Moving around a lot can be hard because some of what you leave is not something you could take with you. Those are things like your best friend, your favorite teacher, the creek where you learned to swim, the nice lady at the candy store down the street (she ALWAYS gave away candy and didn’t mind if the neighborhood kids played in the back of the store. Monopoly games could go on for days.) There were trails through the woods down to the creek where you used to ride bikes or those little motor cycles – Honda 50s I think they were.
Our family moved around because of my daddy’s job. I should say because of his “calling”. Daddy was a preacher whose ministry seemed to be most effective in the smaller rural church setting. He went where he felt God wanted him to go and he stayed until he felt God calling him somewhere else. He was a happy man most of the time; my memories are mostly about his laughter, his sense of humor, his easy way with people and the way he let you know you were loved. He seemed to feel at home wherever he was. I think he must have been really fond of fried chicken too, because that is what everyone wanted to feed us when we were invited over for Sunday lunch. He liked his tea “southern sweet” and his okra extra crispy – both preferences my mom tried to break him from but never quite succeeded.
He was a blessed man. Why? He was blessed because he didn’t try to fight against God’s leadership to hold on to something or someone else. He didn’t plead or beg for just a few more years in one place before we went to the next. He didn’t cry himself to sleep at night when it became clear another move was coming. After all he did have me for that. (Hey, it was after my sophomore year in high school!) And though I kicked against the idea that time, I watched my daddy’s resolution and his steadiness and yes his happiness. And I learned.
There are some good things about moving frequently. Starting over with people who don’t know you can be to your advantage. The people in the new town won’t know about the time you were two and your big brothers were supposed to be watching you and you ended up crying on the steps of the school house down the road. They won’t know the book mobile lady rescued you and took you home to the intense embarrassment of your brothers and the wrath of the MOTHER. They won’t know about all the times you went across the street to play with a friend all by yourself at the mature age of four and without the MOTHER knowing you had that in mind. (I must say my mom learned fast. If she looked around and I wasn’t’ there, she knew where to look.) They won’t remember the time you and your friends got in big trouble for giggling in church while holding down the back pew. WHY IS EVERYTHING SO MUCH FUNNIER WHEN YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LAUGH?!!
I learned another very valuable lesson. I learned Who is in control. I learned how it feels to be cared for even when no one else really knows me. I learned (very deep sigh here) that I don’t always know what is best for me and that God does indeed have a plan. Learning to always trust in that plan is a lifelong endeavor – especially since I can’t predict the future. I don’t know how to let go very well. I struggle with a constant desire to maintain control and have feelings of frustration when I can’t. And so, I come before my heavenly Father to say this:
I don’t know where our church family will end up. I don’t know who will go, who will stay and who will be drawn in for a fresh start in their lives. I only know that you can be trusted and that I need to listen for your voice leading me as you have led so many before. You have proven your love for us over and over! As you led your children out of slavery into the Promised Land, as you led David to the throne, Ester to the palace, John to the wilderness and Jesus to the cross, Lord lead us now. We are in this place for “such a time as this”. Amen.
Note: If you recognize some of these stories we might have known each other! I’d love to hear from you. (hints: Hopewell, Flint Hill, Spring Creek)