It’s all starting to happen at once and I find myself grieving.
Friends of ours are moving to Tampa this weekend and yesterday was the last day Grace and her little buddy were able to play together. Just this week I sat next to this friend, one I don’t even hang out with much, and we had the best conversation. We related so much to one another, being in such a similar phase of life.
It made me sad realizing that we probably won’t talk like that at all anymore – knowing how bad I am at keeping in touch with people after they move away.
We have other family who just found out they are moving out of state this summer. They’ve been talking about the possibility for a while, but now it’s really happening.
Both of these changes make make me skip ahead and think about us moving…to a place we don’t even know. The time we have left here feels like sand slipping through an hourglass, my heart quickening with each grain that slips by.
I want to hold on tighter. I feel greedy about my time here and my experiences and relationships. Instead of being open-handed and receiving what God has for me, I want to be selfish with what I have left.
On top of these changes, Andy’s school schedule has really ramped up over the past month. It’s going to intensify even more over the summer and fall as he takes exams and travels for some of his rotations. His travels will take him to FL and NC. Each of those spots have military hospitals where he could potentially do his residency.
It will be good for him to gain experience, get his foot in the door, and get the lay of the land. Although we don’t ultimately have a say in where we end up, it would be nice to get a feeling for some of the options as we prepare to uproot our Michigan life and head out to a whole new land. It would probably be good for me and the kids to travel with him for at least part of the time. Plus, it’s really hard on all of us to be away from Andy for so long. This month has really shown that.
But then the grip on my life here begins to tighten and I don’t want to miss a second of what is here for me.
I’ve got to really pray for wisdom and discernment and then trust God to guide me and to give me the grace to obey him, even if it’s really hard.
As I’ve been pondering all of this, it strikes me how much we want comfort.
Well, at least how much I do.
I want my life to be trouble-free, comfortable, and progressing up and to the right, as if life is measured on some imaginary graph.
But are comfort and “progress” what truly satisfy our souls?
I don’t think so.
I think it’s struggle and pain and downward mobility.
Try writing a best selling book featuring those goals. Ha! America would laugh in your face.
But God wouldn’t.
Jesus was the epitome of downward mobility. He left the riches and glory of His seat at the right hand of the God of the Universe to become a lowly baby. He gave up everything that we might become heirs of everything – HIS inheritance.
The beauty of that makes me want to weep.
Yet I live day-in-and-day-out in my little suburban bungalow striving for a comfortable, pain-free, up-and-to-the-right kind of life.
I pursue this for myself and I pursue it for each one of my children.
That’s why I monitor every minute of screen time and do complex math to make sure they’re eating the proper ratio of healthy foods. That’s why I “couldn’t possibly send them to our local elementary school” and why I want them to have good manners, clean teeth, obedient hearts and trimmed fingernails.
I want them to be shiny little success minions if I’m brutally honest with myself.
And for what?
So that they too can experience self-righteousness, entitlement, boredom, and overindulgence?
Am I really doing them any favors?
Dr. Robert Coles, a Pulitzer Prize winning psychiatrist, has this to say about an alternative kind of life:
There is a worldview which says that anxiety, pain, and fear are part of what life is meant to be, that God himself assumed such a life, that he lived under continual anxiety, pain, and fear, and ended up as a common criminal strung up on a cross and killed. Now, if you take that kind of existence as a very important one and as a model of sorts, then you’re going to have a difficult time becoming as “successful” as you may have been told you ought to be if you come from a middle-class family. You have a moral dilemma.
The dilemma becomes, “Do I want to seek after all that the world deems worthy? Or do I want to pick up my cross and follow Christ, even if it looks backwards to the world at large?”
What does that downward mobility even look like in my suburban stay-at-home-mom world?
I know it means letting go of the fear of change. Letting go of the fear of those who aren’t like me. Embracing risk in the relationships I have and embracing risk even more, to develop new relationships.
I think it means re-evaluating what I’m trying to make happen in each of my kids. To be less worried about their grain intake and more concerned that their little souls are being fed the truth about who God is and how majestic His kingdom is. How they were each specially made to carry out a purpose in that kingdom and how that starts now. That they can play a part in bringing Heaven to earth.
Even in small moments.
I also want to re-evaluate what I’m trying to make happen in my own life. I’m so worried about what I should be doing every minute of the day, but it’s always temporal things. I want to be more caught up in eternal things.
Lord give me the grace to lean into all this and not shy away from it…