It has been 7 months since Lee started with his new job and we've been living in two different states. Sometimes it feels like two different worlds! I never imagined it would take this long to iron out at least *some* of the details, though I did have a feeling that the house wouldn't sell right away. Emmi says that when we get to Virginia we're going to lock the door so Daddy can't ever leave again!
One thing that has been a blessing to me is how much a part of our lives Lee still is, even when we get such a relatively small fraction of time talking with him each day. I get to talk to him here and there throughout the day and he leads our family devotions over speaker phone at night. All throughout the day we are talking about when such-and-such happened (back before all of this started and we were still together), or how Daddy would find this-or-that funny and we need to remember to tell him, or the children are reminding each other of how Daddy wants something done, or I'm getting something out of our walk-in closet and my heart sinks again when I'm reminded that he isn't here by the closed dresser drawers. One of my fears was that Peter would forget him. Peter was only 5 months old when Lee started his new job and he's only seen Lee about six days a month since then, but every time Lee comes home he looks at him like, "Where have you been?!" and literally clings to him. It is beautiful, I can't wait to see the bond they have grow even deeper when we're back together again.
Peter's excellent memory has been just one of God's many mercies. God has been so very good to bless us with a husband & father who leads us spiritually, even over so many miles. A husband & father who works hard to provide for us and puts up with things he probably wouldn't if he was only thinking of himself. He has been so very good to provide Lee this job, and there is no doubt this job came straight from His hand. He has been so very good to give us each of our seven beautiful children. They have all "pulled their weight" wonderfully. While the older ones offer more, shall we say, "tangible" help, the little ones offer their help in the form of chubby arms around our necks and carefree giggles that melt away the stress. At least that's how it works when they're not contributing to the stress level, haha :).
I have been learning over the last 7 months. I've always been a little uptight about keeping things pretty clean but, out of necessity as we try to sell our house, I'm learning tricks to get a house even more clean in less time, as long as we maintain it in the in between times. I'm learning that things are usually not as hard as I think they must be and next time I don't need to put off fixing the screen or the railing or changing the color of the front door just because I think it's going to be too hard. It's *much* easier to just change it than to wish you could every time you pass it. I'm learning to be more consistent in training and disciplining the children because there's no one there to pick up the slack when it feels too hard to keep on top of it all. I'm also realizing how much Lee does around here! I will be more than happy to go back to our "I have the babies and change the dirty diapers...you clean up the vomit and mow the yard" arrangement, haha :). Most important, I'm learning to rest in the sovereignty of God...notice I said learning, in the present tense. Lee still has to remind me on the bad days, but even on the bad days I *know* it's true, and I *know* that I know it's true because that belief has been tried again and again in this furnace and still I can say with conviction "Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases." (Psalm 115:3). God has a reason for each and every day this season lasts, whether we realize the reason in this lifetime or not. I have been in places in my life before that I thought could not *possibly* be used for good and I know now I was wrong. That doesn't make the day-to-day any easier but it does make it more full of hope for the future.
Yes, I am really looking forward to moving on, but in the meantime we're thankful for our springtime birthday season and getting to see Lee a little more frequently for a few weeks. I think Abbi put it beautifully one of the last times Lee was home when she sweetly held up some flowers to Lee and said, "I love you as many flowers as I picked.".
...And that was a lot of flowers ;).