Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In every high and stormy gale

Well, I just really appreciate being able to be honest. And I love knowing that people pray for our family and that people identify with our family. 'Cause ya know, misery loves company.

I am feeling better! Hurray! I still don't have my voice back 100%, but it feels so much better. I'm obviously on the brink though. I really needed to feel better because I am just losing it! My sister sent me some vitamin supplements that are supposed to be great for right after having a baby and nursing and everything. I have just recently run out of pre-natal vitamins and when I went to get my refills our insurance has run out and they wanted like $65 for them! Whoa! Those were some 'spensive vitamins! So her gift could not have come at a better time. I am hoping the vitamins will help with my general energy and happy hormone levels and also with this major shedding I am experiencing. Not that I don't have three times as much hair on my head as anyone else you have ever met, just that that means there is oh-so-much more to shed. It is gross. Sorry for sharing. Anyway, the vitamins might help, and hopefully getting home will help.

It is so very odd to me how personally people have taken my distaste for St. Louis. One of my very best friends started at Auburn my senior year there and hated it. She felt so bad for hating my home. I felt so sad that she did. I never dreamed of being personally offended that she was unhappy where I had been so happy. I just wanted her to be happy too. I was so happy for her when she decided to transfer. I missed her, but I would never want her to force herself to stay in Auburn- it so obviously just wasn't her thing. And I don't mean it personally that St. Louis is not my thing. I am sure I have not handled that so well all the time. The first post where I mercilessly made fun of St. Louis was written when I thought only about twelve people read my blog. I had no idea there were other people reading who might be offended. But really, I have no idea why it bothers people so much. I recently heard that some celebrity said something bad about Philadelphia in Rolling Stone and then had to issue a public apology to the people of the city. Ridiculous! Besides that I refuse to give into the silliness that is someone having more feeling and loyalty for a city than for a live human being, how could I expect to like St. Louis? Really.

We ended up here after several years of applying, being accepted, and then deciding against coming to seminary because our lives in Birmingham were so comfortable. George didn't really like his job there and we weren't rich by any means and we lived way out, but it was pretty good to be us- we had a handful of friends that were like family, we were saving to buy a house, we were well settled into our church, and had two adorable, healthy children. Shortly after August was born, George was laid off with a couple hundred other guys from BellSouth. With so many guys with the same job experience floating around Birmingham looking for work, you can imagine there weren't a whole lot of options for us. George was unemployed for five months. After five months a friend from church helped him land a temp job with minimal pay and no benefits. We were very grateful for the job, but we were seeing pretty clearly that our big comfortable reasons for not pursuing seminary no longer existed. In fact, we really couldn't afford to stay in Birmingham anymore; and while seminary seemed unaffordable, George clearly needed more education to find a better job. He really wanted to go to seminary and we really had nothing more to lose. We decided to make the move. Through the course of the unemployment and move, we used up all the money we had saved to buy a house. We also went through a miscarriage during that summer. It was just miserable. And then we had to say goodbye to all our friends and move away. St. Louis never had a chance.

I have tried to give it a chance. I told George coming that I was exhausted and I just didn't know how I would manage. It has gotten harder and harder the longer we've been here; and I don't manage very well, I know. Today was one of many days where I thought I might just have to beg George to drop out of school and move us back home. Trust me, it would not have been anything like the first time. With Christmas behind us, I began thinking of bills and of insurance and our budget. George has had to stop work at the bank to keep up with his new job as apartment manager. While the job as apartment manager does pay our rent, it does not provide benefits or much additional income. So we are pretty much the worse off when compared to our situation before having to move last year (though undoubtedly much better off than the four months this summer!). On top of that, some of our supporters have found themselves unable to continue support and others found it necessary to cut their support in half. But it is not just our situation. The seminary community seems to be exploding with needs. It's not even just the seminary community; we know people in many places with real needs. I found myself overwhelmed with all of this today, with homesickness, with the great task of parenting, and with the great task of today- packing my family for a week (in order to help soothe the aforementioned homesickness), and weak from illness and missed sleep, and with somebody that really hurt my feelings and doesn't want to reconcile and everything you all find yourselves overwhelmed with. And I prayed, almost triumphantly, "This is too much! This is just a giant storm, and no human being could weather it," as if I had finally reached that point after years of praying that sort of prayer (oh yes, I'm very dramatic) where God would see it my way and let up a bit. And ironically, though as is usually the case, I was the one who came out of the moment seeing things differently. I don't want to say his way, 'cause you know I hate being all hoodoo voodoo about things. The Holy Spirit is such a mysterious Being and I don't want to go crediting things to Him that are not from Him. (Like don't ya just hate it when someone who kinda rubs you the wrong way or gets on your nerves a little tells you that she thinks you and she are just so much alike? Yikes! I don't want to be doing one of those... Anyway,) I started thinking about Peter walking on the water during the storm. And how, literally, no human being could do that, but Peter was able to as long as he was fixed on Jesus and not fixed on that storm. As soon as he started freaking about the storm, he started sinking too. And I thought the reason I am weathering this storm so badly is because I am focusing on it so much and not on Christ enough. And trust me, I am not one of these people that is saying that I don't have a two hour quiet time every day so my life is going to hell in a hand basket. I have actually been aware for a while that I'm pretty distracted.

