“Home”, whatever that means

“Home” is a funny concept.

“Home” to me for years and years had been Momma and Daddy’s ranch on a basement with the big front window, big yard, and layout that I can walk with my eyes closed (except when Momma moves the furniture). “Home” was a permanent, immovable building that still houses my childhood memories.

I’ve been living in my small town for about… eight years now (wow). I came here for college, and spent those four years feeling like I was going “home” every time I passed a certain exit on the interstate on the way to Momma and Daddy’s. Even after I got married, this little town didn’t feel like “home”. It felt like a temporary place, because I was sure that we would move closer to my family before we had kids. (Definition of irony: in which Carla decides that she will move north before she has kids, and is now pregnant and just bought a house 1.5-2 hours away from her Mom and Dad’s house.) The first time it felt like I was coming “home” when we got back into out little town from visiting family was about a year ago, and I was taken by complete surprise.

We just finished buying a house. Which is one of the (many) reasons that I haven’t been here (in the online world) quite as much as I’d like. Packing up the apartment that we’ve been renting for almost four years threw off my introvert’s equilibrium so much, and actually moving into the new house and living among the boxes, granted, in a larger space, has been just as upsetting to my false sense of security in “home”. I gain a sense of security from having my environment in order. And there has been no order in my “home” environment for the past month. It’s not likely to return for some time.

Also, did you know that I’m having a baby? Have you moved when you were pregnant? I’m not very far along, but I’ve been slowed by the symptoms of my pregnancy. I’ve had to stop working every two hours to put my feet up. I haven’t been able to lift boxes. I haven’t been moving as quickly as I’m used to. I’ve gotten insanely hangry and have needed naps like a toddler. So the process of moving and now unpacking has been unsettling in a whole new way.

Our new house is beautiful. It’s big enough for us to grow into, it’s in a lovely neighborhood, and it feels like a little oasis with trees and grass outside of the windows instead of concrete and a few thousand neighbors.

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This is my backyard. *sigh* Isn't it #lovely?

A post shared by Carla Patton (@carlampatton) on

But it doesn’t have the feeling of “home” when I walk in the door yet. I know that feeling will come with time, but for now, I don’t have a “home” in the sense that I’ve known it for so many years. I have to think about my route to and from work. I have to remind myself of where I am when I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.

And instead of looking at God and saying “Thank You for this wonderful adventure!” my default has been “…”. Nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I get mad at God, and I ignore Him. Because I’m mad in a four-year-old way that my inner sense of “home” has been thrown off. I’m mad that I’m tired and that my possessions are all jumbled up and strewn all over a new house. I don’t feel comfortable, so it makes total sense for me to ignore Him and not seek my rest in Him. (Major sarcasm.) Foolish, foolish Carla. And have I rewritten this post a million times to make it look like I’m doing everything right and I’m just a victim of circumstances? Yup. But, I choose to share my mess with you. Because I don’t want to lie to you here. I don’t want to lie to myself or God either.

May you (I) find “home” in Christ. May you (I) find “home” with your family and church family. May you (I) find “home” with your spouse and loved ones. May you (I) find “home” in your chaos, and remember that God is the God of a brilliant mess, made brilliant because it’s been made in His image.

I’m pregnant. And it’s confusing.

Husband-Man and I are expecting our first baby. We’re thrilled, and I’ve felt every since emotion that  knew existed and more since I found out on Valentine’s Day this year.

This is new territory for me. This is terrifying territory, to be honest.

Brave

I’m elated. I’ve wanted this for as long as I knew what a “mom” was. I have longed and wept for this. I have prayed for it and prayed for it.

I’m scared. I don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of raising a child. I don’t know if I can get up in the night with a tiny human and be one-half of their parents. I still feel sixteen inside. How can I adequately love and train a little?

I’m hesitant. I don’t know what I’m doing. Why did God let me get pregnant? Does He really know what He’s doing? I mean, sometimes I forget to brush my own teeth. And to feed my fish.

I’m selfish. My body has already started to change. Several sweet friends have asked if I have a “bump” yet. Up until this past weekend, it’s been a pudge. Pure and simple. I’ve just looked like I’ve eaten too many burgers. (Burgers sound really good right now.) And I’m embarrassed. Today, maybe it looks like there’s a baby in there instead of just too much food. But I’ve always struggled with my weight. It’s difficult to transition to a place where mentally gaining weight isn’t a negative thing.

