Open Eyes

2011 came quietly. Jacob and I spent it at home, watching episodes of Dirty Jobs and Psych while I timed contractions and willed them to get stronger and longer.  I remember wondering if it was 2011 yet and glanced at the clock behind me. It was exactly midnight… to the second. How did I catch that moment?

And just like that, we began a new season… A new year. 2011 – A year of change.

It’s already not what I expected.

I truly thought our baby would be born in 2010… but right now, as Jacob naps on the couch and LeLe suns herself like a cat in the window, I am strangely at peace and even a bit thankful that I have this quiet morning to reflect on what we’re leaving and where we’re going.

Here’s what I know is true of me. I am not brave. I am fearful. I am like Elisha’s servant, fully aware of all the enemies that surround me. Mine may not hold swords, but they are waving weapons of fear and shouting words of doubt.

  • You aren’t going to know how to take care of this baby. Someone else would be better-suited for the job.
  • You aren’t going to be able to emotionally recover from the stress of becoming a mom in time for the move home, and you’re going to have a nervous breakdown.
  • You are going to get to the airport and find out something is wrong with your dog’s paperwork and will have to leave her behind.
  • You are going to be totally overwhelmed by the difficulty of adjusting to motherhood and preparing for a cross-continental move at the same time.
  • You and Jacob aren’t going to communicate very well in this next season of life. You are going to revert to old patterns of behavior where you both just put your heads down and trudge forward to get through difficult seasons – failing to actually journey together.
  • You are going to have a meltdown on the plane home.
  • You are going to be lonely and misunderstood when you go home.
  • You are going to lose your passions and only care about cookies for bake sales and soccer practice, and you will wake up someday and wonder what happened to the Carrie you used to be.
  • Jacob isn’t going to be able to find a good job. He has been out of the field for too long and no one will give him a chance.
  • You are going to be dependent on others for shelter, assistance, and support for much longer than you anticipate.
  • You are not going to have a home for a very long time… you will be a house-guest who stays too long and has no roots. Your baby isn’t even going to have a consistent place to sleep.

The enemies get bigger and bigger.  The shouts grow louder and louder.  My heart rate gets faster and faster. Fear rolls in my stomach… boils up into the back of my throat and bubbles out sometimes in a voice-cracking cry that admits just how terrified I am. I have moments a few times a week… moments when I just sob and cry out, “I can’t do this.” I’m almost angry that I even have to try!

It isn’t that someone is forcing us to change. It is time and we are ready. But normal people don’t do this. And it makes sometimes makes me angry – at myself, at my husband, at God, at our convictions, at something I can’t quite name – that we’re doing it anyway.

I am no spiritual giant. I am no saint. I have not learned how to always trust God, no matter the circumstances. My memories of His past faithfulness are almost always overshadowed by my future fears.  Fear blinds me and I cannot see reality clearly.

“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.
2 Kings 6:16-17

There is one thing I know for sure…  2011 is going to be a year of change.  I don’t like change, but I know that Jesus is emmanuel even in this season of my life… He is with me.  And, He is already putting Elisha’s in my life who say, “Don’t be afraid!  He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world.  He will keep you in perfect peace as you trust in him.  Be still and know he is God.  Rest.  Trust him.  He is good, Carrie.  He is always, always good.”

And as I hear these whispers of truth and whispers of grace, I know my eyes are being slowly opened… to see the hillsides around me filled with horses and chariots of fire, ready to come to my defense.  Ready to fight when I cannot.  These chariots don’t belong to my enemy, but to my savior, and He’s looking at me with love, compassion, and mercy.    

2011 is going to be a year of change… and an opportunity to trust not in what is seen but in what is unseen.  What is 2011 going to be for you?

14 thoughts on “Open Eyes

  1. As someone who is very much like you, my advice is to give YOURSELF some grace during this season of transition. It's easy to quip “God's grace is sufficient” but when you feel like a failure of a mother and you're having a meltdown over something ridiculous, you're going to need to acknowledge that it's okay to not be perfect. And it's okay if your life doesn't look anything like you planned out…even if it's just not what normal people do. That's a hard one to grasp. I know. We've been having that talk here, too. But the truth of the matter is that “normal” people don't follow God on terrifying journeys that make no sense to them. Instead, they're wrapped up in soccer practice and bake sales…so take heart, being normal is the thing you fear most so it's a good thing if you're weird. 🙂

    I admit that I've been so wrapped up in praying for a healthy baby and delivery, doctors, Beijing traffic, etc. that I haven't been praying about your transition home. That changes effective immediately. And you know I'm here for you anytime you need if you end up back in my neck of the woods. 🙂


  2. Hi Carrie. Wow. Many changes ahead. I know you will be fine. 🙂 I don't do change well either, but some how I always find my new normal. God never leaves us when he calls us to that place. I'm excited to see what God has in store for your family this year.
    Happy New Year!


  3. Oh girl. What a beautifully raw post that I can totally relate to. I so hear your heart. Writing this “screwtape” letter will help you discern the voice of truth. And I trust He has great things in store for you, Jacob, and your new baby. Blessings always follow obedience. Please rest in knowing that you are being covered in prayer around the globe and every time zone!
    Love & Blessings from Hong Kong,


  4. Hi Carrie. I don't comment very often, but I do read each post! I have sooo related to the last few posts you have written. We could be twins in our thinking and struggles.

    I will be praying for you in this big transition. Transitions are so hard. God must be trying to teach me something big because in six months I have had a preemie daughter born at 30 weeks, moved towns, my mom died in October, and add trying to figure out mothering an infant I was afraid wouldn't live.

