I am back in Flagstaff this weekend, almost a year since Jon and I moved to Tucson. I have spent a lot of time sitting on our deck reading, praying and watching the wind blow through the trees. I have gone hiking in the mountains, watched a sunset from the point where Jon and I were married, and I have been refreshed by the cool mountain air.
Being up here has also provided me with a profound time of reflection over the past year and I have felt the full weight of everything that has happened hit me like a ton of bricks.
The last year has been hard. Very, very hard.
As Jon and I entered our second year of marriage we faced some very difficult transitions. Moving to a new city brought all the challenges that typically come with moving. I had to adapt to a desert climate (not as hard as I thought it would be), we had to find a new church and new friends (harder than I thought it would be), we had to find a new life away from Flagstaff.
I taught middle school for the first time. Jon was in full time ministry for the first time. We had to live on a budget from fund raising for the first time.
We got pregnant twice.
We lost babies twice.
We fought a lot for the first time.
We wept together for the first time.
Being up in Flagstaff this week I have felt my body absorbing these things. I have realized the incredible journey we have been on over the last 12 months and am suddenly exhausted.
I am proud in my own strength, that I have survived these things and that Jon and I are doing so well in our marriage at the end of it all. I am feeling like I feel after a very strenuous workout. My muscles are tired, my body fatigued, yet there is a sense of accomplishment in it all.
Through this I hear God’s gentle voice asking me to forfeit my strength and my pride. Not only has He carried me through this year, but He is now requesting that I hand over the burden of the last 12 months to him.
“Come to me my daughter. You are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you Kirsten and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul. My yoke is easy and my burden is light”
As we step into our third year of marriage, Jesus is beckoning me to pass along all my baggage to him. We have a new set of challenges to face this year (like me being in ministry, me fundraising as well, and the renewed and frightening journey of trying to conceive another child) but I feel God near me, whispering promises to me and reminding me of His character.
I feel excited and hopeful for what is to come. Now that I know my spirit is spent, completely weak and fragile, I am confident in knowing it will be the Lord who will sustain us this next year, the Lord and no one else.
I can now see clearly how God has truly blessed us over the last year. He has answered our many, many prayers to find friends and community in Tucson. He has blessed us with donors who wish to support us in our ministry. He has blessed our work and relationships with InterVarsity. He has given us unearned grace and mercy.
He has lifted me out of the the pit, out of the mud and the mire. He has set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He has put a new song in my mouth when I felt like my lips couldn’t remember how to praise Him.
Although troubles without number have surrounded me and my sins have over taken me and my own heart has failed within me, the Lord came to help me, He delivered me.