The Goodbye Challenge

Our son shed his first tears last week regarding our impending move. I knew it was coming, he’s been talking about “next year” increasingly, and the unanswered questions were hanging above our heads.

On the way to school, I reminded the boys that they didn’t need to explain anything to their teachers, that we’d take care of it. The review mirror revealed a face that was fighting to stay stoic. “What’s up Bud?” I asked. “Are you feeling sad?”

After gathering himself, he gave me the best answer I could have hoped for. “I’m in between. I don’t want to stay, but I don’t want to go.”

I understood exactly what he was saying. Any transition can be hard. For such a young person to have two significant moves within four years was asking a lot as a parent. The difference between my perspective and that of my son was that I knew more of the story. It’s hard to leave the past, regardless of how bad it is, for an unknown future. 

The Bible is full of God calling people to move before the details were known. Hebrews 11:1-3; 8-10 points to the faith that was needed.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; or he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

One thing I know about God is that the longer I walk with him, the more of his character I see revealed in my life circumstances. The journey God has called our family to walk has been similar the journey others have taken before us. God understands our fears and concerns. He isn’t angry about our emotions, but just like Abraham, he is calling us to deeper faith by asking us to obey him.

As much as I ache for our sons to have to move from their home again, leave their friends again, and start over…again, I also know that they are going to have an amazing time in our new community. They will be able to have new experiences they wouldn’t have where we currently live. They will have a different relationship with family than they currently do because we will be so much closer in proximity.

The unknowns will still exist after this move is complete. How long will we stay? Who will our friends be? How will our ministry unfold? How will God reveal himself to us?

Experience has taught me that God’s plan will become clear when he is ready for us to see it. Experience has also taught me that God will carry us closely in our transition. Romans 8:27-28 are the words of the apostle Paul. Paul was also called to step out in faith. His reminder to Christians still is true for us today.

and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

I’m so excited to see all the good God has in store for my sons through this transition. I know that as they walk forward through their fears, they are building memories of experiences where God carried them through hard times. There are many things that coach’s kids experience that can feel unfair. My prayer is that this journey will be one my sons remember because what they don’t know yet is that as the release a mediocre past an amazing present and future that God has orchestrated for them is there for the taking and that is a life lesson they can carry with them.

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