The trucks had been loaded, the pot plants were gone and the house had been left shining like the top of the Chrysler building. I had been the last one left to leave and I had wanted to take just a moment to reflect on our whirlwind relocation and the past six years spent here. This house had been our “begin again” house, built following the recession of 2007-2009, almost a year after selling our previous home and finalising our business. It had been the biggest house on the cheapest block, and all that we could afford. It may have had no frills, except for the kitchen cupboards, but it had been an incredible blessing and a fulfilment of the promise, that God would provide for us.
It was funny, the things that had sprang to mind, as I had sat there remembering all of the hours of hard work that it had taken to build the gardens, the deck and the driveway. I had remembered my Mum living in a friend’s caravan on the front lawn, whilst her own house was being built. And I had smiled, shaking my head as I had remembered how blessed we were that it didn’t burn the house down, the day that it caught on fire. I had remembered bringing Monty home from hospital, to the first real nursery that I had ever prepared, in the home where she had taken all of her monumental firsts. I had looked over to the boardwalk and I could still see her learning to fly her kite and ride her bike as she had raced up the length of it. I remembered both the elder kids getting their L’s and their P’s here and driving out the driveway on their own for the very first time. I had looked over at the garage door and remembered the annual first day of school photos, with all the kids lined up in front of it. We had seen beginnings of kindergarten and high school, and graduations from senior school and university. There had been many milestone memories in this house, and I was left with a sense of thankfulness and gratitude for the season in our lives when our family was growing to independence, the season when our family unit was together.
Standing pride of place in the middle of the front yard was my ornamental pear tree. A gardener, I am not, but I had planted and nurtured this particular tree, which had now grown strong and beautiful over the past few years, a gift that had thoroughly blessed my heart every September, when I would see the first buds of blossom, signifying the changing season. As I had looked at the tree now at the end of summer, so lush, leafy and full of promise, I had realised metaphorically, that this is exactly how I felt about the new season ahead of us.
We were all born here in this region, yet now we were leaving behind all that we had ever known, including our jobs, our friendships, and our church community. We were saying goodbye to our siblings, parents and our precious elder children, both of whom were content to stay here in this region, living their own lives. The magnitude of leaving could have felt overwhelming all things considered, but as I said goodbye to our family home it didn’t, I was full of thanksgiving to the Lord for all the family blessings and wonderful memories that we have encountered here, but I was just as thankful that I was leaving the battleground, still in one piece.
Later on that evening at my Mum’s our family had prepared a small farewell for us, and my eldest daughter presented me with a gift, it was a beautiful and professional illustration that she had done of our home. “I know that you are leaving it” She had said “But I wanted to give you something to remember our family home, well the longest house that we had ever lived in”. This beautiful gift had resonated profoundly within me, not because I had developed a deep attachment to the house, but because of all that the God had shown me only an hour earlier, as I had sat out the front, thanking Him for the beautiful memories that my family had made there.
There were many tears that night, but somewhat strangely for everyone else, they were not from me. I would genuinely miss my family that is a given, but as the memories of the past few years flashed in my thoughts, and the truth of the pressure, the grief and the pain, boldly stares me in the face, I know assuredly, that I have cried all the tears that I can cry. I know that this move, is the suddenly moment, that has picked me up out the pit and set my feet once again upon the rock. This move is about God picking up the broken arrow of my life, that once never missed its target, and carefully putting it back together.
I know that it’s probably hard for my family to understand the reason why I am not sad, because in order to understand the relief, they would have had to understand the grief, and letting people in is not something that I am good at. Of course they had been able to visibly see the constant flow of tears, that had over time probably de-sensitised them to the fact that something was terribly wrong, but what they didn’t know is how much more heartbreaking their tears would have been now, had the battle not been won.
This new season is truly a gift of life, it is a time of restoration, in so many areas and I believe that as a family, including my eldest children that we will all flourish and grow in this season. I don’t know what the future looks like, and I don’t know what God has planned for me to do, but I know without a doubt that He is preparing a place for me. Right now I have long service leave and until such time as that leave is up, my plan is to worship Him, wait on Him, set up our new house, settle all of our kids into our new lives and prepare for our new future, in peace and in trust knowing that God has everything in control; and that the season of sorrows is finally over.