(This is a continuation of the story after “Whose in Charge Around Here?” – the “Angels Among Us” post was a short interruption to the tale of how we came to live in Chicago.)
While still in California, we had received an invitation from a parent whose daughter was also entering 8th grade for Lydia to come to a pool party that was being held just a week after our arrival in Illinois.
I insisted she would go, delighted for the opportunity for her to meet some girls before the first day of school. She wasn’t quite as delighted as me, being nervous about the whole thing. I called anyway, saying Lydia would “love to come!” Then the mom told me that I was welcome to stay too, to get to know some of the other moms. I gulped and said “Wonderful!” well remembering the lesson on hypocrisy God had taught me three years earlier (you did read that post, right?)
The day of the swim party came quickly. On the drive over, our conversation centered around the main concern on Lydia’s heart. She implored me, “Mom, no matter what, please do not cry!”
Indignant, I responded, “Lydia, why would I cry?!” She just shook her head, muttering, “Because I know you. And if you cry, I will be so embarrassed.”
I was exasperated. “Honey, I can’t for a minute imagine why you would think I would cry. This is a pool party for heaven’s sake.”
With that, we arrived. Getting out of our rental car, she shot me one last warning look, while I put on a smile and moved toward the group of women and girls standing in the front lawn.
Introductions were made all around, the girls welcoming Lydia, then all of them running into the house to change into their swimming suits. I moved inside with the other moms for a cool drink. A mere five minutes into the conversation, one of the ladies kindly turned to me and asked how our move from California was going.
Now, that was a bit unfair; if she had asked my opinion on the sky rocketing price of milk, or the likelihood of a Spanish invasion, I would have been fully able to articulate my thoughts without any outward sign of the turmoil within. But this? This was too much!
Uncontrollably, I burst into tears, pent up emotions from the past few weeks of upheaval, exhaustion, strange beds and the grief over leaving our lovely home and the friends we had come to love came spewing out.
I cried for the unexpected awfulness of the hotel we were staying in, for bearing the weight of our five precious children’s concerns, worries, and transitions. I cried helplessly for the impossibility of changing our minds, for the treadmill we were on that was carrying us to more unknown places. For the spoken and unspoken fears of starting over in a new place again, for late trucks and lost sleep and the massive upheaval that our lives had become – it all came pouring out in one massive torrent and I wept.
Needless to say, the poor woman was aghast at what her innocent question had brought on!
After the worst of it had subsided, through the remaining sniffles I shared how hard things were, but that we were really trying to trust God through it all and knew that it would all be ok eventually.
These precious Godly women were so quick to respond with sympathy and tissues, gathering around me and praying for me, which allowed me a few minutes to regain my composure if not my pride.
All too fast, the girls descended, Lydia honing in on me standing there guiltily with puffy eyes and wadded up tissues. I looked away with a sigh, unable to deny it. Once again, I had failed my dear daughter’s one request, and I knew it.
Shoving back all my emotions wasn’t what God was asking me to do. He can handle my worries so I can give voice to my deepest thoughts and He is able to handle all my concerns – Psalm 62 tells us, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Have you ever found yourself trying to “do it in your own strength”? Let’s talk…you know – between friends.