Today I am sharing our journey of trusting in God’s faithfulness when everything changes. Many of you know we spent the last 14 years in full time ministry work as state-side missionaries. We served at risk teen boys and their families at The Flying H Youth Ranch in central Wa. As a young family with a 2 year old full of sugar and spice daughter and a baby boy on the way we began the daunting task of raising support to go on full time staff at the ranch when my husband graduated from college. A year later we moved to the ranch with a three year old and an infant in tow. We would go onto serve there and live on site for 14 years. We added two more children to our family while there and many friends that became like family.
The Ranch is situated on 400 beautiful acres. It was a long time dream of mine to serve the Lord in full-time ministry. We were provided with a lovely home and built in Christian community. In many ways it was a dream place to live. Built in community does not come without its challanges. We are after all still sinners, but relationships are messy at times no matter where you live or work. It was all our children ever knew and all their friends were there. So, when the Lord started to nudge on us a bit I hoped we would be able to raise our kids there before He called us elsewhere.
Trusting God’s Faithfulness Into the Unknown
About four months ago however, the Lord made it all too clear to us that He was calling us to something new right now. Perhaps too often I look at life through Little House on the Prairie lenses. The last few years I began to feel like Pa Ingalls. I was restless and hankering for a new place, new adventures and new challenges. But the Ma Ingalls in me was thinking how can I make this a good experience and change for my kids. How can I comfort their hearts and help them say goodbye to all they have ever known and precious friends they love. How can I help them see the good in this?
Trusting God with Planted Seeds
I’m really good at getting preachy and giving advice, quoting scriptures and trying to relate to the situation by telling a story from my past. To illustrate this point here is a peek into our life. One Sunday morning we were very late for church, to the point that I was too embarrassed to show up. My husband was on duty with his students at the ranch. We were going to join up with them at church. Of course the kids and I had a long talk about how things went that morning. Aaron got home and asked “Why weren’t you at church”? The kids replied to him “Don’t worry Dad, Mom preached a whole sermon to us!” Ha! Yep, that’s me. When we first moved I wanted to preach to my kids whenever they were sad about how we were lead here by God and it was all going to work out for our good. That’s good right? Well, yes, but I hate to see my kids hurting and I really wanted the preaching to make it all better and it just isn’t that quick or simple. I had to trust God and learn a thing or two as well.
Learning to Acknowledge Your Child’s Grief
I’ve learned a lot through this move coupled with the loss of a dearly loved pet. It’s good to encourage my children in their faith and with scripture in this time. It is also important to let them grieve and to validate their pain. My kids really needed to express their pain or be comforted while they cried on multiple occasions. I had to remember that they didn’t need my preaching every time the tears came or the subject came up. They just needed mama to acknowledge that it hurt and to give them love, comfort and a listening ear. It’s also ok to cry with them.
As I write I am reminded of that well known shortest verse in the Bible “Jesus wept” John 11:35. This was after Lazarus died and the Lord at last arrives on the scene. We can’t say for sure what was going through the Lord’s mind here. Commentators suggest several reasons why Jesus would weep here, one of those reasons was that He was sympathetic to the sufferings of Mary and Martha. In Hebrews 4:15 the Word says “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin.” (NASB) Jesus knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead but that did not stop Him from entering into that pain with Mary and Martha. I know God is going to work things out for good in my children’s lives but that doesn’t need to prevent me from entering into their sadness and sympathizing with their sufferings.
Share Your Experience
If you have walked through something similar please feel free to share in the comments below!