In the blur of what has been the past year or so, I have attempted to write an update on what’s been going on for Team Hill. I obviously never accomplished it. I was overwhelmed at how to condense it all. Plus, for at least of part of that time, I just didn’t have the words.
Sometimes there is just silence. That has been this year for me! I have felt like life, and the broken world we live in was squeezing out all of the oxygen in the room. All my energy has been devoted towards just breathing. I suppose this past year was mostly that…and it has been hard.
I have had to make friends with “lament” and discover the meaning of it, and the working out of it. I told Greg this morning that lamenting is like a faithful despairing, a hopeful, sorrowful grief. Like a leaning in, a leaning in towards Jesus, and laying at his feet my hurt, the frustrations, the unanswered questions. Lamenting is an intentional act. Even when our faith is wavering, we, by grace, go to the Source and entrust our darkest emotions and deepest doubts to Him. There’s faith in that, yes?
Can we move forward without first lamenting? Maybe that has been a bit of the life lesson I’ve learned this past year. It wasn’t even that I was unaware of that, that lamenting is needed. I knew that, and we had approached all this from the start with an openness and honesty. It just seems like this recovery effort is like an onion. Layer after layer! I found another layer this year.
Perhaps, too, it is a shout out to all the caregivers out there. God eventually gives us the space to feel, even if it seems delayed and out of place.
It’s not all been bad. There are always the glimpses of grace and joy that stir up affections and the anticipation of the glory ahead. Yet, somehow it’s the moments of weakness and the darkness that seem to stir my affections for Him most.
It all serves as a reminder that this world we live in right now is a wilderness. We are not in the Promise Land yet. I cannot be fooled by North American prosperity and ease. This is a broken world.
June 21, 2014, shattered any sense of “your best life now” that may have inadvertently been a part of my worldview and thought pattern. I stood in opposition of any sort of prosperity gospel before that day, but it is likely that there were undetectable strands of it woven into my faith. Good riddance.
It is no surprise that “weakness” continues to be a theme the Lord seems to keep in front of me. We feel it all around us. We work so hard, and yet still find ourselves caught up in weakness. If there wasn’t that promise of God being ultimately in control, and working all things out for the good of those who love him, I would truly despair. Instead, the weakness I feel causes me to despair towards Jesus. He is my rock. He holds all things. He holds me.
I read some horrific headline the other day (pick one, any one, there’s plenty). It caused a knot in my stomach, and I shut my eyes tight. In that moment I felt the deep brokenness of our world and longed for home. Home.
But I am here, and there is work to be done. There is a day-by-day redemption taking place, and the movement of an unshakeable kingdom, despite all the apocalyptic headlines and chaos.* Surely I am not the only one needing to be reminded of the glory that is to come? And that it IS to come?
So I know that there is still truth, beauty, and goodness to be pursued this side of heaven. It’s just been a mixed up year, and I will confess the weariness and lament.
I also confess great joy!
We had a baby! That makes Team Hill a party of eight. Bennett arrived at the end of March. She has been a great blessing. The delivery and recovery were smooth. The pregnancy was rough. Yet, here we are. She’s 7 months old, happy, busy; everyone’s joy. What a pleasant surprise, God. You always know best.
Our crew of six children and two tired adults makes for an interesting public phenomenon. So it seems, at least. The things people say!
I did not know that I would continue with insecurity in my mid-30s. I know you may laugh. But didn’t everyone older than you seem so confident when they were in their 30s?! Or is that just me? Regardless, I am learning to let it go. There is no shortage of naysayers in the world. It’s a given. I am learning and growing.
We are still homeschooling. Whether we should or not sometimes weighs on me. I am not immune to doubt. Most of the time this feels like a very gutsy experiment! I’m certainly not doing it because it’s easy, right? I will continue to sow in faith (and, yes, maybe some tears).
Jude is headed towards a big surgery in a few weeks. It took an entire year to figure out what needed to be done, who needed to do it, and when it needed to happen.
I would say in the grand scheme of things this is a small deal. I think of families facing complicated, challenging surgeries…this is not that. It’s significant and needed, but not that complex in the long run. Yet, even still, it took a whole lot of work to figure it out! Can you imagine what families experience when their child (or children) has more medically complex issues? I have pondered that a good bit. I find myself marveling at all the families we have met since the accident and the persistent and courageous parents at the helm.
We attended Hope Heals Camp this past June. A gift. We cannot afford vacations or time away, yet God saw fit to give our family a week in rural Alabama with a community of beautiful saints. Much could be said about that incredible week. I will share at a later date.
Despite the issues with his left leg, Jude competed at the Endeavor Games again this year. He loved it. He played soccer again this fall, scoring six total goals for the season. For a kid that has no feet, he seems to play “futbol” pretty well!
The children grow. They grow! The gift of repentance seems to be our main tool in our parental tool belt. We are stretched thin in this season. The world would have us despair. Six kids. How could we possibly meet all the needs? The Gospel and the ongoing redemption taking place in our hearts is on display for the kids to see…we have great hope in THAT. It is overwhelming. I won’t lie. Yet, there’s that platform of weakness again. God’s strength abounds.
Our family vehicle is dying, and we need to get our crew into something reliable, larger, and suitable for all the miles we will be putting on it. We know we have regular trips to Chicago to keep the Dude going. Yet, we cannot afford a monthly car payment of any amount. It has seemed like an insurmountable problem that has been looming in front of us these last few years. The financial weakness has been the biggest nemesis for me. “Why must THIS be a part of the story too?” Boy, have I wrestled.
Some very gracious people have recognized our need. My sisters have responded by setting up a youcaring site with the hope of helping us get into a van that will meet our needs and keep us on the go. Friends, strangers, and our brothers and sisters in the Lord have already begun to move in compassion and generosity on our behalf.
We are grateful, humbled, and hopeful…
Our hope is always in Christ. I don’t pretend to know how this need will be met: just that it will be met. Somehow and in someway!
We are grateful for the support, whether in monetary support, sharing the information with your own community, or both. I keep telling the kids that we have to expect that God is fully aware of our pressing need and will provide. We will keep working hard while trusting that God is faithful, aware, and working this out in unseen ways, on our behalf, and for His glory. The need is urgent, with what feels like a rather lofty hope that perhaps we might be able to purchase a vehicle before Jude’s surgery at the beginning of December.
So though I am far, far out of my comfort zone, and I have this heightened awareness of weakness and dependence on the Lord, I’m excited to see how this works out. It removes the feeling of being overwhelmed, to one of eager anticipation. This is God at work.
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1, 2
*I wrote this post yesterday, without yet knowing what was unfolding at a small country church in rural Texas. Oh, the absolute heartache. My words seem more emphatic to me today as I lament with the Church. I long for the day when every sad thing becomes untrue. It’s impossible to process what is taking place in our world, without crying out for the Lord to come back and make it all right. I know you must feel that too.