“This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it.
The process is not yet finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.”
It is one thing to have faith to leave family, friends, church, a support system, etc. It requires a whole other level of faith to do this to your children. Not many things grieve me like the idea of my children growing up without the everyday influence of their grandparents (including a godly great granny), aunts, and uncles. Taking my kids away from their beloved cousins, friends, and the only church they’ve ever known was not something we took lightly in making a decision to come to Ohio. You might be thinking, “hey, Ohio is only 6 1/2 hours away” but to us this feels like the other side of the earth compared to what we have enjoyed with extended family. Every family member not only lived within a five mile radius, but also attended our church. We did life, the dailies of life, with our family.
So why in the world would we take our kids away from such a good thing? We believe God called us to do it, and they won’t suffer because of His faithfulness to His Word. Jesus said in Mark 10: 29 Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
I recall having a conversation with my mother in law where I was expressing anxiety over taking my children away from all that was familiar, and I’ll never forget her unwavering faith for them. She, a grieving grandmother, was able to say without blinking an eye, “your children are going to be fine.” Debbie had relocated many times – not for church planting, but still in obedience to God’s will for their lives - and was able to say from past experience of God’s faithfulness to her own children that not only would they be fine, they would thrive.
Now, with almost a year under our belts I can tell you that my children are doing fine. In fact, they have made this transition much more easily than I have. They are loving our church. They have made many friends. They are well-loved by so many people here. And most importantly, they are experiencing in a unique way what it means to really give ourselves to the furtherance of the gospel.
I want to post a couple of more practical thoughts on relocating with kids. But let me just end with saying that if you considering relocating with little ones, put your faith in God that they will not just get through it, they grow and flourish through it.
As I type, my cyber-friend Tara is probably rushing around her house getting ready for a showing this evening at 5 pm (MST). Tara just got home yesterday from an extended time away. She has three young children and homeschools her oldest. Not only does she need to get her vacation laundry done, restock her pantry, and get her kids back to normal life, she has to get her house ready to be shown.
Tara’s husband has the privilege of leading a church plant in Arizona this summer and you can read about it on her blog right here. It is so exciting seeing the gospel go forth through the planting of a new church. I know Tara is excited about this…you can feel her enthusiasm in her testimony. And throughout her blog, it is evident that Tara loves the gospel, and loves sharing the gospel.
But today, in the intensity of getting a house ready for a showing, Tara is really living “for the sake of the gospel”. It’s in these moments that require such hidden and hard sacrifice that the power of the gospel is so profoundly displayed. It’s not just in being willing to go. It’s in the days that lead up to going (and the days after you get there). It’s how Tara’s husband can be released to do what God has called him to. It’s where “for the sake of the gospel” gets lived out in real life.
Please pray that Tara’s house sells. Pray that God will continue to give grace for her to serve her husband joyfully. Pray that she would sense God’s distinct pleasure as she does her part in the furtherance of the gospel.
Where yesterday I mentioned how comforting the ordinary rituals of domesticity were in the midst of so much change, today I’m going to write about a different side of the story that happened as time went on. It might go without saying, that this is my personal experience and I don’t want to freak any soon-to-be relo-chickies out or anything…this may not happen to you. But still, just for the sake of an account of my experience, for the sake of perhaps a heads up for others, and finally for the sake of you’re not alone if this is you, I’m going to share it.
Once the blur and novelty wore off, I found many things that were once second nature, all of a sudden much harder to do. I wasn’t curled up in a dark closet in the fetal position or anything. I just felt an over arching malaise. Sometimes it was hard to tell if I was physically tired, sad, or just plain lazy. Everything from getting myself dressed and presentable in the morning, to routine housework, or even just going out of the house felt very hard. As a result, my home was less tidy than usual, my day to day appearance more -eh hem- organic than usual, and I felt tempted to be isolated rather than enjoy fellowship with others.
What was it? Was I depressed? Was I mourning? Was I just being lazy and self indulgent? Perhaps all of these things. I don’t know, but what I do know is that God has used this season of my life to teach me greater dependence on Him. It isn’t often that we find ourselves in seasons of desperation just to do the mundane. I am learning the bitter-sweetness of such a lesson.
I still have my moments where ordinary life seems just harder to get motivated to do, but they are far more sporadic. Still, I hope that the lessons of desperate dependence on the Holy Spirit to do even just the menial tasks in life will continue to inform my days whether they are easy, or the other side of ordinary.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
You may have experienced this before. Your world gets turned upside down by something: a crisis, the birth of a baby, a long vacation, etc. And that morning you wake up at home for the first day of “back to normal, or new normal” you find perhaps unexpected solace in the ordinary rituals that make up your daily life.
It was a comfort to wake up in my new home, walk downstairs, brew the coffee, read my Bible, make breakfast for the kids, and put on a load of laundry just as I had for hundreds of mornings before. Those things that I have complained about so many times – the redundancy of housework, the hard work of homeschooling, the meal planning and preparation – were a steady rhythm in the midst of so much change.
What am I doing with my life here in Ohio? Mostly the same things I was doing in Maryland. God’s design for me as Jason’s helper (which for me looks like cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling) didn’t change when I moved. And though I’m not always conscious of the “sacredness” of the ordinary parts of life, being here helped me to love and cherish certain rituals, at least in the beginning when the rest of life was kind of crazy.
Do you have any experiences of finding unexpected comfort in the sacred ordinaries of life?
Later single years.
All of these seasons in my life have one thing in common: learning lessons of being not seeming. It seemed like I was a content single girl…until I graduated from college with no potential for a husband in sight. It seemed like I was unselfishly serving the Lord through various ministries…until I was sleep deprived doing the 24/7 duties of motherhood where no human eyes really could see. It seemed like I was a woman of faith, willing to leave it all for my husband’s ministry, but ultimately for the sake of the gospel…until I woke up in Ohio on a Saturday realizing that I would normally be at my mom’s with Karyn and Ab while my kids played all day with their cousins. Seeming isn’t being. Writing about it isn’t doing it. Talking about it isn’t applying it.
I want my faith to be genuine. I want my submission to be sincere and lived in daily life. I want my heart to warm every time I say, “for the sake of the gospel.” I don’t want it to become a catch phrase. God knows this. He put this desire to “be” not just “seem” in my heart. And He created a perfect set of circumstances to deepen my devotion to the Savior, to the gospel, to others. Part of the plan is to expose where I am lacking. This is painful, and humbling. But I am so grateful for it. Along with the lessons of “being” not “seeming” are the lessons of the perfect, genuine righteousness of Another. When I see so many areas that I thought I was further along in, but really I just seemed to be that way, I take great relief (when I remember to) in casting myself on the mercy and grace of my Savior. And I honestly say, “do whatever You must do to make it genuinely all about You and not me.” I want to truly be about His glory, not just seem like I am.
Where in life is God teaching you the lesson of being not seeming?
Okay, so after re-reading Izzy’s little assigned poem to memorize, and feeling sufficiently convicted – i took relief in the fact that the first line is wrong: True worth is never in my being anything but in Christ. So that led me to re-think this little rhyme.
True worth is in the only Being;
Who each day on earth gone by,
Perfectly obeyed even Seeing
The cross and the agony.
Not only did He heal men’s blindness,
Forgiving the fancies of youth,
The eternal King in His kindness,
Shows us He is the life, way, and truth.
Israel is memorizing this little rhyme in his Language Lessons this week. I find it rather convicting. I think I’ll memorize it with him .
True worth is in being, not seeming;
In doing each day that goes by
Some little good; not in the dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.
by Alice Cary