There is a long story about why our family is here in Richmond and where we would like to be settling down. The short story is that we are renting a house here while we are in "transition," but we don't know what we are transitioning to.
We renewed our lease this month after praying over the decision and having as many conversations about it as we could squeeze in. We looked online for options. The Lawyer has been thinking about variables that could change to allow us to live further out of the city (we're really not in the city now, but it's closer than we prefer). The trade off is that our family loses time with him when his commute increases and that's not appealing at all.
Yet, the older I get, the more I want to feel rooted and to have community. I don't want to keep moving around. I long for my porch swing and a screened in porch to spend these warm summer evenings on. I'd like to fix up a place and make it beautiful for our family. I'd like a clothesline again and a little flock of chickens (seems like every one's American dream right now!). The farm girl in me is aching for my own place and years accumulating like dirt under my fingernails. Blackberry bushes and asparagus patches and sunflowers along fences and the smell of a horse and apple trees and a grape arbor and blue sky overhead. . . these are the things I'm yearning for.
And, as our children grow I want things for them, too: a place to explore and bigger trees to climb and places to get muddy and build forts and animals to take care of and real, good, hard work to do. Really, it's a childhood like mine that I'd like for them. Where we are right now we don't feel like we have this. And so we feel unsettled.
Our plan was to live in this smallish house (1300 square feet) for a year (which has turned into 3) while we worked to pay down law school debt and figured out if this job was a long-term job for The Lawyer and where we would want to live (as we were completely unfamiliar with Richmond).
Now, we feel like we don't know anything. I don't know if we're staying here. I don't know where we'd want to go. Illinois is always on the table because our families live there. We wonder if we should buy or rent and where to look and how far out to go. And the months seem to be slipping away so quickly and we cringe to think that our bigger boys will only know and remember a childhood in the suburbs (which isn't a bad thing, just different than we intended!).
As we've prayed over this and had hard conversations, we haven't really come to any conclusions. And then, the Lord was so good to remind me this week of the words He gave me in January. For the last few years, I've asked Him to give me a word or words to focus on for the year. I wasn't totally sure I was hearing right this year, but I thought what the Holy Spirit kept whispering to my heart was "Hold On." And the words came echoing back through my foggy thinking this week and I heard the words simplified to just, "Hold." (So I guess we don't need to look at any more houses?!)
"Hold On" in January meant to me that there may be change ahead and I just needed to cling to Jesus and He would carry us through. In July, it's simply "Hold," and I think we are to just keep being HERE for the time being. Maybe there are changes in the works that we cannot see (of course!). I like to hope that our dreams are closer to being realized than I can imagine, that God again has amazingly good things in store for our family that will surprise us. And if not, then "Hold" may mean that we just keep trusting and doing good and waiting on Him and clinging to Jesus. . . which is what we should be doing anyway. Good words.