In my parenting journey, as short as it may be, I often feel that the one who is in more need of a parent is not my child but in fact is me. For example, I have said to Micah countless times, "When you complain & whine, you are showing that your heart is discontent and is not trusting mama. I love you, son, and I want to give you good things." So how appropriate it was when I broke down in tears last week and sobbed to Kevin, "I.don't.want.to.go!!!!" that the Lord brought my own words to mind. Or to put it in a more humorous way:
To be honest, there are many things that are appealing about American life that I would love to stick around & enjoy. My parents probably top that list. Sonic & streamed Netflix are somewhere on there as well. We've put down roots here and pulling those up is a pretty painful endeavor. When we left the first time, it was a grand adventure for Kevin & me. A distant land, exciting twists and turns each morning. We were living on love & free long distance. But now kids have entered the mix, and our choice to live overseas seems to have a lot more collateral damage. Our boys won't be able to interact with their grandparents in a conventional way, and I know this is not the way my parents envisioned acting out their grandparent roles. It's hard. And it hurts a lot more people than just me.
What my heart is lacking these days is a steadfast trust that God is good, even when it hurts. So I've spent a few minutes the past few days (quite literally a few minutes--I can usually only capitalize that much time before someone cries or my mind starts making check lists of things to do) thinking on the promises of God & a few observations that are applicable to our pending departure:
Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Whether we're in America or China, God's goodness & mercy are with me as I'm trusting Christ.
Neither America nor China are home. The house of the Lore is my true home, and that is where it is best to dwell.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose...What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Loving God is my greatest job. The rest is His job.
On hard days, this one liner will be a lifeline for me: What then shall we say to these things?
What shall I say to loneliness?
What shall I say to the distance?
What shall I say to frustration?
What shall I say to the longing for comfort & ease?
God is for me.
He has given me much and is eager to give much more. Namely, He has given me Christ and is eager to give me much more of Him.
But what I can't forget is that the same God who cares for me and invites me to trust & follow Him cares for and invites the people I love to trust & follow Him. My parents. My children. China. So while the next week will undoubtably be a very difficult time of uprooting, my hope is that all of us will be more deeply rooted in God because of His great love & care.