It’s been exactly one year since we stopped leaving and started going.One year ago, we said goodbye to the foreign town and people that had begun to feel like home.
After almost 8 years of visiting the USA and making home in South Africa, I’ve learned there’s a sacred space between leaving and arriving. During long international travel, you enter a star-spangled time warp where you’ve got no place to be except where you are. Nothing is required of you up there in the clouds - but there are bonus points if you can sleep in the shape of a pretzel.
|Patient Lifa in the car the first time|
we drove into Cape Town. Fact:
those headphones weren't connected
to anything. Purely a fashion statement.
Our family’s move to Cape Town was a shorter distance but much longer journey than our moves to South Africa from America. In the past one year, we inhabited four homes, two countries, four long drives, two schools, an embarrassing amount of tears and chocolate for the lady of the house, and a boatload of miracles.
This morning, I cry-told my husband that I’m marking today as the first day of a new year. I confessed I’ve finished the past year with a puffy-eyed limp. It’s the kind of limp that happens when you hit the ground running, but you didn’t realise you were still in the air when you leapt.
The leap into church planting in Cape Town was bigger than that little leap when you exit the airplane in Africa because you’re unsure if the passage is properly secured to the plane. We left, and then I leapt - flinging my whole self into creating security for our son, serving our new city, and setting our family up well.
Have you ever seen someone’s falling face? The one where they didn’t realise there wasn’t a step there and find themselves crazy-faced and flailing their arms against gravity? It’s the moment you never want on video. I may or may not have looked like that… for a year.
I didn’t realise we'd be in the proverbial air for a year. I didn’t realise that it would be just this week that I would see how to really serve the organisation we’ve partnered with for a year. Or that we’d just now be installing long-term security measures on a home we’ll stay in so we can sleep a little more soundly. I couldn’t have predicted how moving away from the only culture Lifa has known would affect him or how hard we’d pray and push to get him into a healthy learning environment. I would never have guessed that I’d have to learn about rugby! And I just realised last night that we’ve really just landed after leaving a year ago.
When I told my husband I’m coming out of the year with a limp, I wasn’t complaining.
I’m not wounded. I’m blessed. And I have something to show for it.
I was counted worthy of wrestling, faith-flailing, and going past my own ability. It was the most challenging year on the books, and I spent more time that I care to admit trying to save face - because come on, the falling face is terrible. But what a year it has been!
A man named Jacob was once on a long, straining journey with his family, and he came out with a limp as well. Jacob’s limp is legendary. It marks the day he got a new name and legacy because he said, “I will not let go until you bless me.” He earned that limp, and he was blessed.
I’d rather limp like I’ve loved hard and be blessed for it than skip through life without a care.
Today is a new day, and it’s a new year for me and the Ladd Family.
Tonight I’m going on a date with my man. We are going to laugh together and love each other. We’re giving this first night of the new year to our marriage, to putting down deep roots into each other and our new home. We’re not leaving and we’re not arriving. We’re here, and we are going to live like it.
This year, we will have our first big Thanksgiving meal with people.
This year, we will spend our first Christmas together. All 3 of us TOGETHER!! (We haven't all been in the same country together for Christmas since we met!)
This year, Lifa will start and end school in the same place, with friends and teachers who care for him.
This year, we will go on lots of dates and create family traditions.
We will be known for the legacies we wrote while we wrestled, and we will be increasingly thankful.
If you’re wrestling now, don’t let go of it until you get the blessing.
Get the limp - let the way you carry yourself show that you’ve understood the blessing of hard seasons.
It’s a badge of faith that says “Trustworthy”. You might be sore, and you might have had some bad face days. But you’ve been faithful, and the King of Kings says, “Come and share in your Master’s happiness."
Have a happy new year!