It isn’t a secret that 2016 has been a rough year for us. The first half of the year saw a lot of big life changes and sickness. Dee and I made a major change with our work which meant that we had to leave our home in Connemara and move to the heart of Dublin. We agonized over the choice to uproot and start over. We had made the West our home for most of our twenties and all of our thirties. All of our friends and community mean the world to us, and it was truly heart-breaking to have to move away from them. Making a home and finding a place in a small village in Connemara had been a big change… but the change from there to the heart of the capital city has proved to be just as equally challenging. Don’t get me wrong… I really believe that we made the right choice, it was just an agonizing one that tortured us every step of the process. Throw into the mix the fact that my mother was diagnosed with cancer right after we made the commitment to move… Needless to say, we doubted all of our decisions and whether or not we should even be living in Ireland. There were hours/days/weeks that I think we struggled with depression and fear. Weeks where I just felt SO tired all of the time that I was just desperate to run away and hide. There were many days spent looking at flight prices back to the USA… and countless tears were shed. I have never really grieved like this before. I have never really felt the weight of sadness that seemed to camp on and smother my heart. I honestly felt as if it was the middle of the night and we were stuck in a small boat in the middle of a massive storm.
I wouldn’t dare say that we are through the storm yet…. But as I look back in awe and wonder at what we have come through already – I can’t help but feel gratitude and be filled with hope… optimism mixed with grief… and loneliness mixed with a real sense of being loved…
As I sit here in our little Dublin café drinking my morning mocha I can’t help but wonder how someone without a personal faith would ever be able to survive life’s storms. Honestly – it was a real sense of God’s loving presence in our lives mixed with faith that He DOES have a plan for us that has pushed us closer to the other side of the storm. I wonder - how does someone who does not have a belief that the storm is somehow a part of the bigger picture/plan for our lives survive the storm? I really don’t know how. There were days that I had to go out to the sea and scream/cry/weep before God… and I always came back able to face another day by faith. The Bible never promises that this life (by faith) will be easy… it never says that we will be spared from sickness or from jobs that don’t work out the way you wanted. It does, however, promise that God will be with us (his followers) and that His mercy will be new every day.
While in Dingle a couple of weeks ago – I got up early and went out to catch a sunrise on my own. I just needed some time to stand on the cliff edge and be reminded that God really is more faithful than the sun is faithful to rise… and that I must trust Him anew each and every day.