I remember the first time my husband told our children he wants to see them “enjoying God, family and nature.” I remember thinking, “Ooooohh that’s good!” Personally speaking, I know when I am not enjoying God, family or nature, I am definitely not my best self. As a Christian family, we believe God has not only revealed Himself through His Word. He has also shown us His attributes through the world He created for us to enjoy.
On a day in our new state when we just weren’t seeing eye to eye and everyone seemed to have a case of the grumps, it was clear we needed a change of scenery. If you don’t already have the All Trails app on your phone, you should go download it right now (and no I am not a paid sponsor – you just really need the app – especially if you’re living in a new place and you’re not sure where to go when you need to get out). I loaded up the app and searched for light hiking around me. Cheeks Bend View Trail piqued my interest because there were several comments about the beautiful caves and how it did require a little searching to find them but that once you did, it was well worth the effort.
I grabbed my kid who most needed to get away and we headed out for a hike, not really knowing what to expect but knowing one thing was for certain… We needed out of the house ASAP!
Driving through beautiful green hilly roads with cattle grazing and birds singing was just the ticket to snap us out of our funky attitudes and remind us: 1. there’s a great big world out there; and 2. there’s a great big God Who made it for us. We chatted about the caves that were supposedly hidden from sight and debated who would find them first. Our worries melted away as our eyes were redirected to the unmistakable kindness of God in the beauty we saw literally all around us.
As anyone with a teenager knows, once the verbal juices get flowing they are never short lived. I loved hearing my son open up about this and that as we drove along and I thanked God as I realized He has provided a therapist right outside our door. He truly has supplied our every need, and it’s usually with very simple means of His grace, not liver quivers and feathers falling from Heaven.
Cheeks bend was a pretty light hike but the search for the caves was trickier than we anticipated. We even asked a hiker who said she had been there before if she could point us in the right direction and she said she was having a hard time locating them again. Just when I thought, “I’m over this. Let’s call it a day and we’ll try to find these stupid caves another time”, my son insisted we go off the trail down a big ditch. I really felt it was the wrong move but I figured this was a good opportunity to let him lead and if going in this actual ditch helped us out of the rut we were in at home, I figured we should take it!
You know what? My son was right. He found one of the caves and let me tell you, it was a little scary walking into, but the element of adventure and danger created a memory with my favorite 14 year old that we’ll share forever. (You’re welcome to mock my timidity walking into the cave in this short video here : http://redstateramblings.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/IMG_1965.mov)
New terrain often brings with it new weather patterns you were not accustomed to in your old state. As I type this, I am listening to loud thunder and pouring rain. It teaches me that God is not always gentle, mild and sunny. He is a mighty God, angry at sin, infinitely wiser, more powerful and completely sovereign over every aspect of my life and yours. Job 36:32 says, “He covers His hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares His presence; the cattle also declare that He rises.”
If you are in your new state, observing new weather and new terrain and you’re missing everything about where you came from, stop it. Look around the place where God has you right now. It is not a mistake you are where you are. What is He trying to teach you about His attributes? What new thing, new inspiration, new joy can you find in all the newness around you?
Striving to be a person who can easily adapt to changes in circumstances because of your awe of God and what He has done and can do, will be a huge benefit to both you and your family during this transition and all of the transitions you go through in life.
Although a very common struggle after a big move is a desire to “hide out” away from all the newness around you, it’s crucial you fight that desire with the bravery needed to embrace the newness. If you have children, think about it this way. Do you want them to be afraid in their new schools? Should they hide out away from new opportunity because of all of the “What if’s”? NO! Using discernment and considering their unique giftings and interests, you would want them to jump on the opportunities God provides to experience life to the fullest. So, set that example for them in how you spend your days in your new state.
A move, like anything else in life, can be used to draw a person closer to the joy, truth and security found in the Maker of Heaven and Earth or it can be used to do the exact opposite – to instill doubt, confusion and ultimately unbelief and rebellion. Choose to be intentional about which direction your family will go. Keep them inspired. Offer comfort (more on providing practical comfort to your family after a big move can be found here: http://redstateramblings.com/5-tips-for-comforting-your-family-during-a-big-move/) and trust that God never ever gets it wrong. Wherever you are right now is where the Lord has you. See it, experience it, and learn to love it.