The funny thing about parenting is that it's not all about teaching what you unswervingly know, but rather, more often about learning as you teach... well, learning as I teach, since this is from my experience and perspective. In other words, as I guide them, I find myself becoming my own guide.
By example, our family has recently begun a huge shift; we have stopped attending the church where we've attended for 6 years and are starting fresh. Perhaps you are reading this and don't see the magnitude of that statement. It's like moving to a new country, or joining a new family. You have to understand that the people with whom we attended at our old church were our family. They were the people that we saw 2-3, sometimes even 4 times per week. We were witness to couples announcing their courtship, then their wedding date, then the birth of their first child. Those people were people that I thanked God for each and every day. They were OUR people.
But, God, as unchanging as He may be, is not tied to our comfort. He asked Abraham to take his immediate family and leave his community for a place unknown, and in many ways, that is exactly what God asked of us. Once we determined that we needed to start making preparations to make the move, we made them. It was sudden and scary and weird, but we did it.
Rob and I are resilient, we can pretty much roll with anything, because after 16 years together we've experienced quite a bit of change, surprise, disappointment, fear of the unknown, joy, etc. However, we have 4 little ones at home that don't roll as smoothly and I didn't realize what I was asking of them until the tears began to flow.
When that happened:
I began consoling them, that didn't work.
I began commanding them, that didn't work.
Finally, I began encouraging them with the Word of God. It just flowed out of me. Then the most amazing thing happened, I was encouraged.
You see, 75% of me (perhaps a tad more) didn't want to make the change. Staying would be so much easier. I'm an an introvert, sprinkled with just a touch of social awkwardness. Meeting people is not easy for me; it makes my stomach hurt, literally for the most part. It took me 6 years to build the relationships I had, 6 years to feel increasingly at home when I stepped onto campus, and most importantly 6 years to find just the perfect seat.
Ok, that last one, probably wasn't THAT important, but it was nice. In fact, not that I went to church at a bar, but for me my church was much like the T.V. show Cheers. When I stepped onto campus for any given event, gathering, service or meeting I would hear "BRINAAAAA!!!" somewhere, even at a distance. It was my Cheers. If you could somehow merge Diane and Carla, you'd get me. Odd, but true.
In case you think I loved my old church simply for the community we were a part of, I most especially loved it because of God's presence, the truth of His Word being shared and the growth that occurred for my family there.
I think you get the point, I loved my church. But, in speaking with my boys about the impending change, I began to tell them of the Israelites and how along their journey through the wilderness they had the opportunity to move when God said to move and remain under His grace and blessing and enter their promised land, or they could hesitate in disobedience and miss their opportunity. We did a little pop-quiz on the name of the 2 smart spies (Jacob won $1) and just explored that situation.
At the end of our discussion, they better understood why we had to do what God asked of us and, frankly, I did to. He has something more for us in this new place. Something that He's intended all along.
So what did I learn while I was tryin' to learn my kids some Bible stuff? I learned that God's ultimate goal for our life is not sedentary comfort, but rather that we would be in His presence under His grace and blessing all the days of our lives, where ever that might lead.
You gotta move when God says move. So we did.