I’ve got twenty minutes to try to put something down before driving the kids to school, so hopefully this post will be at the very least coherent, if not inspiring.
First, a brief explanation of why I have still continued to struggle to write. One, I seem to have some sort of writer’s block. I’ve probably got sixty or seventy drafts, but as you can tell, I haven’t published a single post since last year. Secondly, I’m pretty sure that being a single parent (or any parent for that matter!) of young children, constitutes a sufficient distraction in itself. Couple that with ADHD, grieving, trying to keep my nose above water, and the continued attacks that our family still seems to be enduring, I’ve found it hard to write.
But I’ve WANTED to. Oh, how I’ve wanted to. Sharing our journey with you through this blog has been so much of an encouragement to me, a place for me to organize my own thoughts, and a blessing to be able to look back through as a sort of diary of the craziness of the last several years. I have so much I want to share. I also have a confession to make. Perhaps part of my not writing has been my own sin of pridefulness. I don’t know why, but it was much easier for me to ask for help when Kevin and I were fighting his cancer than it has been as “just” a single mom, struggling to get by with two little kiddos. I endured some small criticisms in the early weeks after Kevin died, and was shell shocked by how completely my world was turned upside down. I was adjusting to Kevin’s death, my own seeming death with him as his wife, and my new birth as a young widow, single mom, maybe even superhero. But deep down inside, I was hurt by those small criticisms and probably even began to internalize my own thoughts of judgment on single moms, and I somehow started to operate on the delusional idea that I would prove to everyone that I could do it on my own. And of course, I failed miserably.
But I’ve only got about 15 minutes left, I’ve blockaded myself in a room to avoid distractions, and the natives are getting restless, so my thoughts on pride and humility will have to wait for another day. Let’s just say, God is humbling me. Yet again. While continuing to be as faithful as He ever has been. God bless him. Can I say that? Anyway, you know what I mean.
So, some of you may have seen some pics or other comments bouncing around Facebook about Team Hill being on the west coast, and I’m here to tell you it’s true! Here’s the super abridged version.
After Kevin died, the kids and I stayed with some friends in California for a few months, and then made our way back to our house in Atlanta. We got there around Easter of 2014, and I’m pretty sure the kids subsisted on Easter Candy and Lucky Charms for that first week or so. Oh and we watched Frozen. A lot. I think I could write a very deep literary analysis of that film at this point.
We all slowly started to recover and adjust to life in Atlanta. The house was thrashed from you know, a tree falling through it and two and a half years of traveling the country to fight cancer. There was a lot of get home, drop everything, never get things properly put away, buy random crap because we can’t figure out where something is, race to the emergency room, get on another plane… well, you get the idea.
Oh yeah, and our house got infested with termites. And we got hit by a car. Again. And it took six months to get the kids’ health insurance thanks to lovely government bweauracrcy, during which I had to take Jude not one, but two times to the emergency room. I will be forever grateful to the good folks at Children’s hospital for writing off those two gigantic bills.
Slowly we worked towards finding a new normal in Atlanta, but we were struggling. After much, much, MUCH (and still continuing!) prayer, we followed God’s leading back to Los Angeles. What?! Kevin and I were trying to get the heck out of Los Angeles! We couldn’t afford to live there! And I DEFINITELY can’t afford to live there.
Okay eight minutes, sorry I get distracted easily.
Even so, God seemed to very clearly close doors for school options for Jude and Evie in Atlanta and seemed to be opening the door and calling us back to Village Christian School.
