There’s something about that saying, “I want to go home.” We’ve been at the beach this past week with my fam and the kids had a blast playing in the ocean and the pool and going to the inlet to see Aunt Guyeth and catch crabs and play with Nemo the dog. It was a great week. But it’s funny, every time Enoch would get tired or cranky or even not get his way, he would say, “I want to go home.”
Now that didn’t mean that he really wanted to go home. We would ask him if he wanted to pack everything up and get in the car, and of course he said no. But there’s something about saying, “I want to go home.”
This past Wednesday parsonage families across the South Carolina Annual Conference moved. These families are always close to my heart during this time of year because I remember how that was as a preacher’s kid in a parsonage family myself. I don’t attempt to speak for all preacher’s kids because we all have different experiences and see things differently, but for me “home” was a big concept.
In the early years, my two brothers and I were sent to our grandparents house while Mom and Dad moved everything from one house to another. They would set up our rooms with the our “stuff” and toys in them and it would feel a little more like home by the time we got there. In one of these first houses, apparently I wrote my name and our phone number on the mattress in my bedroom in case it got lost. I didn’t realize that not even the bed came with us and this was a running joke for the family that came after us.
We’ve gone down the road of explaining to people, yep, in our church one family moves out in the morning and another family moves into the parsonage in the afternoon. For some reason, that’s a hard one for people to get. It is a little strange.
As we got older we knew that when Mom started playing Steven Curtis Chapman’s “For the Sake of the Call” that we better get ready to move. The Spring around the Cabinet convening time was always a time of anticipation/nervousness/fear that this would be the year when we moved. And different families do this so many different ways in terms of how it’s communicated to kids, how the transition is made, how much of your own furniture goes, preparing the child to move, etc.
Now I want say that every move was great. Or that every transition was smooth. Or that each of us felt the same way about each place we lived. There were definitely highs and lows and everything in between at each place. But however we were taught to understand it, we knew that we were moving and that this wasn’t just something that was Dad’s job – it was his calling and that God would take care of us too. Does that mean everything was always sunny and rosy? Nope. But I think I can speak for Josh and Caleb as well when I say that we wouldn’t be the people we are today if not for all of these experiences.
Even those times when we would say, “I want to go home.” And that home be a house that now had another family living in it at our old church. Some clergy couple friends have said that their daughter is having a hard time saying goodbye to her friends and her school and I totally get that. It’s hard and tough and not fun. And not all of us cope well. Not everyone makes new friends easily and wants to leave the old town behind, but I think there are a great many of us that learn some things about ourselves along the way – making new friends, being able to talk to a wide variety of people, seeing different places and different communities and how different churches work, and all sorts of things that are just engrained.
So blessings on those this week in between “homes” and trust that not just home is where the heart is but home is also where you make it and how you create it. Even if it’s the one picture hung on the wall or that one stuffed animal or everyone being together. May we know and trust that our home is with God and that it’s not just something we cling to when we’re scared or angry or things aren’t going our way, but is something that is eternal and can’t be taken from us. May we feel it and may we know it.
Prayer for Moving Preacher’s Kids
Lord Jesus, please bless all of these children moving this week whether they’re toddlers to teenagers. Give them peace and strength and courage as they move from place to place. Help the move be an easy one. Give them the friends that they need and the comforts and hope they need for them to feel at home. Create a haven and shelter for them in this new place and a community of faith and support to surround them and lift them in this time of transition and uncertainty. Provide the teachers, youth leaders, people that will give them that word of encouragement and will nurture and help them grow into the people you created them to be. Give their parents strength and clarity and the rest they need to not only be pastors and leaders but also spouses and parents. Give them the time and priorities and balance of both church and family and the vision and tenacity to know what needs to happen when. Help these families find the special things that they need and locate the right box or restaurant or grocery store or park. Give them not just a physical house, but a real and spiritual home. Help make their way easier and for them to know and trust in your providence and love for them. Surround them in your grace and peace that they may be wrapped in your mercies anew each day. In your name we pray. Amen.