It's been an interesting time of transition these last few months.
We just moved from Northwest Arkansas to the Dallas area where Lisa was raised. Honestly, it's nice to be closer to family. Although we have so many amazing friendships up in NWA, we missed being close to our families. And though we grew fond of NWA, we always thought we'd somehow end up back in Texas. It's always felt like home to us. We just wish we could bring all of our friends from Arkansas with us. That's the part that is the hardest to contend with...not being surrounded with all of the people that over the years have become very important to us. We will, in time, form new relationships with people we have yet to meet. It's a little scary. I can't speak for Lisa but it's kind of exciting too...exciting to know we are going to meet new people that we'll form strong bonds with. That, like anything, will come in time. Until then, it feels a bit like being in a strange place although this area is very familiar to us because we've visited so often and because this is where Lisa grew up for 17 years.
To say our family has been on a roller coaster ride these past few months would be an understatement. Life and the choices you make can make for some really tough times. One day we might have to sit down and write a memoir of some kind to pass along the things we've learned along the way. There are SO many things Lisa and I would do differently if we had the luxury of that time machine thingy Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite so often wished for out loud. Through our own mistakes and through the things we've endured, we've often found ourselves grapsing for straws, wondering out loud if God was truly there, if He truly cared about us and what we were going through. Anyone who would have you believe trying to live out an authentic Christian walk is easy is lying, delusional, faking or a combination of all three. I don't know that I've felt as big of a failure as I've felt these last few months than at any other time in my life. This walk has a way of stripping you down until you are confronted with the sobering reality of who you are at your core. Who am I at my core? A broken, needy person who knows much less than what I thought I knew and completely dependent upon a loving Savior who knows much more and better than I do.
Despite the challenges we've faced and are facing, we have reason for hope. There are yet unrealized opportunities that lay beyond the horizon, seen and unseen. Lisa is excelling in cosmetology school and establishing herself as a top student in her class, which I'm very proud of. It's exciting to see her do so well, finally following a long-held dream. I know she's going to be an exceptional stylist so it's going to be fun to see how that takes shape over time. Kaylise has transitioned to 1st grade in a new school very well. I think it helps that two of her cousins attend the same school. She and Isaiah LOVE being close to their cousins and one of their Grannies. We're just dealing with trying to get them to understand that although they live in the same town now, it doesn't mean they get to visit them every day. Good luck to us on that! I've picked up a part-time job working when I'm not in research, which has been nice since I haven't had much research in the past 3 months (1 project to be exact). That has been a great source of frustration to say the least but I know God knows my situation and my need for work. The pain of not feeling productive as a man who is responsible for providing for his family is a very taxing, solitary pain that's hard to describe. And yet I know this is but for a season. This will not always be. I know I have to be diligent and focused on what I can control as a professional and leave the rest to God. He's shown us grace through family that has had to step in and provide us help with finances in amazing ways. I look forward to the times when we are the ones providing relief for those who need it.
My sincerest thanks to those of you, our friends and family, who have given their support, whether that be through prayer, phone calls, texts, e-mails or finances during this time of transition in our lives. We owe you so much more than the support you've given. We pray that you would be blessed seventy times seven for what you have done for us.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28 NASB