- springing back; rebounding.
- returning to the original form or position after being bent, compressed, or stretched.
- recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyant.
*This is me being a little raw, so it may not stay up for very long.*
I have come to rather dislike the word, “resilient.” I have grown a little weary of people encouraging us by saying how they have so much respect for my kids and my family and how we are so resilient and what amazing coping skills and wider horizons we’ve developed when I share the grief we experience when we have to move yet again. Yeah, they can be, and we can, but only because we’ve had to be, and in our case, most definitely by God’s amazing grace have we been able to ‘recover rapidly and spring back’ when we’re stretched.
We aren’t fundamentally made of different stuff from other people.
I think what happens sometimes is that people see how quickly we adapt and jump right in to our new situation, and they assume that we are fine, better than fine. My kids seem so well-adjusted, so we must be used to this life. There’s so much there you don’t see, though.
When I sit crying with my weeping teenagers over the real, deep, wrenching grief of having to sever friendships with people they know they probably will never see again, it cuts deeply and rips my heart along with theirs. When people hesitate to become close with us because they know we’ll be leaving in a few years and we haven’t always been in this place, it’s lonely and it hurts. When people start pulling away emotionally even before we leave, and we unintentionally do the same, again, it’s a lonely place to be. And, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t get easier with subsequent moves because we’ve gotten ‘used to it.’ No, if anything, it gets harder, because we know how long it takes for the ‘next adventure’ to finally start to feel like ‘home.’
That’s not to say there hasn’t been a lot of good that has come with moving often. There has. It’s also not to say that I resent my lot in life or don’t accept God’s sovereignty over it all, or that I’m at all ungrateful. I am so very grateful. All those things you hear about - that resilience word I’m resenting at the moment, for one, my kids and I have, indeed, learned it. And it’s a good thing. My husband and I and our kids have developed a close-knit love and respect for each other that runs deep and has rich roots in our mutual faith in Christ that I cherish deeply. We have made real friendships with people in lots of places we never would have met if we’d not had to move, some who we still stay in contact with. It’s true that my kids have a much wider understanding of the world and ability to talk to and befriend people who are different from them and who think differently than I did at their age. We’ve had lasting and deep and meaningful friendships with our church families everywhere we’ve gone, and how incredibly thankful I am for this! Christ’s church has been a blessing to us, and Christ is the absolute anchor for my soul, always, no matter where we go. And that matters way more than some ‘stiff upper lip, grin-and-bear-it’ sort of resilience that anyone who moves a lot has to learn. No, what I have in Christ is a real peace that passes all understanding, a knowledge that no matter how lonely, no matter how full of grief, we are not alone, and we are called to glorify and enjoy Him in all things. There is meaning and purpose in embracing our portion and seeking to honor Christ, even in this.
But in those moments when I’m struggling with the grief, and even harder, with the grief my kids are experiencing, please don’t comfort me by telling me how you respect our resilience. I’m not feeling all that resilient at the moment. I’m feeling pretty broken, in fact. I’m feeling pretty empty of words. One of the most meaningful ways a friend ministered to me the other day when I broke down in tears and told her this is the hardest move we’ve ever done was to just stop, open her arms and hug me while I cried, no words necessary.
What I need to remember again and again and again is how Jesus, my perfect and great and loving Shepherd binds up the broken hearted. Pray for us to love our children well and, while we cannot shield them from the sadness and difficulty of yet another move and all the emotionally difficult things that come with it, we can help them to also know they can cling to the One who perfectly understands all the emotions we can barely put into words.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”