Shortly before he died, Joseph wrote a paper, “The Blessings of Unpopularity.” I’m following suit. This week, as the novelty of our recent move began to fade, I’ve been contemplating how difficult it is to live in unfamiliarity, and I’ve been searching for the blessings therein. The struggle’s been real!
Three months ago we moved three hours away from our community of 31 years, leaving behind the people and places we’ve loved our entire adult lives. In our younger years stepping into the unknown was an adventure. In our late 50’s, it depletes our energy.
Our new town is unfamiliar. We get lost. When we walk into a business, nobody knows our names. Our neighbors are unfamiliar. We didn’t grow into adulthood or raise children together. We have no history. Our church is unfamiliar. It’s much larger than the one we founded and were members of for the last twenty-nine years, and they don’t know us well enough yet to know if we’re religious nuts, satan worshipers, or faithful followers of Christ. Our home is unfamiliar. There are no marks on the back of the basement door where we measured our boys as they grew. There are no memories of teenage boys playing basketball in the driveway.
No matter where we lay our heads at night, our bodies are becoming increasingly unfamiliar. First thing every morning, The Boyfriend turns off the CPAP that helped him sleep. I reach for my eyeglasses so I can see the thyroid medication my body now requires on a daily basis.
So much of life has become unfamiliar – except God. He’s never changed.
We entered the most foreign of mission fields when we married young and raised three boys. Despite our youth, inexperience, and failures, each of our sons has placed his confidence in Christ.
We called upon Abba in the dark days and years following the death of our eldest son. His Holy Spirit gave us the faith we could never have mustered on our own to believe that life would eventually be ok.
More recently, we moved 150 miles out of our comfort zone. God provided a real estate agent who found us a new home to build. The builder happened to have a house we could rent temporarily. The former occupant happened to drop by to introduce herself. She so happens to attend the same church we do. She invited us to her small group, which happens to be just down the road from our rental. The people in the house group have warmly welcomed us into their town, their homes, and their lives. And we know – things never just happen. God’s hand was in every part of this transition.
We now live near our middle son and his family. We’re getting to know Curt, the adult. We’re able to help each other with projects and enjoy an occasional dinner together. We’re privileged to invest in the life of our grandson. We get to worship together every Sunday morning.
We see that God carries us through every season of life and sits with us in every valley. The trust tally proves that his love never wavers and that his faithfulness sustains. This is, after all, His story. These are the blessings of unfamiliarity.