It was one year ago today that Jill and our grandson, Drew, moved back to Indiana from Oklahoma. Janet and I had assumed that we would no longer have all our children within minutes of our home when Jill made the decision to move more than seventeen years ago. To be truthful, it was a bittersweet time. We recognized that Jill had her own life to live and we respected that.
When Drew was born, we were sad that we would only see him occasionally, but once again, we knew that Jill and her family would have to determine their own destiny. After all, Janet and I moved to Indiana back in September, 1982 with our three children and made a life here miles away from our closest relatives. It was a business necessity that caused us to make the transition and as difficult as I know it was for Janet, we made the move to start a new life here.
On balance, I think that it has worked out great for all of us. Indiana has been a wonderful place for us to raise the kids; and now our grandchildren. We could never have anticipated all the twists and turns our lives have taken since moving day back in 1982. Schooling, jobs, marriages, successes and even some failures along the road have given our family some wonderful memories. It was here that I attended seminary as well – and that event changed my life in dramatic ways.
We were blessed that Jill and Drew returned here at Christmas and several times throughout each year. That way, Drew has had an opportunity to have a foot in both worlds – Oklahoma and Indiana. Then, last May, we were thrilled when Jill and Drew made the trek back to Indiana – to stay.
Since then, Drew has celebrated a birthday here, attended summer camps and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workshops. Jill has a fantastic job, they have purchased a home and our four grandsons have become much better acquainted. Janet and I have all our children here as well as all of our grandchildren. We never thought that this would ever happen.
The transition hasn’t been without some adjustment. Family gatherings have more faces at the table and we don’t have to plan for long absences apart from one another. And there is the fact that the kids all have their own lives and while our home may be Grand Central, each of our children have their own traits and the ways that they interact with Janet and me. While they all grew up in the same household, they are quite different. It has been interesting to see how they have reacquainted themselves with one another.
And each night, Janet and I thank God that we have been so blessed with our family. Little did we ever think when we first got married, that we would have had this kind of ride. Who could have ever guessed it? And truth is stranger than fiction – I could never have written this scenario – never….
So life goes on – with the family intact and all in one area. It feels good. As I reflect back on the twists and turns, I know that God had His finger on our family from the start. Our verse for tonight is a familiar one from the the prophet Jeremiah. He tells us, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My encouragement tonight is that God has plans for each of us and they are far better plans than we can possibly imagine. Even when you think that things are set in stone, God can send us a surprise and reorder our entire lives. My prayer tonight is that we will always acknowledge the way that God can surprise us with His creativity and the way that He brings all things together for good. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…