July 1 marked our first anniversary of life in Midland! This was a tough move and a tough transition and we have come quite a long way in the past year.
Its very safe to say that this has been a good place for our family. I can’t say for sure if Houston or some other place would have been better or worse or the same, but Midland has been good to us. We don’t know that we will be here much longer than another year or so, but we will always look back on Midland fondly.
The other day Nick and I were discussing hanging something and Nick made a comment about the state of the wall “…when we move.” Isla immediately stopped, looked shocked and asked “Are we moving?” We told her that no, we weren’t moving now, but some time in the future we would probably move. Isla made a face and said “But I like this house.” So we at least have one little girl’s approval.
Our Right Now
The other day I was thinking about the friends that I had made in Midland. People in Midland are so nice, my biggest problem is that I wish I could be best friends with everyone I’ve met because they are just so nice and well educated and fairly sensible people! I realized that although I still pine for my friends in Russia and Houston and Louisiana and all of the other wonderful places we have lived, I have a solid group of friends to hang out with and who I can call in a pinch if I need help with the girls. That is a very blessed and comfortable place to be when you live away from family! Just one year here and I am constantly running into people I know wherever I go in town .
Nick is thriving at his job and the experience that he is gaining will be invaluable for later. I won’t brag too much, but I think that people really like him and I have been so happy with the support he receives from his boss here, as well as the opportunities available to learn new things and challenge himself professionally… which he loves! He loves not having a commute. He always comes home so happy to be home, but still satisfied with his job, and we all benefit from his steady demeanor! It doesn’t matter where I live – Houston, London, Russia, Midland, I am always going to have bad days, days where the kids drive me crazy, days where I don’t cook and somehow the house gets crazy, and there’s something to be said for allowing Nick to follow his career wherever it takes him as long as it makes him happy. Having such a steadfast, cheerful husband who loves his job is worth putting up with living in places where I don’t want to be!
Isla and Gemma are doing well too. Gemma is still too little and dependent to make sweeping statements about how Midland affects her well being, but Isla is also thriving! That brings so much joy to my heart. Isla has a lot of friends, through preschool, our friends, some through church and others through the neighborhood. She loves her activities too. She just has the type of personality where she likes to “go, go, go” and experience new things. If we go overseas again, which is our wish, who knows what will be available so we are trying to let her enjoy as much as possible right now. I can’t wait for her to start kindergarten at Midland Classical next fall! I’m so excited to have a university model, classical Christian school here. I just know its going to spoil me for all other schools.
We continue to love our house and our neighborhood, Woodland Park! It is so much nicer than where we would have lived in Houston since there just wasn’t much available when we came for our house hunting trip. I want to do so much to the house, but there’s no point given the length of time we expect to be here… but I really want to! I told Nick that if he chooses to stay in Midland when his time in his current position comes up, I have a whole list of changes that I want to make immediately. And we absolutely love our playroom by the way .
We are also slowly finding ways to fill our time in Midland. Its hard because there isn’t as much to do as there is in Houston, but we manage, and we also have fun just hanging around our house and doing nothing! Also, not having to deal with traffic is very nice.
Our church is really lovely too! We attend Midland Bible Church. Normally when we move, our home church is the first place that we make friends, which oddly has not been the case here because its so easy to make friends and there were so many churches to try, but we still really like our church! We are slowly making friends and its been fun to go on Sunday morning and have several people to say “hi” too. Most of those people we met elsewhere though. I attended a women’s bible study this spring and Isla attended Awanas there. I am hoping after the baby comes and things settle down, we can join a small group on Monday nights, and Isla will continue with Awanas in the fall.
