Well, maybe not exactly, but the territory sure looks familiar.
I remember Beth Moore reminding us in one of her studies (I don't' remember which one because I've done so many in the last 5 years!) that if the same issue keeps coming up in your life, then God isn't finished with you in that area. He will (graciously) keep bringing it to the forefront so you can move out of your "desert"...pass the test, learn the lesson, be healed... whatever it is that still needs doing in your soul.
She also teaches in her Daniel study, which I'm currently in the middle of, that we also can find ourselves back in familiar territory because the Enemy loves to send us right back into our areas of captivity, and he is wily enough to attack those areas in our lives that are inconsistent, weak, and not well-protected by our spiritual armor. (Ooh, I hate him, by the way!)
Evidently God decided now would be a good time to give me a retest on some things, and/or my armor has just a few holes that the Devil is trying to poke through....
First, it feels like our family life is in a similar place to nearly a decade ago. I'm adjusting anew to the role of SAHM to an infant with little "freedom" or participation in life outside of my own 4 walls. Steve is busy and somewhat stressed at work. Our finances are stretched to the max. All of these issues characterized our early years of marriage and parenting. Somehow 15 years and 4 kids later, we're right back there. (Praise God for those areas in which He's already changed and grown us so we don't repeat ALL of the same mistakes this time!)
Another area in which I feel like I'm just driving around the cul-de-sac over and over on is in one significant relationship in my life and the way I often respond in and to it. Again, I have to thank God for the things He already has healed and changed, because not all that long ago my emotions were in constant turmoil, my heart very seldom was right toward this person, and all of it was trickling down into my immediate family relationships. God has performed great things in my life regarding this relationship. But just lately, it seems that the condition of my heart toward this person is coming to the forefront once again, because I can't leave an interaction with this person without feeling irritated or agitated or just plain YUCKY.
Finally, I must have made the mistake of getting mentally lazy and thinking things were going well with our kids, because whenever I do, some ugly issue that we have to discipline our kids over comes up. And often, that points back to some failing of mine/ours in the way we've trained them so far. It can easily stir up in me discouragement, resentment, shame, guilt... all sorts of emotions that certainly don't aid in parenting well and don't reveal a strong faith in God when it comes to my role as a mom.
(You wouldn't think there is an emotionally healthy bone in my body reading this marathon-length post, would you? But that's why this is my blog... if you didn't read my early warnings about the nature of this blog, you may want to do so now.) Anyway....
I have to ask myself what God is trying to further redeem in me, and how the Enemy is trying to drag me back into old patterns. I think I'm seeing the answer to that in some small ways, but I, of course, try to analyze it with my own little human mind. I have to remember that God's ways are not my ways and be aware that the Devil is tricky, deceitful, and just plain evil, so it is likely much deeper than first glance might suggest.
Really, I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this return journey, because before Tori was born, I felt like God told me through scripture He was going to use this season in my life to prune me. I'm so thankful that He also promised that the pruning was for the purpose of bringing greater beauty. I'm not exactly sure what that means, and I'm quite certain that we're still in the cutting back stage of pruning and not in the beautiful new growth stage yet, but I'm holding on to that promise. I may not ever fully know how God's purpose will play out, but the one thing I know for sure is that I don't want to miss His purposes and I don't feel like I'm "getting it" yet.
What struck me about this whole idea of ending up back where you started is this thought: When I'm driving, if I drive the same route repeatedly, after a while I don't even notice where I am. I drive out of habit and sometimes end up at my location with no memory of passing the landmarks along the way.
I wonder if that isn't also true of my spiritual journey; am I somehow missing the "signs" along the way because the road is so comfortable and familiar that I'm not fully aware of where I am and where I'm headed? Am I running on autopilot and missing some turnoffs or even u-turns that God wants me to take? I'm thinking if that's true, I'll just end up coming right back to this same place again.
I've probably given the wrong impression. It's not that where I am now is horrible, or even that it's a bad place to be. I already have a beautiful life in so many ways, and God has been faithful and good. But God has promised even more. More pruning. More growth. More beauty. And that's the destination I want to be moving toward.