Transitions. Transitions is one of those ‘buzz’ words in missions and a word that, to be honest, I sometimes get tired of hearing. I think that my main aversion to this word is that it is not a word that is reserved for missionaries so I feel the need to explain that fact anytime I might find myself using it. It is a reality for those who are moving often, no matter what the reasons, and certainly not just for missionaries but it is a very real thing anytime you uproot your family and move somewhere brand new or experience any sort of major change.
I post this picture along with this post because, as I look through photos from our first term here, I am reminded of what transitions meant for our kids. I am reminded of the impact that moving across the world had on all of our kids, but particularly our boys and, in this photo – specifically, Elliott. This photo was taken right after we moved into our third house in PNG – our fourth move in less than a year and we noticed that Elliott, in particular, felt the impact of these moves the most deeply.
It is still hard to think of the challenge that he, and all of our boys faced, because of our move to PNG and there are times when I wonder if we could have spared him a lot of heartache by not following God’s call but then I am reminded that nothing is too big for God. No change. No difficulty. No challenge. No transition.
A transition, while sometimes painful, is just a chance to let God peel away the layers of protection that we have knowingly or unknowingly placed around our hearts so that He can remind us, lovingly, that His protection, His love and our identity in Him is all that we need and that we never lost it – no matter where we have gone, no matter what we have lost and no matter how many transitions we have faced.
He is for us. He is with us and He loves us. This is true for us, this is true for our kids, this is true for the youth we are here to serve and this is true for every single person who faces countless transitions in their own lives. I needed that reminder today as the attacks of the enemy heaped guilt and shame on me for the heartache that our kids have faced and I wondered if, perhaps, someone out there, was in need of the same reminder.
Don’t lose heart.
Take your transitions to Him and let Him show you His love in the midst of your loss. His promises in the midst of your pain. His hope in the midst of your hopelessness. He is present, He is working and He will never leave you, no matter how many transitions you face.
He is enough. That lesson never gets old and it’s a lesson I keep re-learning over and over, year after year. I am so thankful that He takes the time to patiently guide me into His truth and I wait in anticipation as I watch Him guide my kids into the same life-giving words. If these transitions draw them closer to Him, then they are a beautiful thing in the hands of the One who loves them and, so, for each transition, I will be thankful and look wholeheartedly for God’s presence and love in the midst of it and I will pray passionately that my kids will learn to do the same.
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis