As I write this post, I’m sitting in my parent’s bedroom in my childhood home as my mother packs the last of her belongings. Tonight is the last time we will sleep under this roof, the place where we spent the last 16 years laughing, crying and annoying the heck out of each other.
Tomorrow morning, the final move begins and we will say goodbye. Spending one last night in my purple bedroom seems surreal. Part of my identity is that room and realizing it will no longer be mine brings tears to my eyes. As my parents move to the next stage of their lives, I’m moving to mine.
Needless to say, the feels are running strong.
It all began a few Christmases ago. As we decorated our trees, the idea of my parents moving to Buffalo was thrown out. My sister broke down into tears, but as someone who recently considered herself an adult, I remained smug as if it didn’t bother me. In reality, I didn’t believe it was possible. Sure, I could live my life in Pittsburgh, but my family couldn’t leave. It was their job to stay and be my rock.
Within the next year, all of our lives began down a different path. I left the apartment I believed would be my home for years. My stepdad was promoted to the job in Buffalo.
My sister and her husband began seriously talking of transferring to that branch. My career wasn’t going anywhere and Buffalo seemed like a good idea for me, too.
With my (formerly smug) adult life in shambles, I had no choice but to return to my family, my rock, my home and think about a new life somewhere else with them. It only took me a few months to realize God had other plans for me.
In fact, God’s plans broke my heart. Didn’t he know I wanted to stay with my family where it was safe and I felt loved? Instead, I lived in five different places for five months while my family tried to find their own security. I spent a summer hiding in my bedroom, pretending to work but really just overwhelmed with loneliness. I didn’t understand His plan or why he’d separate us and make us live in this state of turmoil across the board. But then I saw a glimmer and it was enough.
Sometimes a glimmer of God’s plan provides the understanding we need to not lose hope. For example, if I signed a lease or found something permanent, my best friend Sam wouldn’t have been able to move in with me. The timing was nothing short of perfect when she needed me most*
*it’s important to note how strong she is and undoubtedly could’ve done it without me, but God still made me available for a reason
Now as we prepare to move into our new home together, I’m reminded of that glimmer and why God is so wonderful. My excitement for this new adventure is almost enough to diminish the sadness in my heart realizing this house is not my home anymore.
God not only gave me the glimmer, he showed me something better – home is not the house where I grew up, rather the bigger blessing of the people who lived with me. My family means so much me and sometimes how much I love them makes me cry (FYI – I cry a lot). As our lives fell into this organized disarray, our time together became less and less, but our relationships grew stronger. When we’re together, I forget how long we’ve been apart. They are my home; a bond of love rooted in the love of God. How can moving from something temporary compare to the eternal joy I have?
(Shoutout to Oliver Wendell Holmes for providing the quote that summarizes my realization and earned a spot as the title of this post)
If I hadn’t followed God’s plan and returned to Pittsburgh and trusted him through the hard times, I may be with my family permanently, but would things be the same? Would my love have grown and matured? Would my relationship with Jesus? I’ve learned to depend on Him so much, which is the point. My family is wonderful, but they can’t complete me.
Tomorrow I move into my new home, and my parents move into storage units waiting for the next step in their path to be revealed. It’s frustrating, but God is ahead of us fighting the giants and preparing the way.
Our series at church right now is titled “You Make Me Brave,” and this week we learned about the fear of God forgetting us, when in reality we forget God and try to live on our own. My pastor said something that really resonated, especially during this time in my life:
“God seems late because He doesn’t operate on our timetable.”
TBH, it was kind of a slap in the face. Sometimes I wonder why God hasn’t shown up yet, but I remember two things: a) He doesn’t need to return because He never left me and b) His timing is perfect. Period. I sit here pleading with God for direction in my life as well as my parents, questioning my Creator for His willingness to allow this to continue. But God is doing so many things we can’t see and I trust that He is working for the good of those who love Him (aka us).
I’m excited. Scared. Sad. Heartbroken. Ready. I think ready is the most appropriate feeling. Seeing how God is working is so wonderful and I’m happy we’re all taking the next step. We’re trusting God and stepping into the unknown.
This time, things feel different, It doesn’t feel like a move to a temporary space where I will leave in another year. It feels like I’m going home. Every time I’m there, especially with Sam, I just know. This is going to be a place I grow in with my best friend.
Do you hear that, God? I’m excited for your plan even though I’m sure you take a sick pleasure in uprooting my life constantly, but I’m down. After like 27 moves you got here, ready for what you throw at me. Until you do and then I’m sure I’ll doubt and be unsure and sad again. Always trust that I’m yours and ultimately I will listen.