I am not sure I can begin to put into words this last year. And, yet, my heart has been stirring for several days.
I left friends and love (and cold) for security and warmth. I needed (more than I even realized at that time) a sheltered resting place -- a sanctuary. A quiet place where I could replace the voices in my head with the steady voice of the Savior.
It's been hard. In every way. I have avoided people. I have tried to hide. I have faced the cold hard truth about myself. I have learned to trust. I have been selfish and indulgent. I have been dependent. I have relinquished dreams. I have taught Sunday School. I have fought with some of the people I love the most. I have said I'm sorry (many times). I have met some amazing new friends -- and continue to be amazed by long-time relationships. And, yet, I find myself at the end of this season surprised that I do not feel bruised and beaten. I am energized, refreshed and ready. What a tender loving God I serve. I don't understand His love for me. I will never understand how He works his salvation out in me -- not in this life anyway. And yet I am so grateful for it.
It feels as if the preparation for my next step in this journey has moved into warp speed. I have grown more in the last two weeks than I have the entire time I have been here. Once again, God's timely, intentional care for me is so clear.
Since I left Milwaukee, there has been a tugging on my heart to return. It's amazing how a place -- and its people -- can get into you. I am moving back to Milwaukee. Back to friends. Back to family. Back to the familiar. And, yet, I am not the same. And, I would venture that my friends and family there are not the same either. There will be new ground to cover -- and new history to create.
For me, there is a new purpose and focus. I don't leave this warm sunny state without hesitation or fear. And, yet, the time has come. Here we go!