Moving is hard. Next Friday (I repeat, NEXT FRIDAY), Matt and I will be uprooting our little family from its current happy location in Bentonville, Arkansas and re-planting it in the charming town of Gastonia, North Carolina.
For a new mama, moving can be extremely emotional. I’m over here packing up baby girl’s room and getting teary-eyed as I strain to memorize every frilly pink detail of her first nursery. I walk through our apartment wondering, “Twenty years from now, will I remember the first home Matt and I shared as newlyweds?” I’ve also made an extensive mental list of things to do one last time before leaving Bentonville: go back to our favorite Taco Bell, walk around the classy neighborhood across the street, play dominoes on a Thursday night…But above and beyond our home, we will miss our friends and church family so deeply. The Lord faithfully answered our prayers for great friendships, making this whole pack-it-all-up-in-two-weeks thing a lot more difficult.
So why are we moving, you ask? Rather than carrying a briefcase to work everyday and maintaining the luxury of leaving business at the office, Matt will be entering the terrifyingly messy and super rewarding world of high school ministry. We are so excited. We have watched this opportunity click into place in a way that can only be described as a “God thing.” Our heavenly Father has found us a new church home to learn from and serve, and we are ever thankful for His provision.
Yes, we are overjoyed at the opportunity to pour into this ministry and work our tails off encouraging students in the Word and helping them grow as men and women of the Lord. We are happily looking forward to pursuing their hearts and inviting them into our home. But we also recognize that this is big work; this work affects souls and has eternal consequences. Even now as I type this, I feel the need to pray that the Lord will sustain us and speak through us when our humanity deems us incapable. I am so thankful that we are merely tools in the hands of the Almighty, because without Jesus living inside of us— I shudder to think…
It can be dangerous to add up one’s inability and lack of experience with a weighty spiritual responsibility while forgetting the Jesus part of the equation. Without Him, all attempts add up to failure. With Him, however, we can accomplish “abundantly more than we can ever hope or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). I wonder why it’s so easy for me to forget the Jesus part, and focus only on my own inadequacy.
So between my sadness about saying “good bye” and my anxieties about entering ministry, I am — there is no better word to describe it — scared about moving to a new home. I have been constantly reminding myself of Genesis 12:1 when God told Abraham (then Abram), “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” At that point God didn’t even provide the location (!), He just told Abraham to leave everything he knew in order to receive the blessings God had in store for his family. Despite any misgivings he may have had, Abraham packed up his belongings and he and his wife joyfully sojourned through the desert. This is probably why Abraham is heralded as a titan of the faith; he trusted God’s promises so completely.
Right now, as I am up to my elbows in bubble wrap and doubts about settling into a new church home (and am additionally consumed with the familiar agony every Type A neat freak is afflicted by when her house is in complete disarray)…do I trust God’s promises are true?
Here are just a few of the many overwhelming, kind, breathtakingly beautiful promises He has made me:
1. He will be with Matt and I wherever we go:
“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
“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.” (Joshua 1:9)
2. He will use us for a purpose:
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” (Psalm 57:2)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
3. We have nothing to fear:
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Now it is up to the Harris family to walk into the desert (figuratively speaking) with hearts full of expectation. We are free to live without fear, believing that our God has called us someplace new and will help us flourish there. As Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”
And you know the best part? This world is not our home. There will come a day when we will never again have to say “good-bye.” We will no longer be burdened with fear for our future. There will be no more packing up and leaving our friends.
We will be forever home.
Our Jesus says this: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)