By Gina Butz
Leaving East Asia was devastating for our son, Ethan. We left behind what felt like an almost idyllic community setting. Our last year there, we knew about 60 school age kids, most of them homeschooled like ours, who lived within a two-mile radius of us. Scarcely a day went by that our kids weren’t outside with friends they’d known all their lives.
Several nights that first year here, Ethan cried himself to sleep. “It was so perfect!” he would say as he recalled our previous experience.
It was over two years before he surprised us one day by announcing that he was joining the archery team at school. When he came home from the first practice and declared, “Mom, I finally feel like I’m part of a group again,” I breathed a sigh of relief. That group became an enviable squad of guys and girls who stuck close by him through the rest of high school and graduation.
The night before he left for college, as we talked and prayed about this new season, he lamented, “I’ve had such an amazing group of friends here. I don’t know how I’ll ever find something like that again.”
I’m normally a pretty empathetic mom, but in that moment my gut response was, “Are you kidding me??”
I reminded him of those early days here, when he grieved the loss of his friendships from overseas, how he thought he would never have that again. I pointed out that these friends he was leaving behind were an unexpected provision of God’s, just like those childhood friends. The God who provided his friends overseas is the same God who provided for him in this season. Would He not then go ahead and provide for him in the next one?
While the transient life of an MK can be discouraging, it can also be a way for us to witness God’s faithfulness. While we cannot say how God will provide, or when (we certainly wouldn’t have chosen for Ethan to have to wait two years for God to give him the group of friends he did here) we know that He goes before us into each new season.
He sees our needs. He knows how He will provide for them. But it’s easy to forget this.
That’s why it’s so important for us to be in a practice of recounting His faithfulness. As we take time to consider the gifts He has given us in each place, we are encouraged to look forward with hope when He calls us to move on.
Two years later, Ethan is doing well in college. God has provided once again, with solid community in his church and other places. Each season that God brings us to is an opportunity to see Him provide for us, and to encourage us to trust that He will be good.
Gina recently wrote her first book, Making Peace with Change: Navigating Life’s Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace, which releases in February. We are so excited to share this book with you and look forward to having Gina as a guest writer with us in the future!