We stayed in Frankfurt, Germany, which is Husband’s home town, after we left Sweden. Our boys slept in his old room, played with his more-than-30-year-old firetruck, and we went to his home church. One Sunday there was a youth pastor from Australia preaching, and he talked about how Jacob wrestled with God. He said, We want God to snap his fingers and make our problems go away, but sometimes God wants to draw us into a wrestle.
And I could see God holding out his hands and asking me, Can we fight this one out?
I’m tired, friends. It’s been almost eight weeks since we drove away from Sweden, I miss my friends, my home, the swaying birches, the place and people who meant so much. Grief wears me out, and this is normal, but I want a break. Our to-do lists are still long as we navigate these first days in Melbourne, and we wrestle with our kids as we work through these things. They are hurting, too. And jet lagged. And then we went down with gastro 48 hours after arriving. Staying up with a puking child is not what I had in mind for my second night in Australia (Husband did most of the staying up though, in fairness).
There is this place in the transition when time slows down, and it will seem like nothing is happening. The movers took all your things away, there is nothing left to do in the house, you move to your in-laws, you’re in the new city, but you haven’t found a house or a job, and there is this space when you and the ones you love are waiting, waiting, waiting. It is full of questions: What will our lives look like? What will we do if it takes longer than expected to find work? What are we expecting? Where should we live? But there are rarely any answers.
You’ve left one thing behind but have not yet arrived at the next thing. I call it The In Between.
And I can tell you that for me, it is the hardest place of all. It is where my anger bubbles up. This is the time when I am most dissatisfied with my life. I meet my fears about the future here, and they knock me out. The In Between is where I cannot see clearly, I can’t remember why I left the safety of the past, I have yet to lay hold of the promise of the future.
It’s in this place where I sit on the floor of a church in Frankfurt, Husband next to me, our Little Bear between us as he tries to cuddle his way to sleep on both our laps, and an Australian pastor says, Sometimes God wants to draw us into a wrestle. He wants us closer. He wants to change the way we walk. He wants us to leave a better legacy.
The timing feels terrible even though the truth is real. Now, in the time when I most want a vacation or time off or a rest of some sort. Now, in this time that seems laden with grief, frought with anger, and pregnant with uncertainty. Now, his question to me, his question to you may just be, Can we fight this one out?
Can I come closer? Can I change you? Can I grow you? Can I make you stronger through this fight? Can I assure you that I am trustworthy and that your life is in kind hands?
Because this is the truth: While I may be waiting for a visa, a job, a home and countless other things, I am not waiting for God.
He is with me. Always. I can step closer and engage instead of run away. I can wrestle with God instead of hide from him. Expecting him to give me the strength I need to fight a good fight, needing faith to rise up when doubts darken my horizon, choosing to speak promises of life instead of declarations of death.
Believing that change may involve pain, but in his hands, the pain will always have a purpose. The In Between is my springboard into the future, and I don’t want to spend it hiding in fear.
Now it’s your turn: Are you in an in between time? How’s your wrestle going?