On the Road Again
"Why does it always have to be my stuff?"
I remember saying that when I was a kid and we were faced with another move. You see, I was raised in the Air Force and had the wonderful advantage of living in a few European countries and in several states in the U.S. But—there's always a "but" isn't there?—when the military moves you, there's a fairly strict weight limit. So…the "non-essential" things were always the first to go. Why it had to be some of my toys instead of the pots and pans, I'll never know!
Don't get me wrong, lots of my toys were fine but any big things, like bicycles, were given away to USAF families who were new to the location we were leaving. So, I grew up with lots of give and take. Families being shipped out would give things they couldn't take with them to new families moving into the area. Yes, give away, because you knew some family would do that for you in your new location. Families helping families was our way of life.
We moved a lot. In fact, the first time I ever lived in one place for more than three years was my four years in college. In my childhood, there was no real connection to the places we lived in and no lasting friendships. Everything was short-term.
Fast forward 45 years. Charlie and I have moved 3 times in our 40 years of marriage. We've lived in Baytown a long time and created a home here. We've settled in to retire here. A church home…lasting friendships…this is home.
Then, a few weeks ago, Charlie came home with a bombshell: His company offered him a substantial promotion—in far west Texas. It is the perfect job for him and he's very excited. To him, he's going to a new job. For me, it means leaving home.
It's only for a few years and then they will promote him back into the Houston area (or we will retire). Still, I can't stop the tears. I know it's best for him. I know we have to go. But my heart is breaking. God has reminded me that He's in west Texas, too, but it still hurts. Believe me, I have nothing against west Texas. I lived for two years in El Paso, TX, when I was a teenager and it's a wonderful place with wonderful people. It's just not home.
I don't tell you all this for sympathy's sake, although prayers for me would be much appreciated. I tell you this because God has used the last few days to remind me of an important truth I discovered when writing Chapter 2 of Storms of Life: Jesus experienced every trial we experience and He will guide us through every storm.
I need to remember: Jesus left Home. I'm leaving behind a beautiful house and some wonderful neighbors who have become family. I'm leaving behind a church home that has walked with me through times of joy and times of sorrow. Most of all, I'm leaving behind my sister, Jann, whom I love dearly. In contrast, Jesus left behind a throne of glory and a chorus of angels who sang his praises. He left behind His power as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I'm moving to a new place filled with people who will take me in and accept me; I'll find new neighbors to love. I'll find a new house that will become a home and a church that will become my spiritual home. I'm moving to a new place where life's slower; no traffic jams or long lines at the grocery store. In contrast, Jesus left limitless power and glory to be confined to a human body. He left eternal praise to come to a place where the people rejected Him, even hated Him. He left a throne to wander in a place where there would be no home for Him and few friends to love Him. He left the comforts of Home to be persecuted and to die.
Why would He do this? I'm moving under protest—He moved willingly. I'm feeling sorry for myself—He looked at the people around Him and felt sorrow for them, for their suffering and separation from God. I'm "sacrificing" my old, comfortable life for a new one full of promise. He sacrificed everything for me—and for you.
Are you facing new challenges? Maybe you're not moving, like I am, but you might be moving from the certainty of next month's paycheck to the uncertainty of how you'll pay next month's bills. You might be moving from the security of family to the insecurity of how you'll make it without your husband. Or, maybe, you're moving up to the next clothes size and your body is morphing into one you can't control. When we face difficulty, Jesus understands because He has been there!
This Christmas season, listen to the words of the carols we sing. We sing of the miracle of Jesus' birth. We sing of the miracle that He chose to put on flesh and walk among men, to experience human life with all its joys and sorrows.
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head,
The stars in the sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep in the hay.