In less than two weeks we will move our oldest son into his new dorm room. Seven hours away from home. Seven. Hours. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that far, and I’m grateful that he can be here any weekend he wants to, and we can get to him pretty quickly as well. But still, it’s out of my comfort zone. I could to a quick run through of all the clichés that go along with this stage in life, but I’ll skip that. Just know they are all true – the years spent raising your children into adults really is a blink. I’ve been the weirdest mix of sad and heartbroken and excited and happy these past several weeks. It takes nothing at all for me to tear up – just seeing him walk in the door, hugging him, a friend asking how I’m doing… I’m a big mess at the moment, but have been assured that within a month I will be okay. I hope that’s true because right now… well, it’s not good. Harrison is a bright light, such an important part of our family of five, and although I know he will remain that and great things are ahead, we are going to miss him being here in the everyday normal.
One night he came home after being out with friends, and it was obvious that he was struggling with something. When I asked if he was okay, he responded that this summer has been so confusing for him. What you may not know is that our family just recently relocated to the Nashville, Tennessee area. I don’t think Harrison expected to get attached here. To make such a solid group of friends. To grow so quickly at our new church. I don’t think he expected for this place to feel like home so quickly. And while personally I love that this all has happened, I know that it has caused uncertainty for him, and I definitely don’t love that. He shared that picking up and moving here and starting over again was hard but unexpectedly great, and now he’s having to do it all again so quickly at college.
He was tired of starting over, and I completely understood that.
I took a deep breath, silently asking the Lord to give me wisdom in that moment, because I knew that this conversation had the potential to be one that he’d bookmark in his heart and head forever, and I didn’t want to mess that up.
As promised, God gave me wisdom to share with Harrison. I thought through my life… all the times I had moved and had to start over. I thought about all the people He had blessed me with along the way, many of them still an important part of my life. Even though it wasn’t easy to make new friends, it was even more amazing and so very worth having to be pushed out of my comfort zone. The amazing parts completely overshadowed the hard parts, and I realized then that all of the places I’ve lived and all I’ve gotten to experience was totally worth getting uprooted more times than I had ever planned.
So I told Harrison that if he could change his perspective from “I have to start all over again” to “I get to add to this incredible life,” it will alter his outlook completely, from one of dread and sadness to one of peace with what is and excitement over what’s to come. I shared that the people who are meant to be in his life will remain there, and the new people he meets next will only add to the current incredible life he has.
My prayer for him and his brothers is that they will be confident to take on what lies ahead for them, that confidence only coming from their relationship with the Lord. I pray that as each of them leaves our happy little nest, one by one, that they will be so full of the love our family has shared all of these years and the assurance from knowing that home will always be a safe place to land, that they will boldly run towards whatever is next without a single doubt.
Change is scary. At times, it feels unnecessary. Can I encourage you to remember that it IS sometimes necessary? When we have nothing but the Lord to depend on, that is an opportunity to trust that God has something really special ahead. If you’re starting over somewhere completely new and it’s overwhelming, stop and remember this promise from 2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Everything we need. Everything. He can handle this, and you will be so glad He led you there.
My challenge to you is to reflect back on the people God has placed in your life, all throughout your life. Mark those people in your heart and think about what they’ve taught you, how they made you better. Gather them up like a bunch of flowers, each beautiful for a different reason, and celebrate them. Cherish them. But don’t be afraid to add to them. Don’t fear the change that might be ahead because of what you think you might lose. No, embrace it instead. Learn from it, and look back gratefully, returning to those times and people whenever you can. Then trudge on ahead, ready for your next adventure.