caught off guard


I’m still caught off guard at times.

A memory will rise to the surface, seemingly out of nowhere, bringing with it fears and doubts and insecurities and tears. I question everything, wondering about hidden motives and looking for anything I missed the first the time around. There isn’t anger—not really. There is distrust. There is hurt. There is grief. But no anger. At least not toward anyone other than myself. Feelings of foolishness spiral into “How could I be so stupid?”  Inevitably, as the emotional dust settles, I’m left with a deep missing of all the people who were once my whole life who are no longer even a part of it. I hunt for pictures, and sit mesmerized by how grown up my nephew is. By how tall my honorary nieces and nephews of old have become—tall not only with stature but with personality and vivaciousness. Smiles mix in with the sadness, and I take a deep breath…


house christmas

I’m still caught off guard at times.

I walk through the arched doorways of my home, past the wainscoting in the living room, and all I can do is shake my head. Moving about the beautiful kitchen, shuffling around the mess on my office desk, sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee… over and over again, it hits me: This is my now-life. This is my new life. And I smile—the kind of smile that erupts from deep down inside, that sacred place for which there are no words. I can’t believe I get to live here. That I once again have a place that looks like me and feels like me. That I once again have a home. Because as much as I know that home isn’t about a house, I’ve discovered there’s something uniquely incomparable about a four-wall refuge. It’s anchoring, and rooting, and settling in all the best ways. And the past 6 months of living life unpacked have been better for my heart than I ever anticipated.


I’m still caught off guard at times.

And I’m learning to give thanks in it all…

Would you share some of your own highs and lows? 
What are things that have caught you off guard lately—for better and for worse?


21 Responses to “caught off guard”
  1. Today is 12 years since my nephew passed from SIDS. 3 and a half months wasn’t near enough time. Every year it catches me off guard. And every year it’s different. One moment that changed the entire course of my life. The things that used to matter are of no importance any longer. The things I took for granted I never want to overlook again.

    And it’s all still there, but it is what has brought me here. And here is good most days.

  2. Danielle says:

    Happy with you, friend, that you have a home for your heart, memories and memories yet to be made. xo

  3. Melissa says:

    My spiritual mentor went to be with Jesus in September. I’m still caught off guard when she comes to mind and grief hits me all over again. It is like a punch to the gut that I won’t get to talk to her again this side of eternity.

    I’m still caught off guard when this church family continually pulls me in and reminds me that I belong and that I am loved for who I am.

  4. brandie says:

    I fly through my days, caught up in the new life being created and the details of managing the needs of three humans. for the most part, I am free and experience peace & joy. but then there are moments when the fear creeps up (what am I even doing? and how will this all work out?!) or the hurt floods me or the insecurity rises up again. and I still have anger, at times, and tiny waves of grief. I also have the bizarre experience of spending a bit of time with men and wondering what in the world it means to get to know another man – even at the utmost surface level. my life just feels so very weird; I don’t really fit in any one spot very well. and yet, I am also somehow more “me” than ever…. weird is really the only word for it :)

    on another note, your home looks like my dream house :) I love keeping up with you via your blog and wish you a very lovely Thanksgiving! blessings upon you, dear one.

  5. terri poss says:

    this makes my heart smile for so many reasons! love you, friend!

  6. Amy Young says:

    I’ve been caught off guard by how much I enjoy America. After such a long time in China, I don’t like thinking that I’ll enjoy it :) … that’s pride. I like to be “different”

    But the truth is, America’s not all bad. Hehehe. Sometimes it’s nice to be caught off guard.

  7. It’s been years since my divorce and I’m happily remarried. Yet there are moments when I interact with the father of my children that I catch a glimpse of the normal that could-have-been and it causes grief. There are so many layers to grieve when marriage-ties are broken. It completely catches me off guard, and makes me uncomfortable, so I avoid it.

  8. Dear Alece-
    What a lovely home you are at, and its easy to see how wonderful it must feel to “walk through the doors” and know, this is your place of comfort and peace.

    I wanted to wish you a peace-filled Thanksgiving. Please know I also pass this wish on to your Mom and all the family. Its been such a true blessing to meet your Mom via the Blog world.. She is an amazing Warrior for The Lord and yet has a gentle spirit about her. Know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.. Blessings, Martha

  9. Faith says:

    Your home looks so nice and cozy and welcoming!! I would love to see more pics! And I’m very happy you now have a welcoming home :-)
    I need your address! It’s Christmas card time :-)


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  1. […] Grit & Glory: I adore Alece, her heart, her story, the adventure she’s been on since she’s returned from Africa. This post is about home, grief, and joy. […]

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