If you’d asked me four months ago if I thought I’d be writing this blog, I’d have told you I couldn’t fathom. However, the Lord has done some heavy overhauling in both my heart and spirit in the past month. Before I get to all that though, let me update y’all on what we’ve been up too…
We’ve been all over the Rez and up to a lot of fun. We visited NAPI farms, a Navajo owned and run farm that provides a LOT of the produce for families here on the reservation. They were having a customer appreciation sale and we tagged along with our Navajo family and met some more of our family at the farm. The kids had a blast, playing on hay bales, petting sheep and eating yummy baked potatoes loaded with all the goodness you can add, minus BBQ…but hey, we can forgive that. HA!
We attended a church just north of us, off the reservation, who’s pastor and family have a heart for the Navajo, as well. We are looking for ways to partner together to better serve our family here and are very excited about the possibilities. Through a little God wink, I’d previously met a member of the church at a volleyball match I was calling and in turn met the pastor’s daughter, who is a hygienist at the clinic here in Monument Valley.
I traveled to Las Vegas and met up with three of my dearest friends from home. I ran my second half marathon and finished.
We hosted our home school co-op for a “Friendsgiving” dinner and had 12 children ages 18 months to 12 years old along with three other mama’s attend. The kids played at the playground, made a turkey craft and we all broke bread together. It was community and it was beautiful.
This past weekend, we attended a Thanksgiving celebration at Dine Christian Church in White Rock Point. We were able to give the children’s ministry a case of Early Reader Adventure Bibles. The Bibles were mentioned to me in a conversation with Grandma E this summer while on our mission trip here. We were having a conversation about her perfect ministry world. What did she see? What did she need? If she could have anything, what would it be? Her response to me was very simple. “Bibles the children can read and understand.” It pricked my heart in a way I can’t describe and being able to hand over that case of Bible’s to her on Sunday blessed me. And this is where I begin to tell you about my heart change…
At the end of October, we spent the night with some of our family in Cove, AZ. They are a precious family with four children, two boys and two girls. Y’all, to say those kiddos are polite and respectful is an understatement. In the day and a half we spent with them, I never once heard a cross word spoken. They were a team, each doing their own part to help the other. When we left, we talked about what a peaceful presence we felt in their home…and I realized I had started to feel some of that peacefulness in our own home. I wrote in my journal that week about seeing a shift in the mindset of our girls. A shift from entitlement and privilege to humility and grace. A shift to peace.
That same week, we had our first co-op meeting. It was during our co-op meeting that I realized the exact thing I’d been grieving was exactly what God was providing me with…community. Does it look different? Yes. Is it as easily accessible? No. Do I have to work a little harder to make it happen? Absolutely. Is it any less fulfilling? Not a chance.
You see, He’s had my people here, waiting…waiting for the perfect moment, just when I needed them…just when He knew I was ready for the next right step, He’s led me to the perfect place to provide me with a divine appointment. My precious mentor and amazing friend, Mrs. L. has told me from the beginning of this faith adventure that He had my people. But, y’all, it was so very hard to have faith…in the muck and mire of grief, it was so hard…and yet, my God has still been so faithful. He looks at all my yuckiness, my bad attitude and grumbling and complaints and hears my heart anyway. He covers it all in His mercy and grace and goodness.
…and then, I went to Las Vegas. This was the weekend I’d been counting down to since before we moved…I’d been saying to myself, “If you can just make it to Vegas, you’ll get a little piece of home.” And, I did. I can not explain the joy I felt when I got to hug my best friend’s neck for the first time in four months. I can not explain the gratitude I felt when I picked up my girl, M. She’s like my long lost sister and squeezing her neck was like coming up for air. On Saturday, I got to see my intellectual conscience and hug her neck too and it was so, so good… We laughed and ate and saw concerts and MICHAEL JACKSON!!! (The Cirque de Soleil show but still…it was AMAZING!!) The beauty of the weekend with my girls was more than I had imagined it would be. It was so good for my soul. It was refreshing and refilling and…
You see, despite the joy, I knew Monday morning was coming. I knew I’d have to take them to the airport and drop them off. I knew I’d have to drive back to the Rez. Alone. And it did. Monday did come. I dropped my girls off and hugged their necks one more time. I reminded myself I’d see them in 11 weeks for the next half marathon. I cried. Hard.
…and then, I found myself coming over the mountain in Flagstaff and into the Coconino National Forest…I saw a herd of elk off in the distance and I watched as the temperature began to drop….and the tears stopped. And the heaviness in my heart dissipated. I realized as I came down the mountain and crossed back over the line to the Rez, I was headed home. My people, my family would be waiting…not just J and my babies but the community of people God has entrusted me with here. It was in that moment, I realized, although there are days when I long for the beach and the smell of our island, for the simplicity and serenity of running to Target (Can I get an amen, mama’s?), for the convenience of having a Harris Teeter…my place is here. In Monument Valley.
My heart and my home are here. And it is well.