When my husband and I considered the idea of a move at the end of 1999, wasn't too phased. After all, we had been at our present location for six years, and I knew a move was somewhere in our future. However, as the year-end drew closer and plans started to take shape, the realization that we would soon be uprooted hit me with vengeance, Life as we knew it would never be the same.
Once again I would have to resign from my high school teaching job. I had just received a promotion and was excited about the impact I was having at the school. When I talked to the principal about resigning, I found myself explaining, "Yes, I am turning my back on my career to follow my husband to a different state. No, he's not getting a promotion. No, he won't he receiving a higher salary. And no, it's highly unlikely that we will be moving back to this area in the future." it's hard for those not in the ministry to understand the life of a pastoral family. All the farewells kept us busy around Christmas and the New Year. My family and I said our goodbyes to precious friends who have meant so much to us. Even months later, the hurt of saying goodbye is still close to the surface. Just the other night, our daughter said, "Mum, shifting wouldn't be so bad if only we could bring our friends with us."
Establishing our family in a new location always takes time. We must familiarize ourselves with new supermarkets, doctors, schools, music teachers and the like. Fortunately, God led us to a neighborhood full of friendly neighbors. Still, we did not forget our old friends and we continue to stay in regular contact with them.
Years ago, an experienced minister's wife told me that she had found the process of adjusting to a new move takes a good six months. I have found her theory to be true.
The first six weeks were daunting. Everything was so new ...our home, the school, the shopping centers, even the climate? And on top of that, there was the new church, full of new faces who all wanted to see what the minister and his family are like. The stress took its toll on our family and we found ourselves saying things to one another we wish we hadn't.
After about three months, the dust started to settle. We had discovered friends we knew from the past and it has been exciting to relive old memories and to rebuild those friendships. We've also run into others who went to college with us years ago. Though they were only acquaintances then, we have a common bond and deeper friendships have developed, It's happened again that God has helped us see the light at the end of the tunnel.
We are now approaching the six-month anniversary of our shift and we are feeling pretty positive about the whole experience. We've survived the hard slog of those first few months, the stress of saying goodbye, the stress of starting afresh.
God has also blessed me again by helping me find gainful employment. It's always disheartening to walk away from all you've worked so hard to achieve, knowing full well that you have to start from the bottom up at the next job and once again work your way up. In all the moves we've made, I've never walked straight into another teaching job. I've always had to do the obligatory amount of days relief teaching just to prove I really can teach. Still, I've always ended up with a basic job that has turned into something better. This time is no exception.
There is a promise I have kept close to my heart (and stuck on the fridge door) that has helped me many times over the past months. It is Proverbs 3:5, 6 which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."
It's happened again . . . the great Advent move. I thank God I'm part of it!