Saturday, April 16, 2016

Bible College

   My children and I trekked across campus today to the church playground.  They love that little playground.  We have spent many afternoons there, as many as there have been warm days lately.  The girls enjoy riding their bikes in the parking lot, or shooting basketball.  The boys play gleefully in the mulch and playground equipment.  My son told me today as we left that he couldn't go home, because there wasn't a ship at home.  How wonderful, that playground can be a ship, a bus, a restaurant, and Neverland, all in one day.  Amazing memories.
   I listened to the flags flap in the breeze.  It was familiar.  I remembered months ago, when my husband and I first came to visit.  The three older kids were back at home, a few hours away.  I held the hand of our toddler as he bounced across the brick wall, and I listened to those same flags flapping in the breeze.  I breathed deeply in the autumn air as I cautiously skimmed the school buildings.  I remembered what it felt like when I was in school- in those old buildings full of so many books and so much knowledge, I loved everything about school.  I loved the way the buildings smelled and the echos that your feet made in the hallway.  I loved it.  I longed for my husband to experience it.
   I remembered the first time we saw our apartment.  Our two bedroom apartment..  I wondered how on earth five bedrooms worth of things would fit into these rooms...  how our children would react to being away from their extended families for the first time in their lifetime.  I wondered who our neighbors were, and how strange it would be so be so close to someone I've never met.
   It was the scariest thing I've ever done in my life.
   If I were asked to describe this season of our life in one word, I couldn't do it.  I would ask for one more.  If I were allowed two, I would use these...

   It is scary.  There's still a part of me that looks at my children and wonders if they need a house to come home to for Christmas when they are older. Wishing they had a big back yard with all their toys and swings...  fearful that we are stealing away a few years of their childhood.  What's even more scary, is that we don't know its only two years.  We don't know where God will send us afterward.  Will we find our ministry, and move into a home that we will settle in for a few years?  Will we be sent to another school?  Will we move home, and continue life as it were until God does lead us into ministry?   There are so. many. questions.  And I can't answer any of them.  Which leads me to word number 2....
   Turns out..  this space suits us pretty well.
   It wasn't an easy move to make, but immediately we were all at peace.  We actually fit rather well into our apartment, and it honestly was a big inspiration in every way to all of us.  We are closer than ever..  both because of our small proximity, and the fact that we spend most of our time together now.
   I'm certain that the hardest part was leaving our families.  We have never lived more than thirty minutes away from our families, who we are very close too.  It honestly was the hardest thing that we have ever done, but even that has had its own part of change.  Everyone else plays a different role than they once did- and that's so hard, but such a blessing.  Though we are further away, we seem to rely on families for less, and in turn, our relationships with our families are less stressed..  stronger and better- because they are based on spending quality rather than quantity.  They are the people we still share our lives with- I'm just finding that I work through the really hard stuff with my husband, and my kids work through their hard stuff with us, and all we have left over for other family members is the good stuff.  That is nice- to enjoy my relationship with them without counting on them monetarily, or for all of the support in the world.  I've learned to cling to my husband for that, and I've found so much joy in the easier relationships that I have with every member of my family.  Staying close when you are far away isn't easy, it takes more effort- but it's sooo worth it.
   We are finding quickly that childhood memories don't come from stuff, but from family.  Maybe my children don't have a big yard with lots of playhouses and swings..  but they have parents who want to be in Gods will so much that they give up that dream to do so.  They also have parents who will play in the yard with them, make it fun, and take the to the park.  They have parents who are invested in their childhood wholeheartedly, and I think that's even more important than having all the bells and whistles.  Most importantly, they have parents whose roots may not be solid, but their feet are planted firmly on the ground, living in faith that God brought us here, and waiting to see where he takes us.
   Our neighbors are amazing.  They are kind people in different seasons of their lives but still here, at the same place.  I believe that Stephen has made some friendships that will last through his lifetime, and we are surrounded by Godly men and women who gave up everything- just like us- to be here.  Good people who will pray for us, play with our children, and love us as we love them.
   It's challenging though, to say the least.  Stephen thrives in school, and does wonderful when he is in class.  He absolutely becomes who God always wanted him to be as soon as he steps into the classroom.  Yet he does struggle with time.  Not only is my husband a fulltime student, he also still has a fulltime job, on top of being a fulltime Daddy as well.  He works a lot, and that's been our biggest struggle since he got here.  To give up the good job that he has worked so hard to get, not to mention the fact that he still has a big family to support...  its hard.  He's tired, and I know that he could be so much more dedicated if he could give it more of his time.  I'm praying so hard that somehow God will make this a reality for us, but at the same time, willing to accept that if he wants this to be our reality, he has a reason for doing so.  He's not here to get a degree so he can get a job.  He's here to learn, to study and learn about Gods word.  I don't ever want it to feel stressful for him.  That's my biggest burden.
   I'm praying that God will comfort us and give us peace while we are here, and so far he's done a wonderful job of that.  He truly has blessed us and surrounded us with His love in the form of His people and His provisions.  I'm excited to see what the future holds for us.  We have grown so much in the short time we have been here, and I'm thankful for all that he's done for me.  God is good, all the time...  All the time, God is good.