I was not quite seven years old when my family moved from Tempe, Arizona to Bloomington, Illinois.
I still remember hiding myself in the living room drapes, peeking out every now and then to glare at the movers as they emptied our home of everything familiar. I watched, indignant and despairing, as if these men were thieves rather than employees doing a job.
The next day, our family pulled out of the driveway for the last time, leaving behind my Holly Hobby bedroom, my first best friend, and the front yard willow tree underneath which I had discovered the magic of imagination. Within a week, the moving van met us in another state to deliver all our belongings to our new home. And although the belongings were the same, somehow my 6-year-old self knew I would never be. Life as I knew it came to an abrupt end.
More than three decades later, I still remember my 6-year-old grief
Significant and worthy, yes. But now, with a gentle buffer of years, I see our cross-country move with different eyes. Instead of loss, I see gain. I see the beautiful home my parents raised me in, sitting on one acre of country land and backing a horse farm. I see new best friends, the ones who shared birthdays, holidays and filled every high school memory I cherish.
And I see our church. Nestled in an insignificant Midwestern town, this church became the greater family that ushered me into an adult faith that carries me still. Men and women, parents and leaders, who nurtured the smallest seeds of faith in a six year old, eventually producing a young woman who didn’t want to go to church, but who wanted to be the church, just as they had been.
If I could talk to the little girl hidden in the drapes, I’d pull her close and reassure, “Although it feels like a painful end, this move will one day turn out to be a beautiful beginning. There’s something incredible waiting for you. But you can’t go there until you leave here.”
I now know endings are a normal part of life. Relationships will wane. Jobs will change. Some dreams may die. As I watch another spring bloom, I see evidence everywhere of prior endings. Browned leaves, bare tree branches and grass beginning to green. Our ever-changing seasons speak what all creation knows: All things have their time. Before the new can begin, the old must go.
Still, it isn’t easy. The unknown and unseen terrifies, and so we wrestle against it and hide in the drapes, glaring and despairing.
But what if we looked to Someone with a better vantage point?
Unbound by time, He sees endings with compassion and not an ounce of panic. What if we trusted Him to pack up all we hold dear and deliver it exactly where it needs to be?
He knows how it works out in the end. From the perspective of eternity, He sees what was, what is and what will be, all with a glance. And, never tiring, He weaves and works each beginning and ending into a story that can only be described and right and good (Romans 8:28).
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” —Isaiah 43:19
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Spring is the perfect time to think about new growth and potential life change. What needs to end so you can embrace a beginning?