Well, that's about all I guess I should share with a couple hundred of my closest friends. I'm kidding. I flatter myself. But however many people read this, I hash out enough confusion and doubt that I thought it only right to post something encouraging, if it is that. I just know everyone's got a storm. And my storm was less of a problem, though just as big, when I thought about my Savior who loves me, and not about homesickness and bills and mean people and insurance and fevers and a year and a half more of seminary. I have no idea how all of that will be resolved. And I will probably freak out about it again. But for today, I feel better.

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my Hope and Stay

On Christ the Solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand

10 comments:

dblyoo said...

thank you for the encouragement, sweet friend. i've been quite distracted from Christ lately and cannot handle much of anything. i freak out A LOT actually. thanks for posting those amazing lyrics, too - that's one of my favorites. i'm so glad you're feeling better and we absolutely cannot wait to see you in a few days! big hugs are comin' your way!
-wp

Jandy said...

I don't remember if I commented on your earlier posts about disliking St. Louis...probably I didn't because I was too bemused that anyone wouldn't like it. ;) *shrug* I've never lived anywhere else for longer than a few months (three months in England had me ready to disown St. Louis in favor of anywhere in the UK, but three months in Waco TX has made me love and miss St. Louis more than I can describe), so I really can't comment objectively. I just love how much stuff there is to do, relatively cheaply, but how unobtrusive most of the stuff to do is--it has big-city stuff without feeling like a big city. And I love the mashing up of different "real" towns into St. Louis--moving between Kirkwood, Webster, Maplewood, U-City, downtown, Brentwood, Clayton, etc. and getting to know each of their individual "personalities" is one of my favorite things about StL. Now, if they'd only put in some film-revival houses, like you find in New York, and put us in the top tier for limited independent releases, I'd be perfectly happy! (Interestingly, I have no love for the Midwest in general.) So it's not that I'd begrudge anyone who didn't like my town, I just freely admit to not understanding it...and I wonder if we St. Louisans have done something wrong in not welcoming you or showing you the best of our city (not that I'm even sure what that is--for someone who does love StL, I am remarkably uninformed about the "hotspots"). Of course, that feeling that you'd of course like StL if you experienced it properly is also fairly arrogant on my part, isn't it? ;)

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Bless your sweet soul. I am so sorry for your homesickness. I can relate to that from other seasons in our marriage. Life is so incredibly hard sometimes! Thanks for being real and also for sharing the hymn lyrics. I needed to hear that hymn today. Take care and much love!

RHB said...

Great hymn! My favorite, actually. :) Without sounding "hoodoo voodoo", it sounds like you were indeed comforted and encouraged by the Holy Spirit today. Thanks for sharing that!
Have a great time at home!

Love you!

Anonymous said...

So sorry you guys were so sick right before Chrismas- and that we keep missing each other!! No, we aren't going to Nashvile at all. My dad and Debbie were here for Christmas and we decided not to travel. I hope you have a great trip. Call me when you get back. love, Jennie

jennifer said...

Abby,
First, thanks for the encouraging words. It is good to know how the Lord is working in your life.

Second, something Jandy said made me think that it isn't fair for students to ever judge a city where they live. I know you aren't the student, but being married to a sem student is almost the same thing. What I mean is that as a student, you know you are only going to be in the city temporarily, and oftentimes, you don't have the means to enjoy all the city has to offer. I'm not a St Louisan, so I am not offended by your not liking the city. I just think that as you move on through life, you might look back on St Louis differently than you feel about it now.

Have a great visit to your hometown, and Happy New Year!

george edema said...

Abby pointed out to me that I made a typo when titling her blog for her. I wanted to make sure y'all knew that it was my mistake. Abby would never make such an egregious error.

Elizabeth said...

I wondered if that was some fancy British way of saying it I didn't know about.

As always, we enjoyed dinner with y'all last night and all the craziness six children bring to the mix.

Anonymous said...

Love the hymn, love how you came to resolve for the moment. I was reminded of the time I stood in a ramshackled kitchen crying to Clay to quit school so we could pay the rent without taking another cash advance on our credit card.

I know it doesn't help to tell you that I've lived through the storm. The sun shines more now, but there will always be cloudy days.

I do love how you are unapologetic about loathing Stl. I also know you are aware of God and His love and how he's preparing a perfet home not on this earth for you (where there will be endless bolts of beautiful fabric and everyone will speak in a Southern accent).

Abby said...

april, you're awesome!!!!

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