Welcome to Nineveh, Part Dos.

Catch Part 1 here.

I thought moving to Texas for the first time would be the hardest thing I ever had to do.

That is, until I had to move away from there.

A little over four weeks ago I graduated with my Masters of Science degree from Texas A&M University. Four weeks ago I moved away from the life I had known for a year and half, leaving dozens of the closest friends, mentors, and church family I have ever had.

Throughout my life I have been well acquainted with sadness. I experienced seasons of depression throughout high school and early college induced by patterns of lies and self-destructive behavior. Because of these seasons I do not typically fear the rise or fall of emotions because God has been there to”ride out” the extremes with me.

However, the sadness that has greeted me since moving from Texas is an entirely different kind of sadness than what I’ve felt before. This sadness is a hollow ache that catches me off guard. This sadness keeps me from leaning into the things I usually find so delightful. This sadness makes me wake up in the morning believing I am 1,000 miles away from where I really am. This sadness is grief.

I am grieving. I am grieving the loss of relationships, the loss of people who affirmed me and loved me for who I am, the loss of wide open spaces and miles of adventure yet to be lived, and even the loss of a culture where boots-wearin’ men hold doors for women before they lead them to the dance floor for a two-step.

As I prepare to begin a career in Florida, I feel as though I am clinging to mere glimpses of hope—hope that I made the right decision a good decision, a worthy decision for all that I have given up.

But I have to tell you: I’m not so sure about all of this. I feel swallowed up by my grief, swallowed up by my remorse and confusion. The pain has me wondering if I will ever be able to embrace this new door God is pushing me to walk through.


 

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
    into the very heart of the seas,
    and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
    swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
    from your sight;
yet I will look again
    toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,[b]
    the deep surrounded me;
    seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
    the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
    brought my life up from the pit.

“When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.

“Those who cling to worthless idols
    turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
    will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

I wonder if it took Jonah three whole days to come up with this prayer. I wonder if this prayer was the result of three long days and nights where Jonah’s rebellious heart was wrestling with the God who was willing to do anything to get his servant where He wanted him to be.
I also wonder if God was speaking to Jonah during these three days or was purposefully silent. I wonder this because it could have been God’s silence that forced Jonah to remind himself of the truths he prays in this passage. 

Regardless, I imagine whale/fish bellies can be a humbling place to be for three days.

Personally, I feel like I’m in the belly of my grief, barely living on a prayer to a God who is letting me wrestle with my perspective and His truth. I have a feeling He is willing to let me sit in the belly for as long as it takes.

To be continued…

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5 comments

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Nineveh, Part 1. – A "Val"iant Effort
  2. Natalie · January 25, 2016

    Oh…you are not alone in this grief. That drive that seems like the longest ever with tears streaming down your face…trying to be strong and trusting that this move is one He has enabled…yet at the same time questioning how He could take you away from some of the sweetest relationships you never imagined possible upon your first arrival to a new place. The struggle is real…yet, in the end (though not wanting to fully admit it in the moment), we know that He will provide…new relationships that will challenge us to even deeper knowledge and understanding of Him, new memories, etc. Keep pressing forward…you’ve got this and will be more of who He is creating you to be on the flip side…*hugs*

  3. Patricia Cooper · January 25, 2016

    Valerie,

    I have been praying about how to comment on your most recent blogs, and, first and foremost, I want you to once again realize how very proud of you that I am. You are a radiant, powerful woman of God. And that is how I must begin.

    As you are feeling all of what seem to be negative vibes and depressing thoughts, I would encourage you to reach even deeper inside to take inventory of the myriad of gifts the Lord has given to you. Reach down deep, pull out those gifts and then share…share them with those who so desparately need to receive God’s gifts through you.

    I believe, because I too have experienced some of what you are describing, that by giving, you so richly receive…blessings, fulfillment and love.

    I will continue to pray for and about you, your journey and God’s purpose to be fulfilled in your life.

    I love you.

    Pat Cooper

  4. Pingback: Welcome to Nineveh, Part Free. – A Valiant Effort

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