Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Surfacing for Breath

Chauncey the house says, "Come back soon, Kuppers....and somebody, please rent me!"
Warning: this blog post may be riddled with grammatical errors, unoriginal thoughts and passive voice. But when your body is telling you it's midnight (and so are your three children), blogging takes a backseat to survival.

The long and skinny: all five human Kuppers made it to England, but the canine is still stateside. Klaus, thanks to a government snafu, is stuck at home and we are working on getting him over here. Since the camera is with our household goods, you will have to be content with photos of Jack's field trip to the pumpkin patch right before we left and a smattering of Nick's phone photos.

Jude's head was so smashed against the airplane seat for so long that his curls actually disappeared. One of the first things we did when we got to our hotel was to give him a bath so they would come back. I've lost enough right now as it is!
I know many of you were praying for our looooong journey, and I thank you. I had been dreading the 10-hour flight, but thanks to supernatural workings (because what else could explain the way my children stayed relatively meltdown-free while strapped in and sleepless?) it wasn't nearly as bad as I imagined.
Traveling with three carseat-using children tends to be slightly cargo-heavy. "That's the biggest baby buggy I've ever seen!" a customs agent told us in absolute shock. Yes, thank you, we Americans go big or go home. Er, I mean, we leave home and come to your country. Whatever.
 God specifically answered our prayers by surrounding us with baby-lovers. They even complimented us on the kids' behavior. Jack's seatmate especially was helpful, listening as he chattered away excitedly for the first hour, then propping him up and tucking him in as he fell asleep, then mopping up his spilled juice at breakfast. And when Jack shared some of his political opinions (yes, I have that kid), she was nice enough not to shoot him down.

Jack: I don't understand why England won't let people own guns.
Lady: Oh, but that's one of the best parts about England. No one needs guns. So we don't need to own any.
Jack: I'll bet the bad guys are pretty happy about that.

Jack: I don't understand why Obama does what he does.
(Me, lunging across the aisle to covertly stop this trainwreck)
Me, whispering: Jack, maybe we shouldn't talk about the president right now.
Jack: Okay, I won't. But I still don't like him.

(For all my liberal friends: we teach our kids to respect the presidency no matter what, but after watching several clips of Obama's speeches, our five-year-old has drawn his own conclusions. For what it's worth, Jack is also fairly ticked off with Santa Claus' unfulfilled promises.).
Jack and Ella, a favorite classmate
I love when God reminds us the world isn't so big after all. Dr. Faiz Rahman, the founder of Good News India, was on our flight. We've long supported this fantastic orphanage, child sponsorship and "dream center" organization and were delighted to see Dr. Rahman again.

This past week has incredibly draining for all of us. My days consisted of a million overwhelming details and hundreds of tears when I hoped no one was looking. But as he always does, God came through as each goodbye, each "last", each mound of paperwork, each fear and each anxiety threatened to drown me.

Lord, we still haven't found a renter...God, the French onion soup spilled all over my baby carrier and now it stinks and I need it not to!...Jesus, I'm freaking out about the money!...God, am I taking care of my children's emotional needs? Because I feel like I'm failing...Am I making too big a deal out of this, Lord? Do you think I'm a whiner? What will happen when Nick deploys?...Oops, I hope that the Salem Library doesn't notice I accidentally shipped one of their books TO ANOTHER CONTINENT...

Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I don't hurt or cry. Sometimes, I think I feel even more acutely because I have Christ in my life. So no, God didn't reach down and zap the pain away last week.

But He did hold me especially close, sending help just when I needed it most. I heard my heavenly Daddy's heartbeat when a friend showed up to take all my half-used bottles of ketchup and olive oil, when family members soothed my hurting babies' confused feelings, when friends stocked me with airplane snacks and treats, every time I heard how much I was going to be missed, at Chuck E. Cheese (of all places!) when the goodbyes left me gasping for breath.

"Just ride the wave," my beloved hairstylist advised me at our last appointment. "Yeah, I should try that instead of letting it drown me," I joked back. "I've never been much of a surfer."

Sometimes, I forget that the God I serve made the ocean waves. And when I fall off the board -- when this feeling of Oh, sweet Jesus, I can't do this! fills my chest -- I only need to reach up to grasp the hand of the One who walked its pounding surf.

And so I try, taking a deep breath. I pray for wisdom as Jack cries for his best friend Lucy, as Avinly refuses to be set down (or UNLATCH, for crying out loud!), as Jude looks in vain for the amusement park he mistakenly thinks Eng-Land to be.

I count to ten or more as Nick takes off for his first day of work, leaving me slightly terrified.

I give my worries over the house(s) and the money and the dog and the future to a Savior who promises to hold my hand as I figure each situation out.

I pray for grace as we are in temporary lodging yet again, as we look for a new house, school, church and social circle, as everyone's body clock is as backwards as British driving rules.

I surface for breath, not knowing the hows or whens of the ride...only that my lungs will be filled when I break through to the sunshine, and that someday, little by little, my feet will find their place. 

And that, for me, is enough for now.