    Don't be afraid to continue to be real and let others help you.

    Praying for you! Can't wait to “meet” baby!


  5. What a blessing you are to so many!! In sharing your very real struggles, you have spoken to my heart…. again! I was in tears reading that AWESOME verse from 2 Kings… how i needed to hear that. So THANK YOU!!
    I know that doesn't ease the burden you are carrying: worrying about all the changes ahead, a huge move, your marriage and your abilities as a mama. But clearly God is working in your heart! He doesn't promise to keep us from difficulties… He promises to be WITH us in those difficulties. And praising HIM that He is revealing the hillsides around you – covered in warriors for HIM who will fight the battle with you and for you! You are NOT alone!!
    Sending big ol' hugs. I know well the agony of late pregnancy.. it sure isn't easy… but oh, the BLESSINGS that certainly lie ahead!!


  6. Carrie as I mom and a “worrier” I can so relate to your heart. Although I have not walked your path I have walked my own path of doubts and fears. Through the meltdowns and transitions I have walked out the other side, sometimes a bit bruised and raw but always, always with life lessons learned and treasured as I look back. Hang in there. Praying for you in the beautiful Pacific Northwest today.



  7. Carrie- Just a note to let you knowing that I have been and will be praying for your big move and for the fear to subside into peace. I envy your ability to be so honest, raw and transparent, that is such a gift.

    Blessings- Danae


  8. As I read your post, considering our life's circumstances, I was immediatly drawn to this comment:

    “You aren't going to be able to emotionally recover from the stress of becoming a mom in time for the move home, and you're going to have a nervous breakdown.”

    Let me tell my daughter a fascinating story. I have been feeling chest pains, mostly on the left side, for about a year now. However, I have been thinking that it must be from all the “west Texas air irritation . . . especially during the winter”

    I did not “almost have a nervous breakdown”, but have been thinking very directly about it!!

    Then, about a month ago, mom came to me and started to tell me how her left arm is hurting!! She said it constantly is “partially asleep, and will never stop tingingling!!

    So . . . my potential nervous breakdown has ended, and I am thinking exactly what is going on. Who is doing what?? Is it us, or someone else??

    Just thinking . . . your ol dad!!


  9. Hi Carrie. I have been gone away for a few days and the first thing I did when I came home was check my favorite blogs.. your's was first to see is the little one had made it's entrance yet!! Hang in there!

    As I read your post I was suprised at how much I could relate in a really strange way. We have struggled with infertility for several years and even though I don't know the fears of becoming a mom naturally, I have had the very same fears in adopting. Will I become overwhelmed? Can I really do this? Am I suppose to even be a mom since I couldn't “have ” my own? How will it change my marriage? Will my husband understand me and can I communicate to him my needs? Will I have a breakdown??

    I'm not sure if it's normal to have these feelings or not but I have them. I believe God allows us to come to a place where our abilities are not sufficient so we must become dependent upon Him. Otherwise we would pat ourselves on the back for a job well done instead of Him receiving all the glory. Just remember to breathe through the panic attacks and tell yourself that your Daddy has a plan for your life that is far better than anything you can plan. He will sustain you through all the upcoming changes and you will become stronger in Him. Trust is the key.

    I admire your honesty in this post. It takes guts to admit your fears. I trust that God knew them all before you wrote them and He already had the answers.

    Hoping all goes well with your delivery and I will pray for you!


  10. From Jim Reimann:
    “It seems we often approach a new year with mixed emotions, sometimes hesitant to let go of the past, even as difficult as our past year may have been. We tend to view the past with the idea that at least it is something known, while we view the future as a complete unknown. For believers, however, this should not be the case. Although we do not know the future in detail, we know the One who has made great promises to us as He guides us there.”
    Carrie, how your post speaks to me today! 01-01-11 New beginnings! Unknown territory! Fears! Joys!
    Thank you so much for laying it all out there–I'm with Tara…I need to pray more for you about this upcoming transition back to the States as well as new baby. CHANGE. Wow…you are right.
    And I know the Lord is growing your faith. Thank you for letting us grow with you!
    I have no idea what '11 holds for our family. More changes I'm sure. After reading your post I am ready to face my fears head on and SEE those warriors on the hillside!
    praying and praying and praying some more for ya…


  11. You have everything you need to be a mom. Be still where you are, wake up tomorrow and do the next day.
    Stay present and breathe. Becoming a Mom for the first time will give you all the energy necessary for next month. love does that….


  12. One time on a mission trip someone reminded me of standing stones in the old testmant. They said pick up a small stone and take it home with you so you can remember what God has done. Let the stone be your “standing stone” to remind you. Find a small stone in China, maybe in your yard or at the home. When you settle in your new home place it on your dresser or book shelf. Everytime you gaze at that stone you are reminded of God's truth and what you have learned in China.


  13. You will be all right
    You will be all right
    You will be all right
    I promise!!
    Really… you moved half way around the world to help out for awhile and you stayed. It was a journey to a new place. And everything was different and unfamilar. And you stayed and you helped and you nurtered and you wrote and you hugged and you fed, and you cooked and you bonded and you hurt. You have already done all the things that makes you a good parent.
    You will be fine…I promise!!
    Love and hugs


  14. Stalking….and wanting to be reassured that you will get Jacob or SOMEBODY to post asap as soon as you can right? Not that a person you've never met has any right to be informed about your delivery, but I do feel so connected and feel like I've walked right beside you during this pregnancy–as I'm sure we all do! A little tweet wouldn't hurt either! 🙂
    praying praying and praying some more!


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