This month we hit the year-mark in our Colorado adventure. And let me tell you, June 2012 is about a billion times nicer than June 2011. Last June I woke up most days sure that we had made a huge mistake in moving out here. Our family car (the only one we all fit in at at the same time) was at aamco for weeks getting the transmission ripped apart, while Ricky worked one of the crummiest schedules he's ever worked (and he's worked some lame schedules). The dryer that came with us out here wouldn't work- it's gas and we needed an electric one, so while I didn't have a car I did have laundry for six people to hang on a line outside. My sweet baby girl started cutting teeth and stopped sleeping through the night; my six-year old threw fits at almost every park we went to, screaming "I miss Parker! I just want my best friend back!" until I felt like screaming the same thing back at him. We had no church, we had no friends, we had no money, we had no cute little condo steps away from the water in Oxnard, CA.
I guess I just didn't think that packing up the fam and moving a thousand miles away was that big of a deal.
If you're considering making a big move with your family right now, don't worry. It gets better. But I'll be totally honest with you when I say that I've never wanted to swear or beat my kids more than I did in the month that we moved out here. (And if you know me, you know I'm not a swearer or a kid-beater.)
Praise the Lord, a lot has changed in such a very short time. And I think it's especially cool because it's all stuff that the Bender family has learned together. This isn't really my style, but my mind's a jumble of thoughts and stuff, so here are a couple of the biggies that we've learned:
It is hard to be the new family. Particularly at church. I know that doesn't sound positive, but it totally is. I can think of two hands worth of people who really tried to get to know us in Oxnard and who we just kind of blew off because we already had a nice crew of friends. I'd call them up and say I'm sorry, but I can't because I never got their phone numbers and don't remember their names. We weren't purposeful in being mean, but we also weren't purposeful in being very nice. There have been a few people out here who've been wonderfully purposeful and sincere in their kindness towards us, and that's tremendous.
For my friends who have a safe and fun little crew of playdate, birthday party, zoo and dinner friends, let me encourage you to be tremendous to someone this week. When you see the new family trying not to be awkward at church or on your street, be purposeful and do more than just smile and say hi. For us, we've made a huge effort to have people over for dinner. Every Friday or Saturday night we're trying to get to know someone new.
No matter what happens or where you are, let your spouse be your best friend. Remember sucky times together and remember the Lord's faithfulness together. Rejoice in little triumphs together and praise the Lord together. Be real with each other, pray for each other and remember that you're in this together. Whatever it is- a job situation, a crazy family, a tough move, just life and all the wild stuff it holds- be aware that the enemy of your soul wants to pit you against your spouse. Stand firm with each other.
This past year has brought Ricky and I into a whole new wave of friendship. I would pick up and move 1000 miles all over again just for the blessing of deeper friendship with my husband.
Maybe there's something that you've been thinking and praying about doing, but you haven't because "you're waiting on the Lord." Ricky and I waited and thought and prayed for two years before we moved because we just weren't getting any kind of direction. There was no burning bush in our living room, with a booming voice that said "GO TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS." We didn't open our Bibles and read "MOVE YE TO THE MOUNTAINS." (Ricky's a King James kind of guy.) We just committed the weird itch for Denver that we had to the Lord and sent out some resumes. We figured that if we at least tried to let the Lord lead us while we stepped out, He would. And He did. At first nothing looked the way we wanted it to, but after giving it a couple of months, Ricky had Sundays off for the first time in seven years. He's working for a company that he'd dreamed of working with. It was scary and lonely and so fruitful.
God is your Father and He loves you. He knows you'll mess up, and it's not a sin to try something new.
I don't really know who I'm writing this to, but I know that I'm not alone in these things. I know that I have friends and family that are contemplating and going through big life changes. And I guess I just want to encourage you that it's worth it. If you're walking with Jesus, trust Him to be the mighty and loving Savior that He is. To you.