I’m resentful that I am not the only inhabitant of my body anymore. It’s very difficult to wrap my mind around. I’m an introvert. And I’m not alone. I have a human inside of me that is using my nutrients and my blood and my body as its home. That kind of weirds me out to be honest.

I feel guilty. I know so many people so struggle to conceive or who have lost their little ones. Why me? How can I hold so much excitement and joy inside coupled with such grief for others? I’m ashamed that I have any negative emotions. Deeply ashamed.

I’m tired. Until a few weeks ago, I was bone-weary. I was as tired as I was when my gallbladder stopped working entirely. I didn’t think I could make it through a work week, much less nine months. Thankfully, I’ve had a little bit more energy recently.

I’m shocked. I’m shocked that not all of the emotions that I’ve carried with me are positive. I’m embarrassed that I’ve felt negative and confusing emotions instead of floating around on a happy “pregnancy cloud” that I always imagined that I would live on while pregnant.

I don’t know if I can physically do this again, and I’m only 1/3 of the way done. For the first three months, I thought for sure that I would die before I felt any better. As I alluded to above, I had gallbladder issues about three years ago and I had mine removed, and the first two months of my pregnancy were plagued by gastrointestinal distress, dehydration, lack of sleep because of pain in my guts, and nausea. And I work full time. How do women do this when they have other children to take care of? For over a month, I didn’t work a full work week because I woke up feeling very poorly by the time the middle of the week came around.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s my mess. It’s my heart. I feel unsure and excited and I don’t want to hide it, because that’s lying.

Are you surprised that I have had so many struggles with my emotions about something that I longed for for so long? Me too. But I’m not going to lie to you. I’m pretty sure that if I feel this, someone else does too. Maybe more than someone else.

I choose to trust God that He knows what He’s doing. I mean, from what we know, He chose a single teenager to raise His son. He knows what He’s doing. And He’s big enough to handle my mess. And He’s big enough to handle yours. Even if it’s unexpected. And even if it’s a complicated package of emotions that you never expected.

New

Everything is changing.

At my old office, I was the go-to person for almost anything you could think of. I knew how to get things done, and I knew how to get them done quickly and properly. I knew everyone, and I knew what they knew. I felt like the information mafia.

And then I got a new job. I’ve been at that new job for five weeks now, and I just now feel like I know what I’m doing 1/4 of the time. I am advising over 300 students, participating in five different programs. And I’m using new systems that are completely foreign to me. And I’m working at a university that I’ve worked at before, so there are policies and procedures that I don’t know anything about.

COFFEE

I have to drive on the interstate both ways to get to that job, and I’m almost kind of comfortable with that twenty minute drive. But when I get on the interstate, I have to literally talk to myself and say, “[i]t’s okay, it’s okay. You know what you’re doing.”

And we got a new car. And since that new car is new to me and isn’t that 25 year old Corolla that I’m used to driving, I don’t know where it begins and where it ends. I am not good at parking it. I don’t know where the blind spots are.

And stuff keeps making me sick to my stomach. And I’m pretty sure that it’s dairy. And it makes me really uncomfortable that I can’t eat and cheese and ice cream all the time like I want.

Does it sound like I’m having a break down? Maybe a little bit?

The truth is, at first, I was breaking down. I came home and only wanted to sleep when I came home. I may have cried a couple of times because I miss my friends from my old job. And may have cried the first time I drove the new car. And I may want to cry right now because all I want to do is each cheese. Just because I know I shouldn’t, but cheese tastes really good.

But now? Here’s the truth. I’m a proud person. I LOVE knowing everything and being able to help everyone. I hate change, and one of the biggest reasons that I hate change is because I don’t know anything when stuff changes. I don’t get to be the person in control. But change is good, because it reminds me that I don’t know anything anyway. God is in control.

In Jeremiah 29, it says:

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Usually, we just hear the “for I know that plans I have for you” bit, and we don’t get the context. God was saying that He would fulfill His promise in 70 years. And His promise had to do with bringing His people back from exile. Where He wanted them to stay. For 70 years.

God is a bigger planner than me. He knows everything. He has a plan for everything. But that doesn’t mean that things are easy or don’t hurt. Because He uses pain. He uses us being uncomfortable to get us to remember to cling to Him.

So, I’m new. I don’t know anything. I just now know where all the bathrooms in my building are. And that’s great.

What don’t you know? How is God making you uncomfortable?