Defining Normal

Journal Entry: February 4, 2013 

"It's a normal night. I got home from work and asked Anthony if we could go for a walk. I noticed a package from Amazon sitting on the table. I didn't remember ordering anything, but, knowing me, that doesn't mean I didn't. I opened the package and found an item wrapped. It was the book, Jesus Calling, from my cousin Beth!

Anthony and I have begun to really enjoy walking together. It gives us a chance to talk without as many interruptions. I admit, we don't have as many interruptions as some people, but walking outdoors helps us focus on the conversation we are engaging in. We walked all the way to our friend Kelli's house. She gave us some water and we walked back home.

When we got home from the walk, I made dinner. Farro with Chicken Sausage & Apples. It was even better this time. We cleaned up the kitchen, got our coffee ready for tomorrow morning, and got my lunch ready for work tomorrow. We then folded our laundry.

Sitting down, I called my cousin to say thank you. Then I Facetimed my sister, Heidi, who told me about a doctor's appointment with Olivia."

Today: December 16, 2013

I'm sitting in my pajamas eating a huge bowl of oatmeal. It's 11:00 am and I don't have anywhere to go. Not because I don't want to go anywhere, but because we have one car and Anthony took it to work. I found this old post from February and thought it would be interesting to just write today and see the differences.

In February, I was worried we would never get pregnant. We had yet to visit North Carolina for the first time, but had already purchased our plane tickets to take the trip out here. We hadn't gone up to Portland for the second time in six months to meet the team of people that we would move to Raleigh with to help start this church. We hadn't started packing up our house, saying goodbye to everything that was normal to embrace a season of nothing being normal. Well, relatively nothing being normal. 

Normal is still being married to Anthony. Talking about the future. Dreaming about what our life will look like with the addition of our son any day. Normal in February was 3 day-shift workdays at the hospital for Anthony and a 5 day work week for me at the Department of Education. We were used to getting off around the same time each day, even though they were at different hours for both of us. With a few hours of quiet before Anthony got home from work, I would blog, clean the kitchen, make dinner, go grocery shopping, walk on the treadmill in our garage or a number of other things. Almost all of these activities would be done in silence. I would stop by Jackie's house to see her and talk about our life. I would visit with our wonderful neighbor, Stacey. I would also talk with Heidi about her experiences being a mom for the first time. 

Now, normal is Facetiming Jackie in the few moments she has free (she has 3 little ones under 2 1/2 now), discussing knitting problems with Heidi, phoning my Grandma to tell her we're thinking of her, love her, and are praying for her. It's long conversations with social services to check on application statuses. It's pouring over Instagram and thinking fondly of our family and friends. Trying not to be too sad that I'm not in the picture or around for when the picture was taken. It's discussing when my parents will come to visit, before the baby's born, during, or after. Arranging baby clothes, baby stuff, baby furniture. Scouring blogs to find out what I should pack in our "Go-bag." Texting Shannon to find out do I really need _____ baby item (she knows, she has 5 sweet children). 

Normal is sending pictures to my close friends of my stomach and stretch marks and saying... "What the heck?!? Will this go away?" It's a long conversation over the phone with my Aunt Becky to find out how she's doing, the kids are doing, and for her to say, "Keep going. We love you and are here for you." It's answering for the hundredth time, "We don't know if or when we'll every move back to Sacramento. We don't know what we're doing tomorrow."

It's thinking about when the baby will come. Will I actually know when I'm in labor or will I be surprised? It's having friends over for dinner when we don't have a table and trying not to apologize about the lack of furniture. It's being hospitable and generous. It's being ok with things that are uncomfortable. It's learning that life isn't what I planned and accepting that God has not forgotten us. No matter how we feel about it. 

He is Emmanuel, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting God, the Mighty Counselor, and the Great Comforter. He is familiar with pain, He is with us, He is probably even carrying us. It is remembering that Christmas isn't a failure if there are no presents under the tree. Or there's no money to buy gifts for family and friends. It's about the gift that we were given. Peace. God being with us. God being for us. God working through us. God using the mundane to capture my heart and say, Be Still and Know

Normal is all of these things and more. And what's so shocking is that it's in the normal, everyday life, that the Holy Spirit will speak and say: 

Do not worry about tomorrow. I take care of birds and grass. You are my daughter. How can I not take care of you? Just as you are making preparations to take care of your son, that's what I, the perfect parent, do for you. You are loved. You can never be forgotten. You are my child. Rest in me. My yoke is easy. My burden is light. I will teach you what that really means.

Is your normal any different today than it was in February?

Joining Heather for Just Write Tuesday