“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.”
It feels funny to say this is my ‘favorite’ Bible verse, because how can I truly have a favorite when all Scripture is God-breathed and He has so graciously given us His very Word. But I will say this is one verse I find myself often pondering and rehearsing, especially when my thoughts are in turmoil or my heart is disquieted.
Today my boys went back to school. Seems like we had the shortest summer break ever. We do go back awfully early here, but I’m not really complaining because they get quite a few nice breaks throughout the year to offset the early August beginning. I also would be less than honest if I didn’t mention that part of me finds much peace in the return to a regular routine. I thrive on routine, and though they may not admit this to you, my children do as well. I also am not nearly disciplined enough in the summer to enforce much routine during those off days, so the return to school brings back a sense of order for us which is welcome once we settle back to it, though, again I'd be lying if I didn't tell you about the slight sinking feeling I felt as the school bus drove off with the boys and left the neighborhood and I felt it hard not to cry as I thought about how nervous they must be about going to a new school once again. Not to mention the fact that my oldest son started middle school today. Ack! That's a whole other blog post in and of itself, my friends. I also know that this afternoon they'll be just fine and telling me all the exciting things about today, but that first morning leaving on the bus is a little wrenching, for me. They seemed fine. It never gets any easier being mom, does it?
One thing that made this summer seem so very short was the fact that our family moved during the first week of July. I feel like we wasted away much of June just feeling like we were on hold, marking time until the big moving day arrived, especially once we had the little glitch in timing which I’ve blogged about earlier so I won’t bore you with that story again here. Most of July was spent trying to settle in and unpack, a task I am sad to say is still not completely finished. It doesn’t seem possible we’ve already been here for a month. Seems much shorter than that.
I’ve been thinking about moving and my children. I ache for them a little today, okay let’s be honest - I ache a lot. We are asking a lot of our kids with how often we’ve moved. Here we are plucking them up again and putting them into their third school in two years. That is a big thing we ask of them. The Army does a pretty good job of making the move as easy as possible, but, let’s face it, moving is HARD. I fear that as adults sometimes we are so caught up in our own stresses and anxieties and griefs as we struggle to keep it all together during and after the move that sometimes I wonder if we don’t fully acknowledge what our children are feeling and thinking and facing.
I also know that moving so often will give them a unique resilience and perspective I have had to learn as an adult. I lived in the same house from the time I was a year old until I went away to college, and my parents live in that same house still. My children do not have that. But I cannot tell you how proud of them I am as I watch them embrace the challenge of walking into a new school, moving to a new neighborhood and see it as an adventure and not a negative thing. They really amaze me with how well they handle it, because I look back at the me I was at that age and I just know how nervous and beside myself I would have been if I’d been asked to do what our boys are doing so well. Our God is a gracious God to enable these boys to do what they have to do.
When we moved to St. Louis, we knew it was temporary, and with my tendency to be a hermit, I was sorely tempted to keep up a wall and not build too many friendships because I knew it would hurt to leave so quickly. I have never been one to make friends easily, even with and maybe because of never having the challenge of moving every few years. I still struggle with that, and I have a hard time dropping the walls and really connecting with others. That’s one thing that made our pilgrimage in South Carolina so hard for me because I never really found that kindred spirit friendship I so often long for. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and he is my very best friend, but sometimes you just need the companionship of other women who love the Lord and with whom you can share that bond in a real way. Having a friend to grab a cup of coffee with and share the Word with in real, sisterly friendship is a rare treasure, I am finding. The church we grew to love in those 18 months made it impossible to erect those walls with any staying power, though, and I found healing from what I called my South Carolina wilderness as I connected and made good Christian friends, and I’m glad for that. I hope my children will keep fond memories of St. Louis in their hearts forever. And I pray we will find our place here in Kentucky, too.
So, as I sit here smelling the cookies that are baking in the oven in preparation for a first day back to school treat, I ponder the fears and hopes I have for my children. I know how inadequate I am in so many ways. I wish they had a better mother at times. But I also know that I serve a great Savior. And my sweet Lord chose me for these kids. He chose me to be their mom. And He will guard their hearts and lead Drew and me to train them up in the way they should go. How I pray that we will teach them well and teach them how to think biblically, in spite of all the other voices to which they are exposed. How I pray they will be drawn to the right kind of friends and that they will be more leaders than followers, that they will be willing to stand alone if to follow the crowd means to go against what they know is right. So I put my trust in Him, and He will keep me in perfect peace as I seek to love the ones He has entrusted to me. In spite of my failings, and they are so many, may He be glorified, may these children see Him and be drawn to Him by His grace.