I’ve had an attitude problem for about a year. Last summer, my husband started talking about moving “back home”, which as far as I was concerned, meant “Siberia”. Okay, so it’s not actually Siberia; it’s North Dakota. Which, to me, is the same thing. I made him aware that I didn’t want to live in North Dakota; never had wanted to and never would want to. I hated living in the “middle of nowhere” when we lived in western Kansas. But my husband didn’t care. He’d made up his mind, and when my husband makes up his mind, his mind’s made up. So he found a job, we started the process of getting a house built, and we moved to Siberia. We spent the first 6 months living with my husband’s dad. We were very grateful to him for opening his home to us, but it was frustrating, for all of us. Before this, our visits had always been 1-2 weeks, and that was long enough in my opinion. I like his dad as long as we don’t talk politics, but 6 months of living in someone else’s house was, shall we say, less than ideal.
During those six months, I spent hours every day on the phone, coordinating builders and workmen, and trying to stay connected with our realtor back in Texas who was attempting to find a buyer for our home there. I detest talking on the phone, so this was no fun. And I’m forgetful, so I inevitably forgot certain calls I was supposed to make, even though I did my best to keep track in my notebook. And when I did, my husband would yell and complain, and basically act like a toddler. He expected me to handle everything having to do with the house, in addition to keeping our three children from destroying my father-in-law’s home, and this put a lot of pressure on me.
So…there I was, in the middle of nowhere, where I never wanted to live, forced to spend hours talking on the phone, and not even to people I liked. I was angry. All the time. And extremely resentful of my husband. He had thrown “our plan” out the window in favor of “his plan”. It wasn’t a postponement of our plan, it was a crumbling up and throwing away of our plan. And it hurt. He’d hurt my feelings in many ways before, but nothing like this. I was crushed. So I resented him with every little thing that bothered me.
Every time I drove an hour and a half to get to Walmart I grumbled and complained. And I did the same on the drive home as well. Every time I went to one of the two tiny grocery stores in town(ten miles away), I grumbled because there wasn’t any place to park in their postage-stamp-sized parking lots. And I grumbled because they didn’t always have what I wanted, so I’d have to wait until the next time I had a full day to drive to Walmart again. Every time I went anywhere, I grumbled because of the abundance of idiots on the road. And I still do sometimes, though I try not to.
And then there was church. I loved our church in Texas. It was awesome. The kids loved their classes, and I loved the worship services. The music was upbeat and worshipful. The pastor preached in blue jeans to make everyone feel comfortable regardless of what they wore, and his sermons were interesting, relevant and funny. Even when his wife was diagnosed with cancer, and the whole church (about 7000 people) came together to support them and beg God to spare her life, it was easy to worship, easy to trust God. We knew He was in control, and that Laura would be healed one way or another, and she was. Miracles happened all the time in that church. Every week, people turned to God and confessed their need for Him. When we were worshipping, many times I was reminded of when Moses went up Mt Sinai and God told him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. My husband sometimes looked at me funny when I bent to put my shoes back on after worship, but I didn’t care. I experienced God. It was easy when we were at that church.
When we moved, I dreaded church. I knew that there was no choice involved in where we would go. We would attend the church where our babies were baptized(something I didn’t and don’t believe in, but gave into for the sake of my marriage), where my husband and his siblings were baptized, where my father-in-law and his siblings were baptized. The style of the service was not at all to my liking. Stand up, sit down, recite this, read along with that. And then there was the “music”. I put it in quotation marks, because there were times when it didn’t resemble music in the least. Atonal hymns, with verses that could have been written by Yoda, so jumbled the sentences were. And the organist, bless her heart, played the best she could; she picked a tempo and stuck with it for the most part. Unfortunately the congregation(about 40-50 people on any given Sunday) was not any good at following, and they sang about 10 beats slower than she played. I swear, this church could turn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” into a dirge. And most of the church members were only there for the “important” services: Christmas, Easter, and whenever someone in their family was to be baptized. And then there were the sermons. I can’t tell you much about them because I had a hard time staying awake during them. The pastor preached in a pompous-sounding monotone, and never once said anything that I could use to change myself and draw closer to God. I found myself getting more and more depressed every Sunday. And every other day of the week as well.
What saved my life was a Christian radio station. My ten-year-old discovered that there was one, though the signal wasn’t great. I don’t like other kinds of music much, except for classical music, so I have one preset on my car radio, that Christian station. Sometimes, all I need is a good upbeat song like “This is the Stuff” so that I can sing along and car-dance like a crazy person. Sometimes I need to hear something about how deeply the Father loves me, or something about how awesome our God is and that there is no one like Him.
The song that changed my perspective was “Blessings” by Laura Story. I’d heard it before, even sang along back when we lived in Texas, because I thought it was a beautiful and poignant song, but not because I could really relate to the message. Now I can. I almost started bawling in the car when it came on, but I didn’t want to freak out my kids. And besides, I need to stay focused on the road with all those idiots on it.
What God said to me through that song was: “I know you hate it here, but this is where you’re supposed to be right now. It was easy for you to love Me and worship Me when you were in Houston. I want you to do it here, where it’s hard. I want to be your Everything still.”
I’m not saying that I’ve figured it all out, or that I love living in Siberia(or that I ever will), but I think I’ve found the reason God wants me here: to draw me closer to Him, to teach me to rely on Him alone.
And I admit, I’m still hoping He’ll want me somewhere else someday.