As our home folds into cardboard boxes yet again, marking our eighth major move in 8 years, my eyes fill with tears- in saying goodbye, and yet with joy at new beginnings.
Where I have once been resentful, angry at God and filled with grief at this pilgrimage of seeking one shelter after another in a journey to be obedient to His will at every season, I am now filled with gratitude and awe. After all, God has, surprisingly (ha) never shortchanged us.
Each transition has been challenging, yet also filled with stories marked by divine fingerprints.
Recently, as we prepare to move yet again to a new neighborhood, I was triggered by an acquaintance’s innocent question, “Are you already putting playdate appointments into your calendar? Haha!”
My eyes soured with tears, stung by her indifference, acutely feeling the gap between this pilgrimage and the normal road we could have taken. The fact is, as a missionary family who has kept moving, who keeps moving, whether locally or cross-continentally, the constant rebuilding and fragmenting, piecing together and falling apart of a sense of community has become real. As a mother now, I dread seeing my daughters go through the same. Already, my nearly-four year old daughter asks me every day, “Mummy, I will miss my friends here. Will I have new friends at the new home? I will miss E so much.”
Yet, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness.
Just three months ago, after a painful incident with the Smiggle club, I prayed desperately to God for a friend who would love on Sarah-Faith, wholeheartedly, purely, simply. Less than two weeks later, a new boy, all of five years of age, from France had moved into the neighborhood. Their chemistry was combustible. They became best friends. They’d go to their balconies to spy on each other, and call out to each other from the ground floor to ask to play. God was faithful.
I am reminded of the many times we had felt alone in our move, and God always sent angels to offer their help to us- to drive a car to us, to send our children clothes, shoes, beds, things with better quality that we dared imagine.
I remember when we first moved to Baltimore for me to embark on a Masters of Public Health, we had hardly any clothes for Sarah-Faith and she slept in a playpen which was sagging underneath her growing weight. As we drove in to unpack our U-haul, a large man living across the road literally walked over as we parked, offering to help us unload. Over the week, he showed up with bags of clothes fitting SF’s age gap exactly, and gave us an $800-crib from Toys R Us in mint condition.
God never fails.
Yes, we have struggled, we have gone without. But I am also learning, that the gap between hunger and satiety is the perfect petri dish for faith to grow.
Now that we have to go, my heart aches with a lifetime of hellos and goodbyes we will eventually have to make.
As we take down our current home and put up a new one, I know in yet another year or so, we will do the same all over again, to move to Canada to say goodbye to all of Cliff’s circle of friends and family, and then, God-willing, to the field, hopefully in a developing country.
It is why we have chosen to homeschool. It is why we choose to keep discarding things, to keep our lives simple, lightweight, unencumbered. And these, in their own special ways, are blessings amidst the suffering. It is the joy God gives us knowing His sufferings are worth enduring and worth every ounce of the heavenly reward yet unseen.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”- Romans 5:3-5
“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”- 1 Peter 4:13 ESV
In many ways, I am beginning to understand the alienation Jesus might have felt on earth, even before his public ministry. He was from another world, and no one would ever understand him.
Even now, people ask us constantly when we will send our children to school, why we don’t do this and that, and I have grown weary of answering, smiling only and walking on.
We are trusting, that even as we move, God may connect us with new families, children, friends to play with in our new community. If you would like to connect, as a friend or playmate to us, please feel free to drop a line to say hello. We’d love to meet you. <3