So, I’ve REALLY been struggling!
It all started back in November 2018, when I had a strong stirring that we needed to visit our hometown the next summer for my husband’s family’s bi-annual family reunion.
I didn’t really act on the stirring because we were just getting ready to send our oldest son on his mission; our first. We had grandparents coming to see him off, so I assumed I was just having a case of homesickness.
I hate homesickness. It truly is a disease and it can affect your life, just as much as a bad case of the flu can. So when you know you might be getting sick, you do things to try and prevent it from happening (load up on vitamin C, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, limit sugar, stay clean, wash your hands, be careful who you are close to, etc.). So I did the same with this stirring. I ignored it and instead fed myself with all the joy that was around me and was about to happen.
But the stirring grew stronger!
So I decided to think about visiting another place in the USA. Maybe Nauvoo? But when I mentioned the idea to my husband, HE said that if we go to the USA next summer, we really should visit family. That sealed it for me. For I already KNEW that we NEEDED to visit the USA next summer, I just didn’t know the location yet. Now I did.
I mentioned the idea to my in-laws, when they came to see our son in December, but they weren’t too excited. I think they were just in the moment and not really thinking of the next summer plans just yet. I was disappointed but I didn’t smash the idea; I let it stew. By January, we both knew (my husband and myself) that our family NEEDED to go to our hometown, but how would we afford it?
We didn’t really put much effort into our search, until Paul’s adorable niece invited us to her wedding in May (also in our hometown). Now we had a date, what about tickets? Thankfully my friend Fran had just visited our hometown and had found affordable tickets by flying to Las Vegas and then having someone meet her there and drive her 6 hours to where she was staying.
We could do this too!
So we searched online and found tickets for the 3 kids and I and booked them! Then the panic set in, as well as the drama. One issue after another started to swarm around me. Fear, doubt, comparison, expectation, persecution, revenge, shunning, and shame enveloped me.
- What if they don’t like me anymore?
- What if they like me too much?
- What if they have forgotten me?
- What if I hate it there now?
What if, what if, what if!!!! It was poison to my soul.
I found me NEEDING to tie up any loose ends that I could, to try and alleviate these concerns and fears. I faced some of them and they ended up making me really sick. So sick, my swimming instructor accused me of being a smoker. He said that my breathing was terrible.
2 weeks later I was hit with a horrible kidney stone.
I suffered, I ached, I was tormented in fear. What if I die while on this trip? Who will care for my kids? All I could think of was failure.
So why have I not quit? Why have I not cashed in those tickets for a different venue? Why haven’t I done more for myself and stopped this madness?
Because I KNOW that WE are supposed to take this trip! I also KNOW that we are to go for exactly 8 weeks. I don’t even have any plans set for my family the month of July. So why are we staying so long? The questions can plague me if I let them. So I do everything I can to push them away!
(Sure, we are going to try and crash a distant relative’s 4th of July weekend family reunion but I don’t even have that all scheduled. Maybe by this weekend? Yet I KNOW that we are going to do it. 🤦🏻♀️)
- So why go through all of this?
- Why go through the re-introducing of my family to our hometown?
- Why put me and my kids through the peppering of questions, the fear of possible failed attempts at reconnecting with past relationships, and the constant reminders that we do not live in the USA anymore and yet we still have to board that plane and go to our home, thousands of expensive miles away from the land flowing with milk and honey?
Because I feel we should!
Is that a good enough answer for even myself?
And that is why I am struggling with this walk of faith. This constant fear that grabs my throat and threatens to destroy ALL that I hold most sacred right now: my hard earned, precious relationships with my own little family.
I honestly do not care what people in my hometown think . . . They don’t know me anymore. They don’t call, email, chat, text, voice message, WhatsApp, courier pigeon, DHL, Amazon or snail mail any of us. They barely say hello and when they do, it is usually because I am the one who has performed miracle of miracles and actually contacted them from the land of nowhere. (Yes people, the internet works in Costa Rica too and it is FREE to contact us. Just saying).
So if I am blooming with so much courage, then why all the fear?
– Because I have not taken the proper time to truly ponder WHY we are going on this trip.
If I were to sum it all up now, I would first need to set the list below aside:
• youngest daughter will receive much needed educational tutoring to help her learn to better accomplish her goals.
• oldest daughter will attend a world-wide youth conference of our church, with possible other homeschoolers attending as well. As well as receive her Patriarchal Blessing in her native tongue.
• youngest son will be able to reconnect with his dearest friend before he moves to Tennessee.
• I will get to finally attend a homeschool convention through the curriculum that I truly love and adore.
• we will get to attend a special wedding of a niece who has literally made it possible for me to face every upset in the planning of this trip because of her shear desire to have us there.
• we get to attend possibly the last family reunion planned by Paul’s parents.
All of these reasons alone would make a perfect reason to go on this trip. But none of them are the correct reason.
The real reason that we are going, is so that our family (especially me) can visibly SEE how much we have grown and how much we have become closer as a family. I know that this is true, why else would I have so much fear to not go?!?
I know that the family is the most important unit of society. If my family can withstand the pressures and trials it is facing, how much stronger will our example be to those who need it most?
I can see this truth in the simplicity of the details. First of all, we will naturally look different. Not because of how we dress now or how we do our hair, but in how we behave around others. We are centered in our family. That influences the choices that each of us will make each and every day of our trip.
Second of all, they will see the choices that we make, from what we watch, to when we wake up, to how we spend our time. People will noticeably see a different. It is me who has to not be ashamed of this observing and instead let it happen. (It is my greatest fear that I will forget who I am and fail at this. Hopefully my children will be brave, and I will be humble enough, and re-guide me back to what we know to be true.)
Lastly, we know that we already don’t belong, so we hopefully will figure this out quickly and won’t even try to “fit in”. We have been there, done that. It doesn’t work. We even have this problem in Costa Rica. We simply don’t fit in, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t belong! We do! God says so! So we belong anywhere we may go . . . Even if we move to Russia or Japan, we belong if we feel we are supposed to be there. This will be the biggest shock of all in our behavior. We know we belong! We don’t need your permission.
So now what do I need to do? I need to trust in these truths. Trust that my 4+ years being away from my hometown has done me more good than not. And trust that I am a better, stronger, more lovable person now than I was before. And if I have lost relationships from the past, that’s okay. That means I need the room for current or future relationships to come.
The talk below is what inspired me to share all of these thoughts and feelings. I am attaching it (although it will make for a really long post) because I want it here to read in the future.