2016 has been a year of many firsts for me, but none quite so strange as the first Christmas as an out-of-town guest. I have lived my entire life in Lubbock, Texas. Except for one brief semester away at college, Lubbock has been home. Until this year. My family of five stuffed two moving trucks to the gills and drove a thousand miles east and unloaded in Nashville, Tennessee. Our big, bold adventure has been amazing and hard, but so fun and so exactly what we were supposed to do. Just about the time I was getting used to Nashville being home it was time to travel back west for Christmas holidays. The tinge of homesickness in my heart was thankful because I missed so many. And although I was making my best effort to make Nashville home, Lubbock would always truly be home. You don’t move on from 35 years quite so easily.
We pulled in front of my parent’s house at 3:30am after a long 15 hour drive. Through bleary eyes, we unloaded and half-way sorted what bags went where and I fell into my mama’s guest bed and crashed. Even through my tiredness I noticed the little details of hospitality. My mom’s touch was everywhere and it was so evident she was glad to have us home. When I woke up the next morning I shuffled downstairs, made some coffee, and had the first of many chats with my mom as a guest in her house. This was the very first time my family was staying in her house as guests. It was such a strange feeling to me. I had always had my own pad in Lubbock. My own home base. But home base was now 1,000 miles away in Tennessee. As comfortable and welcomed as I felt, it still felt odd. There is this weird “home body” thing inside of me that I’ve always had. I started to feel the tiniest bit out of control. I brushed it aside and chose to enjoy the quiet morning and the coffee and the time with my mama.
As that day passed and the next came I suddenly felt that out-of-control feeling again. I had hugged all the necks and kissed all the babies and soaked up an evening with cousins and aunts and uncles and Christmas and it was amazing but in the back of my mind was the other half of our family, my husband’s half, that were in a house just five minutes away with more people to see and hug (no babies to kiss there, though). There was my mother-in-law who had come from Alaska, and my brother-in-law who cooks feasts daily, and my sister-in-law waiting on everyone hand and foot, and more cousins. They were just a five minute drive away, but I felt the lump in the pit of my stomach of not wanting to leave my mom’s. Not because I didn’t want to see my in-laws, but because I didn’t know how to see everyone the same amount of time. I wanted to be in two places at once. I started wondering if I was offending them by being somewhere else. My brain was jumping to scenarios that didn’t exist. It was that crazy out-of-control feeling again. I realized that as an out-of-town guest I would struggle with feeling stuck in-between…..unless I did something about it.
There are so many times in my life when I have felt the in-between. I knew the tension well of a thoughtful plan just not yet executed. I knew the feelings of what could be as I waited in the what was. I never dreamed a trip home for the holidays would put me there again. My mind raced with plans and thoughts of how I could make everyone happy, how I could split the time evenly. On Christmas Day, it all went awry and I lost it. Literally, lost it. My oldest daughter wanted to go see her older cousins and her Grammy and she made a plan that I was out of the loop on, and I lost it. This plan was not MY plan. And suddenly I found myself sitting alone on the guest bed at my mom’s house crying and having a minor hissy fit because my plan had failed and I wasn’t getting my way. I have no idea what came over me, but I was a mess. I was missing out on Christmas day because I was having a meltdown like a toddler. Once I composed myself a bit, I did what I should have done before I ever made the trip back to Lubbock. I gave it to God. I gave my holidays to Him. I laid all the plans, all the people to see, and necks to hug, and babies to kiss at His feet. I repented for morphing into a crazy, control-freak. I asked Him what the next two weeks needed to look like. In an instant He renewed my perspective, helped realign my expectations, and reminded me that it was all going to work out. All the made up scenarios in my head? They were imagined. No one was mad at me. No one was offended. I was fearful it MIGHT happen, but it didn’t. My family is actually quite amazing. They were all (both sides) just really happy to see us. They’ve all been really cool and understanding about all the people we need to see.
Once again, I was reminded of my constant need and dependence on the Lord, especially in the in-between times. The problem was inside of me. Home wasn’t home anymore and I was freaking out about that a little (a lot). Lubbock had changed and so had I. In times of uncertainty and change my tendency is always to grasp for control, but I was reminded once again that there is only One who really knows the best plan, and He is in the waiting. He is in the awkward, the uncomfortable, the moments of panic, the meltdowns. I have chosen to surrender the rest of our Lubbock visit completely to Him. And I’m enjoying every moment of each day instead of trying to figure out how to control it.