Rooted In Wonder:
Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation
Master Naturalist, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mama of four! Join our adventures of discovering God while adventuring in creation.
I heard him whimpering behind the closed door. Moments before he had been sent crying to his room for bad behavior. This was not my boy. He kept promising to listen and obey, and then failing to deliver on that vow. I knew fatigue played into his non-characteristic behavior—the child hadn’t napped in a week. But there was more; something deeper, something troubling, something he could not tame.
I crept in and placed one foot followed by another into the wooden ladder of the bed his Daddy made for him. I snuggled in beside him and pulled him near. He turned into me and the tears began to flow.
“What’s bothering you?” I asked. He tried to gather his words; to push them through the sobs. He managed to still his quivering lip for a moment, and choked out the words, “I’m just sad.” I wrapped my arms tighter around his little body.
“Does thinking about moving make you sad?” I asked.
“Yes.” he replies. I whispered silent prayers. Lord give me the words.
“What makes you sad when you think about moving?” I press on gently. At four years old, his spirit is fragile, this sensitive boy of mine.
“I just want to be with you.” He replies.
“Oh honey,” tears sting my own eyes now, “I will always be here for you. When we move, I will be here with you.”
“I’m just sad.” he says, unable to explain his emotions any further.
“Are you scared when you think about moving?” I ask.
“Yes.” he replies.
This is when I begin to doubt our decision. I wonder if this is right; if he can handle it. Emotions cloud what I know to be certain. I press my face into his hair and take in his scent.
“When you think about moving, what makes you sad?” I ask him.
He thinks, and I can see his mind straining, trying to form his fears, his emotions, his unknowns into words, He mumbles something about a dinosaur. I assure him there will be no dinosaurs.
I walk him through the process, step by step. Today we’ll clean. Tonight someone will come look at our house, decide whether they want to buy it. If they do, there will be many days of getting ready. Some things we will get rid of, but we will keep his favorite toys. Yes, we will bring your cars and books. Yes, we will bring our dog. His body begins to relax in my embrace.
We’ll find a new house, we’ll make new friends. “Things will change,” I tell him, “but even when that change is sad or scary, we’ll be there for you. And when you feel afraid or sad, you can talk to us.”
I pray he always will.
And he does, over the following weeks he brings up his concerns and fears, dotting our everyday conversation with thoughts of what our new home might be like, and asking how we will make new friends. I see the fragility of his spirit through glossy eyes and a quivering lip as we leave his friend’s house, and I explain that we won’t be seeing him for a while.
One morning about a week before we move, I can tell that he is struggling. I might be, too. I busy myself with packing lists and projects. I have been shrugging him off, apologizing for my busyness and suggesting he goes and plays.
He lays down on the floor, pulling a blanket around him, and welcomes the heat of the furnace blowing against him. I set my laptop down next to me, and crawl underneath the blanket next to him. For days it has been like walking on eggs shells with him.
I begin with the same question we’ve been revisiting to for weeks. “How are you feeling about moving?”
His face turns from sad to angry. “It just makes me a little bit mad.” he tells me.
“Why does it make you mad?” I ask.
“Because I want to stay here and move to the mountains.” he explains.
His words are saturated in grief. This four-year-old boy of mine is mourning the loss of what has been his life for the past couple of years. I can feel the pain in his heart, because the same pain resides in my own. He has voiced what I have been afraid to. I picture myself just that morning, standing next to my husband in church, his hand in mine, and the tears I fought back all through the service. Tears of grieving, of leaving behind everyone and everything that has become so woven into who we are.
It is often these difficult decisions and big changes that make up an intentional life. They are choices that we know will cause our children, and ourselves, some pain, but will ultimately lead us on to the great things that God has in store for us. And as we go through the mourning of losing what was, we find that we have a Heavenly Father whispering into our spirits the same words I spoke to my son as we laid curled up on the floor next to the heating vent.
In the big changes of life, just as I promised my son, our Heavenly Father promises to us, “I’m here, my child. It’s ok to be sad. But take heart, I have great things in store for you. Just trust me, take My hand, and follow My lead. We’re on this adventure together.”
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
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