When my husband was 5 the Lord called his family to leave Canada and go to Switzerland to live and learn under Francis Schaefer, a Christian theologian and philosopher, and be apart of a community called L’Abri. His family sold everything, gave all the money away except for what they needed for their travels. He was given this suitcase to pack his special things. And the rest is history. That little blue suitcase has been to more countries than most people will be in their lifetime, and the owner has been to 99. Many know of the journey that this move led to and are even part of the life. My own family, too, moved away from Korea when I was 5 to a land and a life unfamiliar, leaving nothing except loving friends and family.
We are by no means moving to a foreign land like our parents did. We are going to a new place as a family, but our parents are there, which is always a place where our hearts are at. We might even have more conveniences and opportunities that we haven’t had access to just because we’ve lived on a little Big island.
But at the same time, in my spirit, I feel as it is as significant as this little blue suitcase was to little Derek.
Uprooting is hard. Especially because we have taken such good root. This has been our home, our whole married life and my children’s whole life. This is where the love between my husband and myself blossomed and grew strong. This is where my kids learned to walk. This is where I entered into motherhood – the trials and joy of it all. This is where I not just “met” friends, but “made” friendships – the kind that doesn’t just instantly click, but we grow into. The kind of relationships I call “crockpot friendships” – the longer you’re in it, the better it gets. This is even the place where I did my DTS, a spiritual landmark where I met God in a whole, new way. Our church has been the most gracious, patient, freedom-giving one. It has given us the time and space as we grew into a family. It wasn’t that we didn’t have difficulties to walk through. But there was grace for it all and they stood by us. And oh, how our kids have been loved on by so many.
I’ve loved being on an island as well. I grew up in the islands. The tropical rainforest and turquoise beaches (well, maybe not. The beach I grew up with was a black beach. lol) strikes chords in my heart. It may not have been exactly like Papua New Guinea, but different elements still connected me to the place I grew up in.
We’ve had such good ground to take root in as a family. And that is why it is hard.
But obedience is easy.
A couple months ago, a good friend shared with me about this day when she was convicted by the Holy Spirit of a negative attitude she had harboring. Being the humble, even still such a teachable spirit that she is as a leader, she was moved to ask for forgiveness to a group of people. It was such a great moment, and I celebrated with her and at the same time, I felt like I needed to affirm that what she did – asking for forgiveness, not just to God in a private prayer but face to face to a group a people – was not an easy thing. Cuz it’s not. It’s a very humbling thing.
I loved her response.
“You know, in one sense it was…. but it really wasn’t. The Lord asked me, and I obeyed. It was pretty simple.”
And she’s right. Uprooting is hard, but obedience is not.
Obedience is not hard because we know we can trust Him who is guiding us. It’s easy because we know that He is good and He loves us, and whatever the next thing He is leading you to will be good.
In preparation for us leaving, I’ve been explaining to my children what “moving” means. I want them to know and understand that this is not just another trip like the one to Korea or Papua New Guinea, but that friends that we leave here this time, we might not see for a long time. I explained that even if we go on a trip, that place when we return to will not be Hawaii any more, but Colorado from now on. I can’t help it – the TCK in me is doing everything I know I can do to help these kids transition to their new home, which starts with good closure here. Saying our goodbyes, not just to treasured friends but also places special to them, places in which memories and moments were created that have shaped who they are today on top of who they were created to be. I don’t know how it will all come together in their young minds and hearts. But that, I trust God with.
Me? I can process goodbyes. I do them tears in my eyes while driving my kids to their piano lesson. I do them with one more squeeze I give my girlfriend. I write.
I’m looking forward to being with our parents. Just to be near them. Let them hear the noise of our children. Enjoy days with them. I’m not looking forward to missing everything about our life here – the land, the friends, our church. Really – mostly people. I know Facebook will be around and Skyping is an option.
But it just won’t be the same.
Obedience is easy, but uprooting is not.
Uprooting is hard, but obedience is not.