stuck on the tilt-a-whirl

Change is a tilt-a-whirl, hurtling you not just up and down but spinning and lurching and side-winding. Unpredictable motion means you can’t stay on your toes to anticipate what’s next – it wipes you out, leaves you wondering when the ride stops and how you got so stuck.

And that’s how I would sum up the past eight and a half weeks, for those of you wondering how our transition to Conway has been.

As with any carnival ride, the tilt-a-whirl has its fun moments. Otherwise, it would have disappeared from the fairground circuit. There’s the excitement and the almost-sick-but-surprisingly-delicious feeling in your stomach when you come up in the air just so. There’s the blur of colors of the world around you, t-shirts and trailers and cotton candy kaleidoscoping your vision. There’s the eager anticipation of what the next turn will entail.

But no one wants to stay on the tilt-a-whirl. After what seems like a 45-second ride (despite that 20 minute wait), you get off. Your jelly legs adjust to life on firm land. And you scamper off to check out another machine, which will carry you in a different pattern of motion.

Stuck in perpetual and unpredictable motion. Hello, moving to a new city and starting new jobs and making new friends and moving twice and missing what was left behind.

I’ll cut the metaphors and tell ya straight – it’s been a wild ride. (Okay, that wasn’t planned and now I’m done.)

There have been some exciting and affirming moments throughout our time in Conway. We have felt welcomed at church and within a small group. It’s sweet being close to my family and specifically getting to see my sister daily as we now teach at the same school. Once we finally closed on a house and moved in, that feeling of “home” came quickly, even in the midst of boxes (that are almost gone!).

As a side note, while moving is plain irritating, and moving everything you own twice in six weeks is not recommended, we felt so loved by the number of people willing to give up an afternoon or an evening to help us load Uhauls and unload Uhauls and rearrange furniture, even in the rain. We ended each endeavor exhausted but ever so grateful for the presence of people, many of whom didn’t even know us very well.

But there have also been some really discouraging realizations as it sinks in that practically every part of our life is something new, something to learn and grow in. It’s been like our first year of marriage: difficult not necessarily because of continual conflict or annoyance with someone else sharing my space, but mentally and emotionally exhausting from constantly encountering a new situation to work through or make a decision for. All of life has changed, and Eric and I are trying to reset any semblance of normalcy.

And on the days when we fail to grab hold of the Lord and truth about Him, we are running on empty, individually and in our marriage.

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. (James 1:17 HCSB)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

Because I, Yahweh, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. (Malachi 3:6 HCSB)

While the change in my circumstances might tempt me to doubt God’s path for my life and ministry, and while it has changed the trajectory of where I thought He was using me, I am comforted that He does not change. He is the giver of good gifts, even when I don’t understand His ways and selfishly wish for other gifts. He fulfills His promises to me to be with me and to equip me, just as He fulfilled His promises to preserve the nation of Israel.He remains on the throne, and He has the authority to move me in any which direction He chooses.

Because I trust His goodness through a kaleidoscope, despite the tilting and whirling of life.

He walks beside me, guiding me through the blur and into a deeper dependence on Him.

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