Faithfulness in Staying and Leaving
Recently someone said to me (completely in jest) "how amazing, you get to start all over with life!" in reference to our upcoming move. It does sound a little shocking actually, as I type it, but I definitely don't think this person meant it that way at all. I'm not completely sure what they meant, but either way it got me thinking: is this really a chance to start over new? And if so, what are the implications of that? More important still, what does it look like to be faithful while we're still in Texas, and faithful in the next season in New England?
Is this really a chance to start over new?
In a lot of ways, yes. We'll have a new home, new furniture, a new routine for daily life, new friends, a new church, etc. etc. But I have a problem with this sentiment and it's this: when we take the view that moving is a new lease on life or a chance to start over, my sinful flesh automatically goes to thoughts of pretending, being someone I'm not just to gain affection or praise, and that's where the unhealthy tendency lies. Yes, much will be new to us, but we will not be new. We will be the same people there as we are here, and we will seek to bring the light of Jesus with us wherever we go.
I don't like the picture I see in my mind when I think about treating this new season of life as a "do-over." That could not be farther from the reason why we're going. Instead, I'd like to think of it as a chance to practice faithfulness in the midst of the hard parts of life, while we stay, and while we go.
Faithful as we stay
I've done a lot of thinking about what it looks like to be faithful until the moment we step foot on that plane (or van for Jordan). I don't want to make it to MA and have any regrets that I didn't love fully for fear of rejection in our last few weeks. I know I have a choice. Life is crazy: we're still finalizing house stuff in MA, still need to close on both houses, and are packing. I don't know how others have felt in this situation, but for me I have had this sense that priority must be given to relationships and places during these final days, not only to the details. What I mean is this: I've lived in Denton for 13 years. I've lived multiple life seasons here and have had plenty of ups and downs. This means I have lots of memories in practically every corner of the city. I can't physically visit every single place I have a memory at, or it would become a full time job, but I have tried to be mindful to visit favorite places, and significant landmarks in my life and faith for the sole purpose of saying goodbye. It might sounds strange to say goodbye to a park, or a restaurant or a librarian, but to me it's part of caring for my soul, and giving everything I have until we're called away from this place. Likewise, we have tried to be faithful in saying good goodbyes to friends and family. Communicating what friends have meant to us when we can has been helpful, rather than flimsily saying goodbye and pretending we aren't greiving their loss. We want to give weight to the significance that relationships have played in our life as we leave.
Faithful as we go
Faithfulness as we leave means this: we dive right in. We don't sit around in our house wallowing about how everything is different (though I'm sure we will have plenty of days like this) but we make a commitment to get out, explore, meet people, get involved. Our church will be 45 minutes away yet we're committed to loving those people as hard as we can for the year that we're with them. Knowing we've got two babies, we're already thinking through how we can get involved in the city for the good of the city and the benefit of our family as well. Reaghan loved ballet this summer so we'll be searching for a dance class for her and maybe a gym class for Everett. I want to prioritize exercise more for my mental health as we transition, and I've already contacted a Barre studio and have heard the YMCA is a great place to be as well. We'll jump right in to our BSF study, get library cards, a beach pass (or whatever is needed) and dive right in to life there. There's a thriving small business community so I'm already brainstorming ways to partner with local businesses to make friends and connect us as a small biz in the area. All of this to say, we have to make a life there and trust God to meet us in every detail. We shouldn't wait to be faithful in a new place. We shouldn't wait to love our neighbors.
Leaving also doesn't mean we're extra faithful
This deserves some air space in this post too because let's face it, though no one has said this to our faces, we have felt the pressure that others may look at what we're doing and say "they're super Christian....they're really extra about Jesus." No, this is not true. I believe our family is being faithful, but we are simply trying to walk in as much obedience as we can with the information we currently have about life. There's no extra measure of faithfulness, apart from the measure that God in the Holy Spirit has given to every single believer. That means you have it inside of you to be obedient to the thing God is calling you to do, and the faithfulness to lay down your life for Him, just as much as we do. Big or small, we are all called to be faithful. I often have wondered if God has seen our faithfulness in little ways and is somehow and for some reason giving us a bit more in this season to be faithful with. I will never know, all I know is that whatever He gives us, we are called to be faithful with it and use it for the sake of His glory and our good.
I keep coming back to this: for some reason, God has seen it fit in His goodness to disrupt our lives here in Texas for the sake of His Gospel expanding on the Earth. He's done it over and over and over, and as I read the Bible I become more aware of that. Missionaries have been uprooting and leaving heart and home for centuries and so we shouldn't feel afraid. We are in good company. God goes before us, and He will keep us in every moment, while we stay and as we go.