It’s good to be posting again! I was in an unexpected blogging break because we moved on short notice from. Iraq to the U.S. (Pittsburgh area). We aren’t fully settled in yet, and are still job hunting, hoping we find something soon so we know we can definitely stay in the area and start getting put together.
it’s been an absolute whirlwind of a month, with so many unknowns and unexpected changes, hopes and disappointments, sad goodbyes and happy hellos as we left our friends, family and community in Iraq, and have started making new connections and renewing old ones here in the U.S.
We are still praying so hard for the community we left behind in Erbil, and are so deified by the solidarity with which they have welcomed all the refugees that have come to the city from other places in Iraq. I think it’s going to take a long time to fully process everything that’s just happened (and still is happening as we try to keep getting settled on this end).
God was blessing us so much in Iraq; I’m excited to see what he has in store and how he blesses us as a family during this next part of our journey.
Maybe some of you have also experienced times when your life has been turned completely upside down by sudden moves or other events, but even if it hasn’t been anything major, I’m sure all of us have experienced changes in live and will keep experiencing them, so I thought I’d share a few of the things that have been helping us cope with change as a family. Coping with unexpected change is never easy, but keeping in mind that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and doing a few things to help yourself and your family perk up in the meantime can help a lot!
1. Hug your kids tight. Changes can rock their boat too, especially when family circumstances are involved. My kids are more on edge now than usual, because they still don’t fully understand why they can’t g back to their bedroom (our home in Iraq), or why they had to leave their toys behind. They feel the change just as much as we do, but don’t understand the reasons behind it. They need a lot of patience, extra attention, as much of a routine as possible, and tons of hugs to help them keep feeling secure.
2. Don’t forget to take a little time each night to relax with a cup of tea (or whatever helps you relax). Your worries won’t disappear, but relaxing a little can make it easier to think of other things (happy thoughts!) and to place your worries in God’s hands while you get a good night of sleep. He can handle them better than we can!
3. Accept help. When you’re swamped with waves, it’s OK that you can’t handle everything – that’s what help is for! We have been overwhelmed with kindness since we arrived. It doesn’t make our challenges disappear, it it does make them easier to face, and reminds us of how good God is, and how he works through the people around us. And then, whenever possible, pay it forward any help others as well. You have no clue how much what seems like a small act of kinds to you can mean to them.
4. Take time to be together as a family – eat together, play together, go out for walks. It can be so tempting to spend all the time focusing on what’s “wrong” and what you need to get done, but that usually doesn’t make anything happen more quickly – it just wears you and your family out more quickly. So yes, job hunt (or whatever you need to do) avidly, seriously and productively, but don’t let it take up ALL your time.
5. Pray. It’s easy to forget, but important to do. I truly believe that God has great things in store for each of us. Sometimes periods of change, stress or hardship are part of the road and are preparing us for what’s coming ahead, or simply letting us get closer to him and learn more about patience, compassion and other values. Prayer doesn’t always produce miraculous outcomes, but it does always make our life a little more grace-filled, and often gives us more perseverance while we wait, or greater insight into how God is working in our lives. No matter how you look at it, it’s worth it!