Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Praying through the Pain

I usually write my blogs with other people in mind.  The teacher/counselor in me seeps out as I pass along the info and experiences I've gathered along my life.  I believe that there answers to everything problematic in life--I take pleasure in finding and giving answers.  Not to mention, I like sharing my opinion, and the blog forum gives me the outlet to do so even though no one is specifically asking. :)

But tonight, I have a different agenda.  This blog is about me and my problems, specifically one of my child's problems.  I need prayer.  Our family needs prayer.  I've already cried to God and don't want to text anyone this late at night.

I'll give the background story that most people know already.  Over two years ago, my husband and I made the decision to move towns for his job/vocational ministry.  The decision was a pivotal spiritual moment in our lives.  We felt God directing us to a college ministry on a different campus.  Individually and collectively, my husband and I pointed to Genesis 12 and studied the story of God's call on Abram/Abraham to get up and move to the land God would show him.  We were confident that God was directing us to get up and move again.  We aren't "fathering"  many nations like Abraham did--but, when it comes to evangelizing and discipling college students, in a sense, we are spiritually parenting a small part of the nations.  For this, I am truly happy and deeply satisfied.

As most of you know, nothing went smoothly for about two years.  Our house wouldn't sell for the first few months, my husband was out of town during the week and then came home for weekend daddy duty and husband hours.  Every once in a while, someone would ask me if I regretted the decision to move.  With the exception of a two week period of doubt in those two years, I said no every time.  I became a proficient reader of Genesis, analyzing every detail in the life of Abraham and Sarah.  I truly believed that just because things weren't "working out" did not mean God had quit working.  I constantly had to remind myself that this move was not about me and my family; it was about the advancement of the kingdom. 

Living in limbo and by faith that can't see around the corner has not been easy.  But by far the most difficult part of this process is feeling like a bucket-collecter for all of our children's tears.  For the longest time, one or all three would cry for Dad, cry over their former school, cry for their old house and neighborhood and former church, and weep because they missed their friends.  The hurt has been felt most deeply by my oldest daughter.  She is sweet and loyal and genuinely loves people.  It hurts her to leave people and she desperately misses her old life.  As in the story of Abraham and Isaac, I felt like we parents were continually putting our kids at the alter, holding a knife over them, waiting for a substitute provision of God to keep the pain from going to its deepest level.

A renewed sense of peace washed over me two weeks ago when my daughter said: "This has been really hard and I didn't want it.  But I think God moved us here for a reason and I think it was the best decision. I'm glad to live here."  She still believes that but this week has shed more tears.  She started school a couple of weeks ago (she had the choice of me homeschooling her or going to school when a spot opened up for her).  She's the "new kid" now and the 7th girl in her class of 19.  The other 6 girls have already paired up with their bff and our oldest daughter is the odd girl out.  She spends her recesses alone, swinging and reading, reminiscing her old friends as she watches others frolic about happily the way she once did.  She loves the Lord and longs for a Christian friend.  If  not a Christian, at least someone with character, but the truth is she is more mature than most her age and has a difficult time with the common cruelties of other children.

Once again, I feel like we're raising the knife over our kid.  We feel responsible because we are the ones who "climbed the mountain" by moving from Fort Smith to Central Arkansas. We're the ones holding the knife by our decisions.  And I just wonder, how long do we have to wait?  I don't believe God calls us to sacrifice our kids for the kingdom.  God sacrificed his own son so we wouldn't have to sacrifice ours.  But they do suffer.  My oldest daughter is repeatedly bound up by the lingering anguish of loneliness.  I know there are bigger problems in the world, but not right now for her world.

I know the answers.  This a time of struggle that will build her character.  She has to learn that God is her ultimate bff.  This situation will help her comfort others as she has been comforted.  There are answers, but there has been no earthly solution for two years and counting.  And at only 9 years old, that's a significant percentage of the life she's known.

So please pray.  Pray for my husband and I.  Pray for our kids.  Pray for wisdom for us and a solid friend for our precious girl.  I want to cut the ropes and put the knife away for good, but feebly trusting I'll hear a rustle in the bushes signaling God's provision for this tension.


  1. Tonya,

    I can somewhat sympathize. When I first came down here to Fort Smith the summer of 2008, I didn't know anybody. I had to put myself out there a bit, find a church, and almost forcefully make myself available as a friend as I'm really a rather introverted person. It was a real blessing that I met you, Chris, your kids, and other people at Grand so that I was able to make a connection more easily when I moved back in January of 2009. I know that it's not the same for Kinley, but things will get better. You may have already thought of this, but has Kinley thought of making closer friends with other kids from church instead of school? Or is there a team activity or sport she is interested in that you'd be able to enroll her in where she could make good friends? I've never been the guy that had a lot of friends, even now, so I understand how it can feel lonely when you don't have a lot. I'll be thinking of ya'll as a already do, and I hope and pray things get easier. You're right to remember Abraham's story though. Somestimes we do have to wait a long time for things to make sense and to get better. God bless!

  2. Thanks Joe! Yes, hopefully we can do some other activities soon. She is one of the only girls in her grade at church...hopefully I'll meet some of the other parents soon.

  3. And thank you so much for sharing! It was a blessing meeting you!