My husband and I will be relocating soon. God has provided an essential promotion at just the right time in answer to our fervent prayers. Right now, at this time, the Lord has done it. God cares for us.

Yet answers to prayer usually involve spiritual growth, which means difficult struggles and stretching experiences. The Lord works gently, transforming us into the image of Christ. He is most concerned with our character, our holiness, and our growth.

When the economy crashed in the 1990s, right in the middle of our childrearing years, we had to learn this lesson. My husband’s salary was frozen for more than a decade, and our growing family was under siege (see the short film below). We had to move six times in seven years. 

Those seven years of constant moving began when our oldest children were in high school and then college, resulting in kids flung far and wide all over the country, and giving most of our kids only us, and not a physical location, as “home base.”

Because we adore our children, our dream was that we would all live close to one another and that we would see one another often. But now we have east-coasters. We have residents of hurricane alley. We have mountain dwellers, and we have a Midwesterner. The entire group is no longer partial to the same kind of location.

Our scattered condition is where I often forget God’s sovereign goodness. This is my “if only”/ “what if” struggle, a place of constant inner turmoil.

What if we’d been able to stay there? If only we could live near one another!

The best choice my husband and I ever made was to raise a large family. We devoted forty years to the most fulfilling, joy-filled, and awe-inspiring task of our lives, and we want to be near ALL of them! But now, we are only a few years from retirement. They’re not all in one spot, and, given our history, drastic financial steps are required.

When my husband cast wide the net for promotions, he picked between the geographic areas where our children reside, knowing we couldn’t be everywhere simultaneously. We also needed a lower cost of living, and he had to plan for my physical welfare with my autoimmune disease. He’s that kind of guy. Responsible. Hardworking. Faithful. The guy who can and does make the hard decisions. That puts us moving to Texas soon.

As I struggle with the “what ifs” and the “if only’s” of our scattered family, I strive to keep foremost in my mind the truth of how God orchestrated these things for our good. This is a spiritual discipline. Faith is not a feeling.

Often I fail, and I’m overwhelmed by the angst of my questions. Repeatedly and deliberately, I fix my eyes again on Jesus. I see his evident provision and timing. Even when I don’t understand, I make the choice to trust his promises and to rely on his strength. He will use all of this for our good and for the good of all our children. His Word has promised, and his actions have demonstrated it.

This is a test. Will I trust him? Will I be like the believers in Hebrews 11?

I choose to trust, regardless of the “what ifs” and the “if only’s.” Even in the fact of no physical “home base” other than a parental one, God provides a beautiful image of reality. This world is not our home, yet we all yearn for a perfect home, a restful place. He is that home. These truths comfort me whenever my heart breaks over our scattered condition.