Adventure (and what God is showing me through it)

I have to take a few minutes this morning and write on my blog, which I have been neglecting big time lately!

I am sitting in a lovely hotel room while John attends a Honda dealer class in Williamsburg, VA. And when he finishes with business, we will do a little sightseeing in this gorgeous historic area. I have really looked forward to this trip. I've been here once before (many years ago) and I know John will love Colonial Williamsburg. One of the most exciting things about our move to West Virginia, for me, is that we are now just a few hours of driving from so many wonderful places. Places I love. I haven't been to DC since Danny was a senior in high school. I look forward to going back with John. And maybe there will be a trip with the boys when they get just a little older. I would love that!

I have never been an adventurous person. I don't love change. I don't get restless or bored. I am the opposite. I get attached to people and places. I like my comfort zone and my routine. I'm one of those people who could have lived in the same spot my whole life and been just fine with that. So when this move turned from a possibility to a reality, I was a little apprehensive. I will confess, it felt like a sacrifice more than an adventure to me. Yes, I was willing to do it because I really love my husband. And I knew how much he wanted the Honda dealership. But (in my heart) I wasn't excited about it. And I didn't try to hide that from John. (I am not very good at hiding anything.)

I wasn't afraid. I knew I'd make friends quickly. I'm an outgoing person and that part isn't hard for me. I just didn't have a desire to go anywhere. I liked the life we had in Murfreesboro very much. It was hard to imagine a better life anywhere than the life we had.

I have always struggled with a fear of the unknown. John has never had that fear. He is way more adventurous than I am. And he was convinced from his first visit that we would have a great life in West Virginia. I began this journey thinking only about the great life we were leaving. I have to chuckle now when I remember the first time he brought me (in August) to see the area. Although it was as beautiful then as it is now, I couldn't appreciate the beauty. I was so attached to where I was, I could not appreciate where I was going. I remember lots of tears that I could not control, and asking John to give me time. I would have to work through the emotion, but I would be fine. I remember him saying, "I won't do this if you're going to be miserable." He said that because every time I would start thinking about moving away from the kids, I got emotional. And I don't mean my eyes misted. I mean that tears rolled down my cheeks. But I assured him I would not be miserable. I knew I would be okay. I had done harder things than move with the husband I adore to a new area. I just had to work through the emotion and, for me, that would mean some tears.

Well, I did work through those emotions. And quickly. More quickly than I imagined I could. By the time we physically moved, I was actually excited about moving. I will still miss the kids. But I am only a 6-7 hour drive from them. There will be lots of visits.

The drive from West Virginia to Williamsburg yesterday was breathtakingly beautiful. I think it's the first time I have ever not even thought about how long we'd driven or how far we had to go to reach our destination. I was just overwhelmed with the beauty of the journey the entire drive. I told John that I really believe this is a good (and valuable) experience for me. Rather than this being a sacrifice, it's an amazing blessing to have the opportunity to live in different parts of the country and meet new people, expanding our circle of friends. I'm not losing anything. I'm gaining. This is a wonderful time in our lives. I could turn it into a sacrifice and a hardship with my attitude. But I have no desire to do that!

I've lived in West Virginia for less than a full month and it already feels like home to me. I know that is primarily because I have a wonderful husband and marriage. And my home is anywhere John is. But I think, through this, I am discovering the thrill of an adventure! Sometimes God has to pry our hands loose from what we already have in order to give us new blessings! At least, he has to do that for me.

In thinking about all of this, I see parallels to life's bigger picture. The older we get, the more people we lose. Cancer and other diseases afflict us and our loved ones. And we just age. The view of our own mortality becomes clearer and clearer. I don't look forward to dying because I don't want to leave anyone I love. I don't want to miss anything in their lives. Just like moving to a new location; it's easy to have such a firm grasp on what we don't want to leave behind that we forget how beautiful, how breathtaking, how absolutely amazing our new destination is going to be. Or we miss the beauty of each day and its unique blessings.

I believe with all my heart that if we could imagine what eternity with God is going to look and feel like, we would be so ready to leave. As I took in all the beauty of our drive yesterday, I thought about how I had never really seen the awesome beauty of Virginia and it far surpassed my imagination. The very next thought was that heaven is going to make Virginia look like a small park.

I could not fathom, six months ago, how much I would fall in love with southern West Virginia, nor how soon I would love living there. If I had realized it, I would have felt no anxiety or fear about moving. If I had known I was going to meet and marry John ten years ago, I would have felt no anxiety or fear about the dismal future I thought was ahead of me.

I could actually get quite carried away making lists of all the times I was filled with fear and anxiety (about the unknown) that I see in hindsight were just a part of God's plan for my life; that He was -- in every instance -- working all things for my good (Romans 8:28). I won't give you a complete run down on those examples. But what I do feel impressed to write is what I feel like God is trying to impress on me through this experience: Heaven surpasses anything we have ever experienced or even imagined! When we get there, we won't be sad that we had to let go of the life we had here. And we will only be temporarily separated from those we have to leave in order to go there. Every time John and I talk about Brittany and how much we wish she were still here with us, we also acknowledge, "But Brittany would not choose to come back."

One of the things Danny has frequetly pointed out to me is that we can be neighbors in heaven. The brief period of time that we are separated by six or seven hours here will seem like almost nothing in eternity. And the most important thing here is that we go where God takes us and do what He calls us to do. I have said this before and have probably already said it on my blog, too. But I believe God has reasons for the Howertons being in West Virginia that have nothing to do with selling Hondas.

I am eager to discover our bigger purpose and see how God will use us to hopefully bless the lives of other people. That is the most exciting part of this adventure!