Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pride, Humble Pie and Maine

Something inside me stirred, but I brushed it aside. I wanted to make it on my own and live here in Dallas. Besides, what sensible Southerner moves to a place with such long, cold winters.

Funny how pride shows up when we choose to fly solo. How it blindsides even the humblest of people. Wily schemes are able to slip in more easily. And life can get pretty messy.

I believe I’m in that messy place right now. In hindsight, pride is what got me here to begin with.

You see, I never knew if I could really make it on my own financially. In my early twenties, I earned a decent income but shared household expenses with roommates. Then I married my husband. Our combined salaries provided for a very comfortable lifestyle. Once I became a stay-home mom, we lived off his paycheck. Sadly, we separated many years later. The divorce settlement assured me that I had something to fall back on… just in case.

As a Christian, I know not to trust in such a practical safeguard. It can vanish in an instant. Nonetheless, my nest egg made me feel secure. That worldly assurance hindered me from trusting God completely with other areas of my life.

So, this morning in the stillness of the predawn hours, I prayed for insight after another job opportunity fizzled. I then focused on my Bible study lesson for today. One of the scriptures centered on the story of the prodigal son in a pigpen. An existence unfit for any person let alone a Jew who believes swine are unclean. This young Hebrew had hit rock bottom. He wanted to go home. His willingness to be hired on as one of his father’s servants kept poking at my thoughts. (Luke 15:19)

It finally dawned on me the similarities between my dilemma and this young man’s situation. We both wanted to do something our own way. He ended up living in a pigsty. My failure to find work makes me feel as though I’m in a pigsty. The prodigal was willing to move back home. Would I be willing to pick up and go somewhere else? The northeastern part of the United States seems to be calling my name. And there's a very good reason why. Let me explain.

My sister Meg and her husband grew tired of the scorching summers here in Texas. So they moved with their twin daughters to his home state of Maine. Actually, only she and the girls moved. My brother-in-law stayed behind because of his job.

Shortly after she left, I graduated from college with a journalism degree. Meg wanted me to come to New England to help with the twins. Her thought was that I could pursue my writing career while they were in school during the day.

Remember the something that stirred inside me? The one I brushed aside? Well, that something began to swirl immediately after Meg invited me to live with her. I know now it was the Spirit of God getting my attention. Yet I ignored His once-gentle nudges. Instead, I believed a job in Dallas was far better than moving to another state. Ever since then, the prods to go to Maine have accelerated while the doors to employment here have remained closed. Talk about a miserable way to live.

This morning I cried because after a decade of living alone, I don’t know if I’m capable of living with others again. I cried because I love Dallas and the pulse of the big city. And I cried because this city girl has no desire to move out into the middle of the country.

With that said, if the quiet and peaceful Maine countryside is truly where the Lord wants me, I will go.

I’ve learned a thing or two since my sister’s invitation a couple years ago. We were never created to be lone rangers. We were made with a desire to live life with each other.

Divine intuition tells me that by living with Meg and her soon-to-be teen daughters, I have a second chance to fulfill a yearning. You see, I never got to experience the fruition of raising teenagers. That stage of parenthood with my own teenage kids ended abruptly when they went to live with their dad over a decade earlier. I survived that heartbreak but missed out on the normal, daily interactions with my children. The pain from that loss never really went away. It still surfaces every now and then.

Could my nieces somehow be used as a conduit to finally heal that part of my soul?

Doors slamming shut for the past two years lead me to believe the Lord has plans for me elsewhere. Yet I’m downcast about pulling up roots again. About the possibility of living in the middle of nowhere.

But, oh, what a breathtaking nowhere! New England. A landscape sculpted and painted by God’s own hand.

Yes, pride makes me feel like I’d be leaving Texas with my tail between my legs. Like I failed on my own. However, I know such thoughts are not from above. From the One I’d trust with such a leap of faith.

Lord, dry my tears and humble me. Give me discernment for Your will and my future.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6