reevaluate.

But, as far as blogging here, I'm not sure.  It could be that I start posting again around August or September.  I might wait until the end of the year.  I might wait even longer.  We'll just have to see.

I will finish our story though.  There is much more to say about what has happened and what that means, how that translates in the big picture of our society and world.  Until then...


My soul rest is here.

(Insert an incredibly genuine, HUUUUUGGGGEEE sigh of relief)

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