When we first moved to Salt Lake I remember being so mad at God for sending us here. I’m a Florida girl. Beaches, sunshine & thunderstorms, and temps above 80 are my lifeline. But God called us to desert mountains. There would be snow to contend with, no access to a beach, and summer heat that would be so dry it would feel like baking in an oven. I was also 8 weeks pregnant and throwing up everything I ate and then some. Moving across the country, to a place we didn’t know, with a baby on the way felt unfair and unkind; and mostly like I could have come up with a better plan than God.

But as my pregnancy drew nearer its end, my mom got sick. Really, really, sick. And three short weeks later, she died. I was 38 weeks pregnant.

I didn’t see it in August when we sold our house, packed our things, and uprooted our lives (kicking and screaming), but God knew the details of the big picture. I don’t believe that being here for my mom’s final weeks was the only purpose for bringing us to SLC when He did, but it was definitely part of the plan. Because her death was quick and unexpected. And because there are likely very few doctors who would’ve signed off on a pregnant lady, that near her due date, to hop on a plane with a one way ticket.

I was mad at God for a long time after we left the comfort of the south east. I yelled and sulked. I even attempted to make the most of our temporary situation and pleaded with God to allow us to leave as quickly as He called us to come. My mom entering glory didn’t help my attitude. In those weeks after her death, as Adam and I prepared ourselves for the life changing event we were about to experience in welcoming Audrey, I briefly thanked God for allowing me to be in SLC for my moms last few months; for her death. I couldn’t see His plan when we moved but in that moment, I saw a glimpse of how this puzzle piece fit into the bigger puzzle.

4 years later, we are still in SLC. It’s even snowing as I type this. I honestly don’t know why He still has us here. Why he hasn’t heard my pleas to be gone from this place that is the geographical headquarters of so much pain. But we are here. And just as hindsight offered me a dose of gratitude after my sweet mama went to be with Jesus, I keep reminding myself that God really does know better than me - even if that’s ridiculously hard to admit and even harder to swallow as truth AND reality.

I’m not sure that I’ve reached a hindsight moment after George Mason’s death. There are days where I’m truly grateful for the community of people that God placed in our lives when we came here 4 years ago, but to call that gratitude anything close to understanding would be a lie. Honestly, I don’t think there will ever really be an answer to the many whys I ask myself and God almost daily. Suffering seems to have rooted itself in this stage of my life. From infertility, losing my mama & my son, and longing so deeply to be removed from this place, it’s awful easy to throw myself a pity party. In many ways, knowing the reasons why God brought us to SLC or allowed the disappointments I’ve faced in the last 4 years, would almost be harder - because then the pity parties would have to stop. I would have to adult my way into some kind of rooted life here in these desert mountains. Sometimes sinking low into the woe is me moments feels better than facing my fears and telling Satan not today.

I haven’t been the most diligent seeker of God in these last few months. The grief has been less consuming and so my immediate and desperate need for His presence in my life hasn’t been quite as obvious. It has been just as true, just not as glaringly obvious. But as most people do with a new year, I find myself reflecting. On what went right about 2018, about what I want to do differently in 2019. About being intentional. In my daily walk with Jesus. In my own mental and physical health and well being. In my marriage. In my parenting. Intention. But also, action. I don’t want to write out a list of all the things I hope to do better or prioritize more appropriately and then fail at all of it. No, I want to look at myself in the mirror of my faith and sincerely tell God how much I desperately need Him - and then actively seek Him. Because my hindsight moment after my mama died was a precious gift before I welcomed a new baby just weeks after saying goodbye to my own mother, but it hasn’t happened yet with George. There are no easy answers to keep me trucking through life. There is just loss. And disappointment. And lots of God’s character popping up in all of the grief. So I want to commit to digging deeper and actually looking for his character; not just waiting for it to reveal itself to me in my lowest moments.

As my life moves forward, further from George Mason’s day, the gullies of grief get less often. They don’t plague every minute of my every day. It’s wonderful. And it’s terrifying. Because Jesus is the only reason I could manage to get out of bed everyday. And now that things aren’t so looming and filled to the brim with sorrow doesn’t mean I need him any less. It just means I am going to have to be more diligent in reminding myself of that truth. And then, prioritizing my days in such a way that God is the beginning and the end. And every moment in between. My identity is His child first. Then there is daughter, wife, mother, friend, resident of SLC, etc. and all of those labels are refined and made better by God’s presence in them. I don’t want to wait around for that hindsight moment, just hoping that it will magically make everything ok {it didn’t even my mom died, it won’t with George’s death either}, I want to seek first the kingdom of God, and if the answers I’m longing for are revealed, great. But if not, I’ll know God better and love Him deeper. Which is the source of joy anyway, so how sweet will that be?