It's been many weeks, actually months, and essentially years in the works. And yet, the decision has come as a total shock. We have many more questions than answers, but we know that for now we are coming "home." We aren't sure for how long. A year? A lifetime? Only the Lord knows. It has not been an easy decision, but we know it is the right decision.
Ryan and I have been working with a therapist in the States since the spring, focusing on how to best parent our little guy. Actually, over the last several years, we have worked with educational and mental health providers in multiple countries trying to find the best combination of resources to help him thrive. However at this point, at the advice of our providers, we have decided that we need to return to the States where the stressors are a bit less and the resources are much, much more.
We had desperately hoped, even as the need to step away became more apparent, that we could make it until June. In our minds, we wanted Lizzie to be able to graduate from school here. I wanted to finish out my teaching commitment. Just a little more time to have the neat and tidy closure we thought necessary. Yet, we were urged to consider coming sooner and when all of the pros and cons were laid before us, we decided to yield to that counsel. So, quite surprisingly, we'll be spending this Christmas in America.
To say that we aren't scared would be a lie. We are constantly fighting the temptation to freak out. We have no idea of what the future holds. What will we drive? What will we wear on our feet in December, we don't even own close-toed shoes! Will we have to change jobs? If so, are we even employable in the States anymore?
Not to mention, there is so much to do. On this side, we are selling 95% of our possessions. We have spent the last two weeks sorting, packing, and preparing for that. Jobs need to be finished well. Goodbyes need to be said. College applications and FAFSAs which were already overwhelming now seem like a mountain to be climbed. Meanwhile, on the US side, therapists need to be secured. Winter clothes need to be purchased. School decisions need to be made. We are constantly having to take our thoughts captive to keep from being completely overwhelmed. We are trying desperately to cling to the Lord and to trust that He will provide for our every need- emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially.
We do know a few things...initially we will stay in the Raleigh area, near my dad and our oldest daughter, Abby. Our church is graciously hosting us at their mission house. We will be on medical leave as we figure out what the best long term plan will be. Returning overseas may be an option at some point, but we have been told that West Africa will not be a choice available to us as we will need ongoing care options that just aren't available in this part of the world. This makes us very sad, sadder than we can begin to understand or communicate.
More importantly, we know that God is not surprised. He called us to parent every one of our children. He can and will completely equip us to do that. We need only to we seek Him and rest in that assurance. We have the opportunity to be part of serving Him and sharing His love and His story faithfully, no matter where our geography finds us. We are doing our very best to remind ourselves of that moment by moment, no matter how overwhelming the day's tasks feel.
We do covet your prayers. Our burdens feel great and we are happy to share them. Thankfully, our community here has been so kind and gracious to us in these past few weeks. So many people have stepped in to help us think through the logistics of all that must be done and then to help us do them. We are seeing the beauty of our relationships here as we walk through what has been one of the hardest things we have ever faced. We are so very thankful that even in this storm, the Lord is lavishing us with His love and goodness.