manna from heaven. just enough. just in time.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat. This is the thing which the LORD has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’” Then the children of Israel did so and gathered, some more, some less. So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack. Every man had gathered according to each one’s need. And Moses said, “Let no one leave any of it till morning.” Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them. So they gathered it every morning, every man according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted.

Exodus 16:15-21

Let’s stick to the facts:

Fact: My mother is purchasing a house in Arkansas.
Fact: She has asked my father for a divorce.
Fact: She is moving to Arkansas.
Fact: Neither the divorce or the move to Arkansas are a secret.

As empty nesters, my parent’s lifestyles are largely incompatible and have been for some time. I can’t explain without compromising my parent’s privacy, so lets just say the divorce is probably a good thing in the long run. I understand the divorce. I can accept the divorce.

So what’s my problem?

I don’t understand the moving so far away. I’m working on it. From what I do understand, a few years ago, my mother reconnected with someone at a high school class reunion and has stayed in touch. He and his wife live in Arkansas. For over a year, my mom expressed her interest in moving to Arkansas and wanted my father to move with her. He didn’t want to move that far away from his family and friends and said no. He didn’t change his mind. Neither did she. So he is staying. She is leaving.

During my mother’s last trip to visit her friends, she bought a house. When she came home she told my father she wanted a divorce and that she was moving to Arkansas. She’s moving to a place that is two full days drive away. Two days there. Two days back. Considering we usually get about 7 days vacation at a time, that’s four days in the car for three days there. That’s not reasonable for us. The plane fare for four people isn’t something we can afford either. Over a year ago she asked me, “Would you come visit me if I moved to Arkansas?” I said, “Well, if you look at how often we’ve been able to visit Tom’s parents over the last 17 years, I would have to say, probably not, Mom. Arkansas is twice as far away.”

My in-laws live about 8 hours away, along with my husband’s grandmother, two of my husband’s sisters, their husbands and (total) four kids. We can leave Orlando in the evening after my husband gets off work, travel 4 hours to Valdosta, stay in a hotel overnight and arrive at my sister-in-law’s house around lunch time on our first official day of vacation! Then we get to visit 11 people for almost 6 days! And the cousins are the high point for the kids. The cousins and their dogs. LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of laughter! So, we do go to Georgia to visit, but never more than once a year. Some years we don’t make it at all. My husband’s family have never lived in the same city as us. He left home to come to Orlando for college. Finished college, married me and never went back home. So my kids have never experienced the loss of someone moving away before. They don’t know yet. They will not understand why she’s leaving. My 7 year old daughter is not going to understand why Mamaw is moving away. I can hear her now. She’s a smart kid. No matter what reason I give her for Mamaw moving away, she will say, “But Pappy’s staying here.”

And while I’m okay with the concept of my parents divorce, the process has proven to be stressful. I spent the morning yesterday with my dad, at an attorney’s office, reviewing his options and the settlement agreement my mother has drafted. A few phone calls with my dad and mother throughout the day. Late into the night, typing up the attorney’s notes for my mother.

The result? The most stressful day I’ve lived through in years. This is what my dad must be dealing with every day. I had no idea. He doesn’t like to “bother you girls with this stuff” as he said yesterday. I can’t imagine living through another day like yesterday. It was emotionally exhausting. I can’t imagine my dad living through every day like that until this whole thing is over. Every conversation is about the many, many, many details of splitting of debts and assets. It’s exhausting. I can’t do it. I could barely do one day. The divorce settlement needs to be signed already.

My mother is leaving. We can’t change it. We can only let her go. But the time between now and then is proving to be . . . stressful. And sad.

My pastor’s wife invited me to a women’s circle at church on Wednesday evening. I’m a member of another circle, but both kids were in Wednesday night programs, so I had the time. I arrived a few minutes late, after the devotion, but Sharon asked that the Bible used for the devotion be passed down the table to me. While the other ladies were discussing Breakfast with Santa and other circle news, their words became background noise as I read Exodus 16:15-21.

Thank you Sharon, for reminding me that God will provide just what I need, just when I need it. At the end of the day, when the manna is melted and I’m at the end of my ability to cope, I can go to bed with the assurance that the next day, He will provide again. Just what I need.

“If this is a blessing, it is certainly very well disguised.”
Winston Churchill

Posted by Julie Stiles Mills at 12/06/2007 11:45:00 PM  

2 comments:

Julie, I'm very sorry for this loss and grief to your family. I am grateful along with you at how God's word provided just the right feeding of His truth at just the right time. I will pray and believe with you that He is working out His own wise purpose in your life even as you try to understand what is happening in the lives of those around you. May you know His peace and comfort.

Elle said...
Sunday, December 16, 2007 1:01:00 PM  

Julie, I'm new to your blog but wanted to extend my offering of prayers during this most difficult time in your life. A girl needs her mama... but I don't think your mama realizes this... obviously. I will pray for her to have a change of heart, either before she leaves or after she gets to her new place. Perhaps she will be able to come and visit you more than either one of you think at this time.

It's still a hard pill to swallow... the divorce *and* your mama moving.

I will pray! ((((((()))))))

God bless you~ Pearl

(NIV) said...
Saturday, January 05, 2008 12:36:00 AM  

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