Permanent: Lasting or continuing for a very long time or forever: not temporary or changing: continuing or enduring without fundamental or marked change.
As I was praying this morning, I thought about where God is going to lead us and how I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for such a big change. This new adventure of ours, is scarier than our recent one - selling our home and traveling 40 states in 8 months in a minivan. Why? Because it’s committing to something permanent, which means to invest in a place, its people and to make something unknown known.
What is this new adventure? My husband is looking for a new pastoral job, which could mean moving out of Washington State. A new community. A new everything.
I’ve never been too afraid of commitment. If I know something is good for me or others, I do it. If I’m passionate about something, I’m all in. But since our whole lives could change, I’m starting to see what it is I’m feeling – the weight of commitment...mixed with the anxiety of any change.
This future of ours is a lot different than the way we have been living life for almost 10 months (moving from place to place daily or weekly), but it’s what we’ve done before, and maybe that’s why it’s scary. To know that when you serve in ministry, you will be heartbroken, backstabbed, and you will have lots of unrealistic expectations on you. You will pour out your heart and sometimes get little in return, and you feel lonely at times. But you also love fully and get to see God do awesome stuff in people’s lives. You get to share in their sorrows and joys, you join them in prayer and community. You get to be a blessing and be blessed… And that outweighs the struggles because in the end, every person matters and we are all in this together.
I know wherever God calls us, He will provide for us. That means that once we do find our new church and city/state home, we will embrace it with joy because we love people and the opportunity to work and serve alongside others. …But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. It will be one more area to put all our trust in God as we transition. After that, we trust daily for Him to use us as He wants and to provide for our emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs.
A new commitment means remembering the dreams that died in this city. I still fight to trust people with my heart and wonder what a true friend is after we were betrayed by people in our church and a split happened. This is the life for many pastors and their wives. I loved that community dearly and gave my everything into it. Committing to another church means putting my heart out there again (a little more worn and wise I should think), and waiting for the surprises of God to intervene in our lives. It means embracing a community and feeling fulfilled as we serve whole heartedly with all our strengths and weaknesses, trusting Him to use us and give us what we need.
Commitment is like a vow. It’s a promise to yourself and others to invest in something and not give up. That’s a hard thing for people when we're either stretched thin or have been wounded by trust broken in relationships. But to live in the opposite means no return in investment because you haven’t invested, and I can’t live like that. We were created to need, support and help each other. We were made to be the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth. He wants to use our brokenness and our talents. If I know that, then I can commit to Him and His work. He’ll take care of the rest.
Every time there is this transition, my insides scream, “I don’t think I can take this again - I want to be settled!”
We recently left the place we have called home for 4 weeks – the longest place the 4 of us have stayed put in 9 months.
That’s the price that is to be paid when you sell your house after your husband’s job is dissolved and go on an 8 month road trip; when you get home, you need a job and a place to live.
Many women tell me they could never do what I did recently, traveling from place to place each day for 8 months, with so many changes in environment. I had wondered if God wired me different, but I know now it’s because it’s what we committed too and I knew it wouldn’t be forever. But it feels like it now…Because we’re home and still moving from place to place.
There's also a lot of waiting during this time. I wait to hear news from my hip surgeon, promising me an end to 4+ years of pain and a life stuck mostly sitting after 2 unsuccessful surgeries. Waiting to see where God is calling my husband and I in ministry, and plans for employment. Waiting for a home as we house sit week after week… Waiting for stability. A life in limbo but full of trust and hope.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Truth is I’ve always hated transition. Passionately hated it - even to the point of having full on pity parties when plans are changed. I’ve outgrown this quite a bit during our 16 years of my marriage, but those first few years reveled to my husband and me that changes didn’t happen without me pitching a fit.
Growing up, my family moved at least 7 times before my 6th grade year. Then, due to my parent’s dysfunction and my own depression and suicide attempts, my youth pastor found foster homes (families in our church) to take me in from Jr. high through High School. I was used to moving by then and didn’t mind it because it was better than living at home. At least that’s what I told myself.
You see, when you already feel you are not wanted, and then you’re moved from home to home, you begin to believe you are a burden even more because no one wants to keep you permanently.
I was extremely grateful for all the loving families who sacrificed their lives to take me in, and I did feel that love in appreciation but I never let go of knowing it was all temporary.
So, here I am wishing I didn’t have to move our family each week and longing for stability. I don’t know when we will find jobs and housing, or even where, but you know what I do know? I know that this is temporary – because a family of four can’t keep living like this, and because we have heard God tell us to trust and wait, and that He has something for us, just not now. I know that God is the one who takes care of us as we seek Him for wisdom and open doors while my husband pursues his passion for writing and speaking, and as I await the decision from my hip surgeon. I also know this will make us more grateful for a home and will teach our children flexibility.
This is a fragile time – hanging onto trust and pushing through. But honestly, knowing that God is good and that because we seek and serve Him, He will care for us – even if it’s not what we want, but what we need is where I should be. It’s a better place to be than trying to do things on our own and fretting about the unknown that we have little control over.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.