I’m writing today from Iowa. My first trip back since we moved last December. I’ve done this before. I knew what to expect the first visit back. I clearly remember how I felt going back to Ohio after moving to Iowa in 2005. It was a bittersweet feeling. The sense that I’d come home…but not.
That trip back to Ohio was so filled with emotion and with grieving the life I’d left behind that I could barely stand it. I was so homesick! So when I got back to Iowa I began praying that God would make Iowa home. And He did.
Little did I know that I would have to experience the same tearing away again. Leaving Iowa last year was so hard! It didn’t help that I was leaving a son behind. I’d left one behind in Ohio too but there had been family there for him. My Iowa son was left on his own with no family within 600 miles.
So now, 10 months later I’m back. Back to visit my son and dear friends that I love and miss so much. Only a week to see everyone and experience all the things I miss about Iowa. To enjoy the beautiful Iowa countryside in the fall. To feel the crisp fall air. Such a joy!I keep comparing this visit with the one to Ohio long ago and finding similarities but also many differences. This time I came back to the same house that I’d lived in for 10 years. It’s my son’s home now. He’s made it his and I’m glad, it’s beautiful and fits him. But it’s hard. Hard to be in my home that isn’t my home.
Hard to be in my church that isn’t my church. To see friends that I’ve missed and see so much that has changed in their lives in just these few months.
It’s clear that this season, my Iowa season, has passed. Now I’m in a new season and if I cling too tightly to the old things, I can’t grow and experience what God has for me now. I remember learning that lesson with the first move.
So, I’ve tried to be in the moment. To enjoy the reconnection with friends but I’ve also tried not to allow myself to “go back”. You can’t go back. Even if God would call us to one day move back to Ohio or Iowa it would still be a new season, not a continuation of an old one. Life moves forward. Things change, people change. Sometimes I hate change. But I’m learning to let go and allow God to guide my steps.
Update: Now I’m back in Florida and finally finding time to finish up this post. It was a great trip. But it’s good to be home. In fact, I am happy to even say that it’s beginning to feel like home.
Yesterday I went to the beach with the grandkids. We had a wonderful day playing and enjoying the beautiful weather. I felt a peace that I’ve learned to recognize as God’s gift to me. A special sense of contentment even though there are always challenging issues all around me. I know I can find that peace anywhere, but being near the water, which I’ve always loved, makes it even more of a blessing.
Isaiah 66:12 says For thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.
It’s no wonder water makes me feel at peace!