This post marks my last few hours in this house. Movers are finishing up. I’m walking the halls. So many significant things have happened here:

Luke and Lane turned 3 and then 4 in this house.

We welcomed baby Elle in this house.

We have enjoyed the company of some incredible people in this house.

I wrote down what will hopefully become the big ideas for my next book in this house.

We survived HOT weather and Ramadan and wind storms and tear gas and tire fires in this house.

We even survived the not-so-pretty (thinking dying farm animal) call to prayer from the tiny little neighborhood mosque two doors down. 5 times a day. 🙂

But perhaps the very most significant thing that has happened in this house is that by some great grace of God I have learned a little bit about letting go, taking myself off the hook, and being a companion to myself instead of a critic. I’ve learned how to be kinder and gentler with myself. I’ve learned what it means to treat myself like a friend and not an enemy. This is the single greatest miracle that has happened in this house.

So here’s what I want to tell you . . . sometimes God takes you somewhere you really had no intention of going. Like, the Middle East, for example. And you were very comfortable and easy-breezy in your little life. But the great wooden spoon in the sky comes down and stirs all that up (without your permission, of course). And you are scared and panicked and great with child and hot and even a little sad some days. But when the movers came and it’s time to move you on from this place—this crazy place—you walk through the empty rooms and you see that you have changed in this crazy place. And so, it was worth it. It was worth the upheaval. It was worth the craziness. It was worth all the goodbyes and starting overs. Because—and this is the really important part—perhaps you’ve learned something in this desert that you could have learned in no other place. And perhaps that thing you learned has given you new hope. Breathing room.

Maybe you arrived at a place that was just so agitating (in the best possible sand-into-pearl kind of way) that it required you to let go. Required you to relinquish. And that’s when the magic happened. That’s when you began to see that it’s OK to stop and breathe and make amends with yourself. To begin the long process of learning how to be a friend, instead of an enemy, to you.

So, going to that very foreign place helped you more than you could have ever known. And next time, when it’s time to pack your bags, you can believe (maybe even trust a little) that God will arrive and that you will be given some great gift. The kind of gift that could only be found in the desert.

Thank you, God, for most this amazing day. I who have died am alive again today. (cummings)

Thank you, God, for bringing me here. We are SO incredibly scared most of the time. And then we learn that you are good. We learn that over and over again. And we are wrecked with gratitude for your grace. Amen.

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