We took a trip out here over spring break last year, and the cover of the church bulletin where we attended that first Sunday proclaimed, “Come Home.” My first thought was, it doesn’t get any clearer than that does it? But then I of courses started to make my brain hurt by thinking, wait does that mean God wants us to come BACK home to Atlanta? Where is our home? What is home? How can I feel at home anywhere without Kevin, my partner, my best friend, my helpmate? I thought and prayed a lot that week and wrote a LOT of pro and con lists. By the end of the week, I’d pretty much convinced myself that, with no clear calling from God in either direction, Atlanta or Los Angeles, we should do what was most wise, which was clearly to stay put in Atlanta. I mean, we bought a house in the hood at the bottom of the market folks. That’s pretty much the only reason I can survive on widow’s benefits (long story, but our life insurance got cancelled bc Kevin got diagnosed with cancer two weeks after we got it…be ye not so stupid… GET LIFE INSURANCE STAT!) Anyway, I was totally sure that this trip was just going to be a nice visit with dear friends, but that we would be heading back to Atlanta and just do our best to figure out something about school there.
Then we walked onto the Village Christian School campus. Now keep in mind that Kevin attended Village from 1st through 12th grade. He worked there in the technology department for several years before we moved to Atlanta. And I worked there as well as a bus driver. As I walked with the kids across this beautiful wooded campus, nestled against the protective bosom of the Los Angeles mountains, I felt safe, I felt at peace, I felt like I was home. Literally EVERYone knew us. They knew and loved Kevin and walked with our family through this journey. Many folks on campus had known Kevin for longer than I did. The children kept turning to me in amazement, as one person after another came over to smother us with hugs and kisses and words of love and encouragement. I think my kids were starting to think that Daddy was some kind of celebrity or something.
We have worked like the dickens to get everything ready to come out here for the school year, and we have made a HUGE leap of faith, especially financially. But God has been so so faithful, and from the moment we got off a plane a week ago, He has given me one sign after another of affirmation that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
The kids had their first day at Village on Monday. Jude is in kindergarten with Dear Mrs. Vegas, who was so glad we’d made it out and told me that she’d been praying so hard for us that we’d get here safely. And boy we needed those prayers, there is still so much left to be done in Atlanta to get the house ready to rent (we’re going to try to do airbnb, so keep the Team Hill Fortress of Solitude in mind if you’re ever making your way to Atlanta). Evie is in Junior Kindergarten with the amazing Mrs. Donnelly. Evie has been over the moon excited to come and go to real school and has been writing letters to Mrs. Donnelly all summer long.
Okay, I’m out of time! But please pray pray pray for us. Pray for me that I can continue writing and sharing. Pray for the Lord’s continued provision for energy and health for me and the kids and that I will be wise with our finances and budget. Pray as we move into an apartment this afternoon (I found a place on Monday, and it was SO divine provision!) We will be living in Montrose, and the apartment has a pool, so everyone is invited over once we’re settled! Fair warning though, you may be sitting on the floor because I’ll be giving all my money to rent and school tuition, but who needs couches anyway? I DO need a bed though, so if anyone has any leads on something that seems like it would be healthy for my back (After two car accidents I’m not in awesome shape, ugh!) and that would be from a known source… google has me totally freaked out about bedbugs! That may be the one thing I splurge on and buy new. But I know that I need to get back to asking and sharing my needs, because maybe one of you just bought a brand new bed that you hate and were just waiting for Rachel Hill to reach out and ask you for it. We pretty much came out here with nothing, as we’ll be renting our house in Atlanta furnished. But other than a bed, I can get by and slowly furnish the place. That’s the lease of my worries.
We continue to be attacked, all kinds of random things, and I am choosing to believe that Satan is running scared and trying to get me down. I am choosing to take that as further confirmation that we are on the right path. I got a random parking ticket for not turning my wheels when parked on a hill. I am having horrible pain in my mouth and think I’m going to need ANOTHER root canal (seriously I’ve spent so much of my savings last year just on dental work!) Our car took a week longer than it was supposed to to get shipped out here. And it continues. But I believe I’m starting to be able to discern, at least some of the time, when these things are attacks, and when they are God closing a door. At the same time that I just feel we are getting picked on, I feel God’s arms close around us, guiding us through the minefield, making a way.
Okay I’ve got to get these kids to school. I will try to write again SOON, I promise!