What a difference a year makes!

As we’ve just wrapped up the first week of school and had a great experience as we roll into our first full year in the Nixa school district, it hit me this weekend how things have changed significantly over the last year.

A year ago, we had just sold our house in Ozark and had moved into the Springfield school district to prepare to build.  We were living in a rental house and integrating our kids into the Springfield schools that we anticipated they would be in once we built our house.  The rental was a true blessing of a house that covered our needs and worked for the time being although it had minimal outside space (we really need to go to a park to get real outside time), and it had a grumpy old neighbor who wasn’t the most friendly guy and was really hung up on his boundary lines and his space and made it clear from day one that he had no patience for kids (while wearing his “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt on Father’s Day).  That being said, we really enjoyed the Springfield school district while there, and oddly enough, I really enjoyed actually living inside the Springfield city limits.

Looking back on that time, though, we were so transitional and between moments in our life as a family.  Since that time, we’ve bought our property in Nixa, we’ve shifted schools, we’ve shifted our life out of Springfield and back into Christian County, and it hasn’t been an easy process.  We’ve gone through six months of remodeling our new home and settling into the new way of living in a different house with different systems and a different flow of life.  It’s been crazy, but it’s come to a really good place that just feels right.  As we’ve wrapped up this remodel time in our new house, we’re so excited about where we are, both in the property and the feeling of our home and as a family as school has started with a good outlook.

Also toss into that timeline that at this time last year, we never would have expected that the church we’d invested our lives in for over a dozen years would split. What a major disruption of so many lives, including ours, has taken place in the last year of time!  Our church body went for months in limbo as it seemed like the different factions might be able to reconcile and bring it all back together, but then things just began to slide apart.  Since Amy and I were both heavily involved at church and I was in leadership, we were stuck right in the middle of it all.  And then there was the aftermath of negativity that now slowly seems to be dissipating, even though you still hear of backbiting and slanderous accusations (even today I heard one!) that have no merit and no grounding in facts.  But since then, Amy and I have had the honor of being part of the group of people who have collaborated together to start a new and dynamic church that has taken off in ways we would have never imagined and has been a place of hope and Christ-expression for many people who were beginning to give up on church.

At this time last year, Amy had just had foot surgery and was barely healing and onto a scooter, so I was buying school supplies and going to school meetings, and her mom was living with us to help out as the school year started.  During the course of the last year, she had the same surgery on the other foot, and we did the whole process a second time right as the church situation was blowing up and also then with recovery continuing on into the time we were moving to the Nixa property.  Those two foot surgeries really took focus as a couple and as a family, and it’s good to have them behind us.  They were such milestones in such a tumultuous year, and I’m glad we’re past them.

I was making breakfast this past weekend for the kids, making my Daddy Waffles, and it just hit me that we’re past all that.  We now live in a new home (to us) with a new flow of life in a new school district in a new town and participating in a new church.  “He makes all things new!”  I know that phrase means much more in a Biblical context, but it’s been a year of lots of challenges and quite a bit of stress and pain, both physically (through the foot surgeries) and emotionally (through the challenges of both school and church that have taken place), and it really hit me as poignant in this moment of new.

As this year has progressed, we’ve made new friends and new alliances and have begun eating at new restaurants and frequenting new parts of town and thinking about the world a little differently.  He truly does make all things new, and we’ve felt the refreshing of his Spirit come over us in the last little while as we’ve found a moment to take a breath and realize that we’re in a completely different place and in a completely different life than we were a year ago.  And, as I cooked breakfast, I realized how important it was to realize that and to memorialize that moment of accepting the change that God brings into our lives as He shifts us to where He wants us to be.  And I took a moment to appreciate the evidence of God working in our lives as a family and as individuals as He continues to daily make us new in that more spiritual way.

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