I am not from a military family. Yet I have probably moved from place to place far more often than any military family I can think of. Was I moving from one state to another? No. One house to another? No. Then what were the locations that I constantly moved from? Schools and churches. The places that probably have the largest amount of people who love you. Probably the places that are the hardest to move from.
Yes, I do fully understand that change is natural. But I have been to nearly 15 churches, four middle schools and two high schools in my life. And I’m only a high school sophomore.
Why all this moving? Did criminals work at the schools? Were the churches uncaring and hostile? Absolutely not! The reason I have moved so much in my lifetime from various schools and churches has been for one reason: God gave my mother a restless heart.
My mother was always able to find faults in the schools I attended, be it a terrible teacher, a not-so-convenient distance from home or just a general dislike of how they run things. On average, I stayed at a middle school for one year. Sometimes we even left in the middle of the year. In my younger years, my mom switched back and forth between homeschooling my brother and I and sending us to the same elementary school I attended in second, half of fourth and fifth grade.
If the school switching was bad, the church switching was even worse. There is only one church I stayed at for longer than three years. That one was the hardest to leave. The usual reasons why we changed churches so frequently were far more complicated than the school switching reasons. They usually involved doctrine disagreements, lack of love and unification and poor pastoral leadership. I stayed at one church on average for about six months to 16 months. I have visited about every branch and denomination of Christianity, including non-denominational (another term for Protestant beliefs in general).
I used to be so angry and bitter about the constant church and school switching. It ruined my parent’s marriage, my brother’s and my social lives and affected my school performance. Up until this Sunday, I held onto this bitterness and refused to understand why we moved so much. I was often angry at my mom about it.
Then, I started to experience that restless feeling in my heart myself. I didn’t understand it. I resisted it. The church I am currently attending is wonderful. The people are wonderful. They really opened their arms and accepted us. I wrestled with God. Why must I change again? I’ve suffered so much from this change; why must I do it yet again? Why am I becoming my mother? Do you know that this will affect my brother, not just me? Why? I fought for weeks.
Then, one Sunday, as I left the church service crying and struggling emotionally, I realized why God wanted me to change. It was His will for my life. And He has done it before. Whenever I try to get comfortable in my little cozy world of routine (having Asperger’s Syndrome, routine is an absolute must), God sweeps me off my feet into an unexpected adventure. No comfort zones allowed. And through it, He has done miraculous things in my life and others far beyond anything I can possibly imagine. So, as I stand at the doorstep of my church preparing to leave, I am ready for my next adventure.
In the movie “The Sound of Music,” Maria quotes, “Whenever the Lord closes a door, He always opens a window.” God has opened window after window in my life after a hard change. Through my parent’s divorce, He opened the window of compassion. By closing the numerous church and school doors, He has taught me to treat every friend as precious.
And now, as yet another church door is being shut, I will soon have to say goodbye to my friends. It will be immensely difficult. I love them all, and they have left a huge imprint on my heart. However, as I hoist myself on the wings of a dove and prepare for the next gust, I know that they will always stay with me. God will not let me forget the wonderful love and compassion they bestowed on me. And being only 16, it truly is not the end. It is the beginning of a grand adventure that only God can create. “This is the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23
Written by PI Girl Anna Joy
Do you have words of wisdom you want to share with the PI community? Submit your own article here!