Moving sometimes feels like God’s ultimate character-training ground.
And when you’re moving with four young kids, it’s a faith-growing opportunity for the whole family.
When we first started this process, I didn’t even want to get my kids’ hopes up too much about all the possibilities of a new house. I organized closets, purged junk, and packed up boxes for storage without telling them why.
It wasn’t until they were all gone for a day and I painted their room that I finally fessed up.
The confession went something like this:
“While you girls are gone, I’m going to repaint your room.”
“What?!! Paint?!! I hope it’ll still be purple!!!”
And that was it, the big moment when I had to share the news.
“Well, actually, no, the whole point is to cover over the purple. You see, we’re preparing the house to sell it and that means making the rooms neutral colors. Your walls will be cream.”
Long pause. Long, long pause.
An initially disappointed face: “Cream? Cream? I really liked the purple.”
Then the news sinks in. “Wait!! We’re going to try to move?!!!!”
And oh the ups and downs of moving have involved us all. I tried to prep the girls’ hearts for how long it may take to sell our house or what it all involves. How we shouldn’t get our hearts set on a particular house unless our contract is accepted.
Truthfully, though, God has been so good to us and the process has been fairly smooth as far as these processes ever go. But what I love the most is how my kids celebrate the good things He has done.
When a buyer put an offer on our house so quickly after we put it on the market, one of my girls said, “Look how God answered our prayers! We prayed this would be fast and He did that for us!”
When we picked the new house and it had the right number of bedrooms and was still in their beloved school district, one of my daughters said, “God really gave us what we needed!”
And as we worked through inspections and repairs and all the prep work for moving, they prayed right along with us for God to help the process go smoothly.
We’re actually still praying!
They are engaging in active faith and using the language of faith. They are turning to prayer in times of need and praising God for answering the prayers we offer.
And it’s a beautiful thing.
In life, there are some things we can’t always share with our children, not completely, especially not when they’re young. We shield them from some of the hardest and scariest situations..
But there are also times and seasons when it’s right to draw them in to see how our faith fares when we don’t know all the answers.
What does faith look like when we’re waiting?
When we’re uncertain?
When we’re hurt?
When we’re disappointed?
If our tweens and teens think faith is easy, what will happen when decisions are hard and oppression is real and personal?
I’ve been feeling a heart-check, the need to make sure my faith is sincere and to live that out with my kids.
When I say, “God answered our prayers,” I need to make sure that’s the truth, that my kids knew I was praying….and they see how God came through.
I find that Paul slips this word “sincerity” into his letters quietly and frequently (2 Corinthians 11:3, Philippians 1:17, 1 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 1:5).
He doesn’t lay out a long sermon about what sincere faith looks like, but he makes this consistent distinction.
Don’t just have faith.
Have sincere faith.
Maybe it was the former Pharisee in Paul showing through here. Genuine faith mattered to him because otherwise it’s just show and outward actions.
This is what Paul says about Timothy:
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well (2 Timothy 1:5 ESV).
Timothy’s sincere faith is something he learned from his mom, who learned it from his grandmother.
Because they were the real deal, Timothy grew to be the real deal also.
This is what I want for my kids and what I want for me–a lifelong legacy of “real-deal faith.”
May our faith be sincere, rooted so deep-down within us that our automatic response to trouble is the fruit of belief: prayerfulness, trust, confidence in God.
May our faith be genuine, not just outward show with Christian catch-phrases and good-girl actions, but a life led sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.