My phone was blowing up in my purse as I sunk my teeth into an oversized petit four. As it turns out, the texts were more of a treat than the miniature cake with a rosette on top. After leaving my OB appointment I had composed a text to let people know when my new baby would arrive, that she had finally moved positions, and that my favorite doctor would officially deliver. After I pressed send I looked back at the list of recipients. Each lady represented so much of the Lord's graciousness and provision in my life. Each lady lived in a different state. Each lady prays for me.
I have moved eleven times and lived in seven states since 2004. I have begged for egg boxes at IGA, bought bubble wrap in bulk, solicited help from any one that would help. I have cried, I have sobbed, I have been lonely. I have felt disoriented. I have had to accept help when my prideful soul wanted to pretend I didn't need help. I have learned to pray, what it really means to memorize scripture, and to go meet people when I really just want to run to my hometown and be with my people who have known me since before I was born. I have experienced deep joy and witnessed Christ work in my heart and around my family like I could never have imagined. All because of the game of football.
Moving and learning to move; there is no class. It is emotional and physically draining. Throughout these twelve years I have learned that you can't give into that, and you can't stop there. You must begin with the idea that the Lord will go before you orchestrating all of the best for you and your family. In the beginning it was only important to me that I lived somewhere safe, found a church, made friends, and that I would land a good hair colorist. Today I still look for those things, but my list has grown as my family has grown. I make a physical list of everything that begins to overwhelm me, and I pray that list, continually lay it down before the Lord as any one of the items begins to creep in and create anxiety. I watch the Lord check EVERY single item off. At times it has taken a year or more for some items. The Lord is all about details, our details. He longs to show up big, and for us to give Him the glory for what He does. "He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
When I was little my mom managed to get the most delicious biscuit recipe from our neighbor, Mrs. Lawson. These little bites of heaven are light, and buttery, and can be cut round, or heart shaped, or even into your home state's shape when you're needing that. When you make these biscuits, as you would any biscuit, you have to use your hands. Your hands get sticky, and floury. The dough is everywhere. It always seems that when I make this recipe someone calls when my hands are covered. I always feel like I have to stop, regroup, and quickly answer the phone. Moving has been like making Mrs. Lawson's biscuits for me. You just kind of have to dive in. You must go and meet the neighbors, they don't always come to meet you. You go visit the church and the bible study in a room full of women you don't know. You go again. You don't compare to what you used to have when you lived in the last town. You live in this town, and you pray that the Lord makes it your home, and that it will feel like home. You get your hands in the mix and you seek His face. Even if you never gain a heart for your new town, you will know the Lord deeper, and you will know how much you need Him.
In Arkadelphia, Arkansas the Lord gave me a wonderful neighbor who loved to make homemade marshmallows. I remember one cold night I heard a pounding on my front door. When I peered through the peep hole I saw her holding a huge rubber spatula and her hand cupped underneath so as to prevent any marshmallow "drippage". That night she ran inside my house and we ate real marshmallow cream. She reached out to me and we pressed through the awkward and we still keep in touch today. As a child I grew up in First Baptist Church Sumter, South Carolina. My mom sang in the choir and my dad sat with my siblings and me. One quick way to make me homesick is going to a new church. If I just let myself go and my eyes drift to the choir loft I realize I don't see those familiar faces, and I don't hear my dad singing next to me in the pew. Before long, if I reach out, and allow people in, I do know those faces in the choir loft, and I benefit and grow. I have story upon story like these. That doesn't mean these people are common, but instead that our Lord is gracious and extravagant with His children.
There are those times that there are gaps and I don't feel God. I don't sense His way for us, and his provisions of the past seem like a blurry mirage. It is in those times that my husband and I go back to our time line. We've created an actual Brown Family timeline and the only dates on it are dates that we see God move in our lives. In those times He cared for us so obviously that we could do nothing but rejoice. This timeline guides us through the "gap" to remember He is gracious all of the time; when we notice and when we do not. The Lord is always active. Always. We must train our minds to see Him at work.
-Rachel Jones Brown
A most grateful "thank you" to Rachel for sharing her heartfelt and very transparent story. Sometimes it's hard to admit our insecurities and struggles. It's hard as moms to put out there that we don't have ALL the answers and we don't have it ALL together ALL the time. If we are honest, we are all Rachels. We cry, we scream, we get to the end of our ropes. Isn't it merciful of our Heavenly Father to send us "a Rachel" to share and to empathize with us until we feel strong enough to reach out and take His hand once again. You are a blessing girl! Thank you for your words.
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