This blog was not born out of a defining moment in my life or my husband’s life; It was born when we made an intentional decision to turn our tragedy into Our Moments Defined.
I know many of you have done the same. Tragedy and heartache have come your way, but you’ve sought the Father and have redefined those moments.
Hannah and I have gotten to know each other through a book launch team we were a part of. I love her story today because it doesn’t wrap everything up neatly into a bow. She still doesn’t understand her trial, but she knows God is faithful; she is choosing to trust his plan, rather than be defeated by the hard times.
It was the kind of moment that would’ve been so perfect if our lives hadn’t just imploded.
We were standing in front of a gelateria in a picturesque Tuscan town. The late afternoon sun streamed through the buildings, and the street was teeming with life and noise. I thought about all the movies that had been filmed there. As I stepped outside of my shock and grief and took in this sun-drenched street scene, I realized how happy I would’ve been to stand here under different circumstances.
I remember my husband standing there, reeling from the news we’d just received. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the thought of everything he’d given up for my dream, the one that had become our dream during our 15 years together. He didn’t have to be here. It would have been so easy for him to point a finger at me, to remind me how much my dream had cost us.
In that moment, I loved him more than I ever had. Honestly, if he hadn’t been there I would have melted into a puddle on the street in front of the gelateria and let grief overtake me. Because he was there, and because he opened his arms to me, we held each other instead. I offered to buy him a gelato, my treat. I remember saying something clever about how we had just won an all-expense paid 90-day tour of Italy.
While we ate the gelato, we chatted about how we would make it work, what we would tell the kids, what God was up to. The conversation sounded light but felt almost unspeakably heavy at the same time. What do you say when your leap of faith ends in a crash landing? What do you say when you find yourself suddenly homeless and unemployed in a foreign country?
Weeks earlier we had sold our house and our possessions and moved our family of seven to Italy to live as missionaries. Days after we arrived, we learned that our employer hadn’t followed the correct procedure for hiring a foreigner. That meant there was no way we could legally work in Italy, or stay beyond the 90 days allotted for tourists. We had nothing to go back to in the US, no way to stay in Italy, and no way to do the work we felt sure God had called us to.
I remember being keenly aware of how precarious our story was in this moment, especially the moral. It would be so easy to make it a cautionary tale against stepping out in faith, and people have done exactly that. But in that moment, we had a decision to make. We had to choose what to believe about the kind of God who would do this to us, and what to believe about ourselves as his children.
Two years and three countries later, we still don’t know the moral of this story, because God is still writing it. And we still don’t know what the new normal will look like, or where we’ll be when we find it. But after we finished the gelato we held hands and walked toward the rest of our lives. We chose to keep putting our arms around each other and keep embracing the uncertainty of life in God.
I love one man, five kids, and the crazy story God is writing in our lives – even more than palm trees, ancient ruins, and deepest dark chocolate. I equip women to live with soul-deep God confidence. I write, speak, coach, create, and sing my guts out at hannahkallio.org.