Let me be frank: I do not consider myself someone who does big life change well. It is not my natural bent. Transitions and I, we’re not friends. When I was seven, my parents sold our Westfalia and I spent the day crying because I would have to make new memories in a new van. Literally, I cried tears of anguish—over a van. My family still loves retelling that story.
So let’s fast forward. I became a mother a year ago; that’s where this story begins. Our notsolittle bundle arrived amidst a house in chaos. Boxes filled every corner of our tiny apartment. We spent the first three weeks of our son’s life packing up all our worldly possessions into a 7’x7’ storage locker.
As I sat in that tiny empty apartment, completely sleep deprived, the thought of going to Central America with such a little one – something we had been planning as part of my husband’s education – was, well, overwhelming. The houseguests just kept coming. Everyone wanted to see the baby before we left. All the while, I just wanted to find a moment of peace to sit alone and cry. I was stuck in the waiting period; there was nothing more I could do to prepare to leave, nothing more I could change by being anxious, but the vastness of the unknown still tied my stomach in knots. When our son was five weeks old, our family of three took off for Central America.
Our experience abroad was nothing short of an adventure. We spent the majority of our time in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I attempted to learn Spanish and figure out this “parenting thing” while my husband first took classes for his Masters in Business, and then consulted with local companies. There were days of great adventure, exploring Panama City, hiking in the jungles of Costa Rica, sandboarding volcanoes in Nicaragua, and snorkeling in Mexico. These moments are reflected in the smiling faces you see in photos on social media. These captured moments are very real, but photographs can never tell the whole story. There were also days that were really tough. The day when the taxi driver tried to leave us stranded, or the days there wasn’t great access to food, or the day we had to take our young son for medical care in a country where we didn’t speak the language.
This season was really good. It was also really hard.
Would I change it? No. I needed those experiences; I needed to become more adaptable.
After nearly five months abroad we returned to Canada, homeless and transient. Stuck in a prolonged period of transition, we attempted to adjust to parenting in Canada while moving approximately every five days. With my husband writing his thesis and looking for a job, we had no idea what country – let alone what city – we would end up in. When my maternity leave began to wind down there was new pressure on my husband to find work so I could also find a job in the same city. Plus, we needed a home to call our own and someone to watch our child part time. As the stress and pressure kept mounting and the checklist of things to accomplish only got longer, I felt like my sanity was slipping.
Then I remembered Saturday. The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday has intrigued me for some time. We don’t know a lot about what happened that day. It’s an easy to thing to look at (in hindsight) as such a short period of time, but to those living that Saturday…
It was only one day, but the disciples thought it was the beginning of something new, different, and terrifying. They thought that this new reality would change their lives forever. I’m sure that Saturday felt never-ending. I can relate; my first five weeks of parenting while attempting to move to a foreign country felt unsettling and life changing and, well, never-ending. My five months overseas with little housing or food security while trying to keep a new baby safe felt neverending. My time returning to Canada, watching and waiting for what comes next. Neverending. Big transitions, regardless of nature, seem to feel that way. I knew I would get to the other side but I had no idea when and what life will look like when I got there.
Fortunately, I am blessed by a Father who has my best interest at heart. This was one of the only thoughts that saved my sanity, and I clung to it mightily until things started falling into place. Through these times of waiting, God was able to speak to me with a clarity that I had never heard before. He understood my uncertainty, and he could shoulder it for me. I just had to let it go. This was a daily, sometimes hourly and even sometimes minutely, exercise for me.
All in all, my family was transient for 10 months in 6 different countries. Kind of a long “Saturday.”
So what’s your “Saturday?” What are you in the middle of right now that seems unending or discouraging? Maybe you’ve just graduated and you’re looking for a job. Maybe you’re waiting for that perfect spouse to come along, or for children, long prayed for, to come into being. Maybe life just isn’t turning out the way you imagined, or maybe you can’t see God anymore. Be encouraged, he sees you, and he knows. Hold onto him and he will draw near to you. Sunday will come; it always does, but let a God who has what’s best for you transform you while you live your “Saturday.” After all, that’s what Saturdays are for.