Have you ever felt like you are caught in a dust storm in prayer, where there is so much swirling around you that you struggle to see clearly? I feel like I am living in one such storm right now. There are abundant graces surrounding me at the same time I feel surrounded by many questions.
We are in a season of transition in our family, marked by our third move in seven years to a different city. This time we did not move to an unfamiliar city, but we returned home, to our beloved hometown of Baton Rouge, LA. Sheepishly I admit, I thought this move would be a piece of cake, because it did not have some of the challenges of our other moves: knowing no one, being unfamiliar with the city, and starting completely over from scratch. While this move includes returning to family, life-long friends, and a city I know like the back of my hand, it also holds many unanswered questions because of how quickly this move happened.
Daily I come to prayer, and as I try to quiet myself, I feel bombarded by numerous thoughts as I bring my last 24 hours before God. The gift of returning home feels like a shower of graces, which invigorates and confuses me at the same time as I seek to open myself to receive God’s overwhelming goodness. How do we live with this abundance, Lord? How are you calling us to embrace and return these gifts to you?Then my brain turns to the pieces of our life that still feel unclear: all of the questions about finding a home, helping three children adjust to a new city and school, discerning invitations for ministry, and seeking God’s guidance for what work will look like here. I attempt to bring each piece of our life before God, but I feel like there is a dust storm, full of both consolation and uncertainty, swirling around me, making me struggle to keep my center in God.
What I know from past seasons of transition is that what feels like a dust storm now, clouding me from seeing everything clearly, will eventually settle. What will hold me steady right now, though? I continue to turn to the reminder from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: “Rejoice in hope…persevere in prayer” (12:12). The easier part right now is to rejoice in all the good and give thanks for every answered prayer and gift from God. The more challenging piece for me is to continue to persevere in prayer as my husband and I seek God’s guidance on the remaining pieces of this transition. I want to act and move things along quicker than they seem to be progressing right now.
I want out of the dust storm, but that is not where life has me right now. It has me standing in the cloud of dust while naming the gifts and holding the questions. I am not there alone, though, even though I feel like I cannot see clearly. I feel the infinite presence of God holding me steady.