Over a year ago, my mother-in-law lay in a coma in a hospital bed in Buffalo, New York. The day before Mother's Day 2018, my husband and his brothers flew to be with her for Mother's Day. I spent the weekend with my kids and my New City Macon church family, bawling my eyes out, being held and prayed with, supported and loved on as I grieved and waited on God. The rest of May brought more waiting on God, more trusting, more grieving and more suffering for our Hart family as my sister-in-law was rushed to the hospital and had to have emergency surgery after her second loss of a child in 16 months. June 2018 was a frenzied month, with Joel traveling back and forth to see his mom and help his dad as often as he could, packing all our belongings in boxes to move one neighborhood over in an effort to reach some financial goals, and a trip to Baltimore to stay with sister-in-law Emily while she recovered and experienced still another setback with an injury that had happened during her surgery.
With many of our things still yet unpacked in our new little house, we began to receive an inkling that God, through a LifeWay opportunity, could be moving us away from Macon in the future. My immediate reaction, as usual, was "Nope. No way. Let's not even bring this up right now. I can't even think about it." Throughout July, I unpacked in a hurry, enjoyed summer fun with the kids, we vacationed with friends, and we ended the month with a trip to NY to see Joel's parents. While we were there, Joel's mom had to go into the hospital in Olean, and we were able to spend the week supporting her and Joel's dad while the older two kids went to Bethany Camp.
August 2018 brought a diagnosis that we were all hoping we would not hear. Joel's mom was finally able to be transferred to Cleveland Clinic, where we learned that she had ALS. Although it was heart-crushing to find out this news, the diagnosis enabled her to finally receive the support and home medical equipment she needed in order to leave the hospital. I started another year of homeschool with the kids, and signed up for a fall semester of co-op. Just a couple of weeks later, Joel was promoted to manage the Louisville, KY LifeWay store, starting on September 1st. We made a quick trip to Louisville to find a house to rent (God provided such a perfect one on the first day of hunting!) Joel packed up a few things and drove to Louisville on September 4th, the day after my birthday, to start at his new store.
During this tumultuous summer, I spent a lot of time crying out to God. For those of you who are moms, you know how hard it is to find time and space to be alone, needing time to grieve and pray and process without scaring or upsetting the kids. Don't get me wrong, it's okay to cry in front of your kids and they have seen me cry many, many times over these months, but sometimes, you just need to lose it all by yourself. The master bathroom of that little house that we lived in for only three months was my place to lose it. The day we heard of Mom Hart's diagnosis, I sobbed on the edge of the bathtub. When I took my morning shower, I would listen to music, and my favorite song that God gave me during this time was Do It Again, by Elevation Worship. So many days, I said to God, "God, if You want to move us to Louisville, You're going to have to do it. I don't want this. I have not one ounce of excitement or joy to give to this move, so if You want us there, if You truly want us to do this again, You will have to change me and make me willing."
"I've seen You move, You move the mountains And I believe, I'll see You do it again You made a way, where there was no way And I believe, I'll see You do it again."
Through the month of September, the boys and I (and Joel!) battled through a week-long bout with food poisoning, then a difficult month of separation, with the kids and I finishing out our responsibilities at church and enjoying a few weeks of our Georgia co-op, and Joel getting settled into his role in the Louisville store. October brought a few days away as a family and then our move, with the craziness of unpacking and learning the area, finding new doctors and dentists, changing our address on everything, and beginning to visit churches in the area.
Finding a church here in Louisville was an extremely emotional and difficult process for me. Our New City Church in Macon had been such a place of growth and support for us, learning what the Gospel really means and what it looks like in practical application in community. I wanted my old church (or one exactly like it) here. One Saturday night, I cried until I finally fell asleep, filled with anxiety and sadness that centered around visiting a new church. When that next morning came, I cried for hours, and I could not stop. I had to stay home and cry. Joel took the kids to church, and I spent time crying and praying and searching God's Word that day, and God helped me.
In January, we started attending a homeschool co-op in the area and also attending some homeschooling/unschooling meetups with a very supportive and welcoming group of people. God began to give us community through these groups. We found a 'Bible Fellowship Group' at Ninth and O Baptist Church and we began to have a community surrounding us there. We are really enjoying this city that has so much to offer, and we are thankful for the friends that God has already given us here.
Slowly, God began to heal my heart. During the months of February and March, there were days here and there that I didn't cry. I began to feel real joy and to laugh more with my family. I began to realize that God is doing it! He is doing it again! He is opening my heart to love Louisville. Joel's mom was able to write an update and a powerful testimony to God's faithfulness to her in the last year as well, and you can read it here. My sister-in-law has a blog where she shares deeply and personally what God is doing in her life and heart, and you can read it here.
In March of this year, we found out that LifeWay will be closing all of their stores by the end of 2019. Joel's time with the company will be coming to an end. So many of our friends checked on us as soon as they heard the news. We are so thankful for all of the support and love and help that all have shown us, especially in the middle of what has been an extremely tough year for our family. Of course we have all wondered, "God, why would You do this? Why now? Why allow us to move to Louisville just to take away the job we moved here for?" We might never know the answer to that question, but of course we trust that God knows, better than we do, what we really need. Maybe we just needed to know, one more time, that He is able, and He really will be faithful to do it again (again).
Is there an area in your life where you are waiting on God to show up and faithfully 'do it again'? Please leave a comment or send me a message - I would love to know how to pray for you!
"Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." -Isaiah 43:19 CSB
****This post has been in the works for months, and I am just now finally posting it. God is, in fact, doing something new, exciting, and scary in our family! Stay tuned for my next post, detailing what God is doing now!****