We have lived in this house for 4 1/2 months. Much, much shorter than we ever anticipated. But when you marry a hustler, he’ll get a promotion after just a few weeks on the job, and the next thing you know, you’re moving to Wyoming!
But in this short amount of time, this house became everything that we needed. It became our refuge.
It was a place to land after returning from Senegal, a place where we each had our own dressers! A place where we could finally put away the suitcases.
It became a place to mourn when something hard happened, on top of some already hard things. It also became the place of respect. “Talk about it if you want. Life is unfair. God is good. I’m here for you.” That was the subtle theme for these past 4 1/2 months in this house, and for our marriage.
This house became our place of conversation, a place where we could process, and with time it became a place where we could dream. (It also became the place where we Hulu-ed all those shows we missed out on. But that’s beside the point…) After a very demanding 24/7 overseas ministry, it has felt so good for us to just BE. To have time together, to process what God did during our time in West Africa, to think of how he might want to use those experiences in the future, to pray through the things we don’t understand, and to place them in his knowing hands.
We framed pictures of Roxy, pictures from our time in Bolivia, Cancun, and Nags Head. We hung baskets from Senegal next to our dining room table. It felt good to set up our home here because it was our first time (ever!) living in the USA where we were going to be staying in the USA. This wasn’t a home assignment where we had a limited number of weeks / months. We didn’t have an itinerary where we had to see X amount of churches (spread out across the country) in a short amount of time, give an energetic update on what’s happening on the field and how people can get involved, pray, and/or support us monthly, etc. This wasn’t a short-term visit. We could hang pictures, put our blue towels in the closet, and just BE.
It was a place where we could escape the noise and the confusion of culture shock. Being inbetween worlds we weren’t quite ready to embrace the American culture head-on, and at the same time we were thankful to be removed from the West African culture. We needed a breather from it all and our living room provided that respite. It was the Shawn & Jenn
show culture. And that’s something that we could understand and relate to.
We could process together because we’ve both been there. We get each other. And this home provided a living room where we could set up his big recliner and my red couch and we could work through this grief in transition, through the highs and lows of reentry, we could watch Last Man on Earth, and just BE.
We’ve talked to a few people who are shocked we’re moving so soon, and I get that. 13 moves is a little cray cray. We don’t deny that. But with each move there’s a bittersweet feeling – sad to leave friends / family (thankfully this time we’ll only be an hour from our CO friends / family), we don’t necessarily enjoy the packing / unpacking process, but with each move there’s so much possibility. It’s a fresh start (what a way to begin 2016!), there are friends we haven’t met yet, and a church we don’t know yet, and experiences that will mold us. That’s something each move and location has provided. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
So even though we didn’t stay on 14th Street for long, a lot happened here. And for that we’re thankful.
Side note: any move is a breeze when you’ve evacuated from one West African country (with bullets flying through your neighborhood) to another in less than a week.
Let the packing begin!