Where we were
This should really be where I was because everyone else seems to have handled this very well and smoothly. The truth is that I gave up the most to be here, and it was hard letting go. I gave up the last few months of my two Aunt’s lives (here and here), I would have loved to have seen them more in their last days. I gave up living close to my family and grandmother, seeing them more, having convenient baby sitters and attending regular family get-togethers. I gave up living close to my best friend (who has three girls btw) who would have lived in either the same neighborhood as us or one neighborhood over. I gave up proximity to other dear friends from childhood and college. I gave up not having a mortgage and all of the fun giving and travel we could have done with the extra money. I gave up living in a city with a hub airport for cheaper travel. I gave up being established patients of great doctors, and starting over has not been fun here. I gave up silly things like fun shopping (the shopping in Midland is awful), Trader Joe’s and Bikram Yoga. I gave up literally the life I had always wanted in the location I had always wanted. I also knew that Nick would love to go overseas after this assignment and if that were to happen, this would be my last chance for a long time to reconnect with friends and family for a while and have some normalcy before experiencing another culture.
I know that moving to Midland wasn’t a life catastrophe, but I’d be lying if I said that I’ve had anything other than a fairly lengthy grieving process. I know that we aren’t supposed to try to create heaven on earth, and I have never strived to orchestrate my life to get exactly what I wanted, but to have it dangled in front of my face and then snatched away was so hard and disappointing. I begged and cried for Nick to not accept this position and to take the other position offered in Houston, but I always finished with a pretty lame “but I’ll go if we really need to go.” because after all, it was in our marriage vows…
“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
The thing is, its easy to be a submissive wife and let Nick take the lead when its easy, which with Nick it is 99% of the time, but it’s the when its hard that it really counts. I know God will bless my obedience to His word, and I’ll understand one day and see the blessings even when they are not right in front of my eyes. Nick and I definitely learned something about each other in all this - namely that Nick could make a decision that I hated and didn’t agree with and that I could still respect him and think he’s wonderful, and that I could be the less-than-supportive wife I’d always promised I would be (because you can be sure he’s had a front and center seat and sometimes been the target of “my grief process”), and Nick could still love me and treat me like a treasure.
The big difference in my attitude and happiness finally happened when I could just admit “I’m not happy. I gave up too much.” and I took it to the Lord in prayer… and I also made sure to ask him why other Christians were allowed to say “No, I am NOT going THERE!” and I never get to??? Instead of trying to buck up, pretend and try on my own be content, I finally took it to Him, and surprise, surprise, was met with no condemnation. My failed striving to be better wasn’t a surprise to the Lord, and once I cast those cares upon Him, things really started to improve, and I can honestly say that I am happy in Midland. I’ll be happy and fine if have to stay longer instead of counting down each day to the end of our commitment.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:7 (He really does!)
Or this one…
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Jesus
What the future holds
Right now the length of Nick’s time is up here ends next summer… and after that, LONDON! Haha, I kid. I kid. And I dream... No, but seriously put your entire prayer power into getting us to London! Once Nick’s time is up here, we will decide where we would like to go based on what is available and what Nick wants to do and where his company needs him. We could always decide to stay in Midland as well. I think we would like to do an overseas assignment again, but that might not be a possibility. One thing is for sure, I foresee a lot more moving in our future.
I admit that I never really thought of us as “Wannderers” and that was just a fun pun because we were moving to Russia. Nick and I have had a lot of long discussions recently and I know that the desire of his heart is to always be learning something new and working on projects that excite him, even if that means moving to WHERE EVER! Yikes. Its been difficult to wrap my head around that one especially as our family is still growing, but I love the part of Nick’s personality that makes him always want to grow and learn. I am in awe of him sometimes. He’s such a hands on husband and father, but he works so hard at his job. Just recently he took a reservoir geomechanics class to learn about fracking and related topics through Stanford, just for the fun of it! On top of that he’s pretty active and works out all the time and does basketball twice a week. Being a low key, low energy person myself, I don’t really get it, but I certainly don’t want to stifle that part of his personality… so I’ll support him where ever he would like to go.
We did love serving our church overseas and I would love the opportunity to do that again! I think my biggest prayer right now would be that our next assignment would allow Nick the opportunity to grow and shine in his job, provide us with the means and ability to easily expand our family if we decide to have a fourth biological child or adopt, a place where people besides my mom want to visit, and a place where we can share the gospel with the unreached. One thing is for sure, I am clinging to this verse…
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Jesus the Christ