We live in Istanbul. We’ve been here six years. We’re moving back to England next year.
Two of our children are fine with that. Two are not.
The last few days have been full of questions and assertions from my two children who want to stay here.
“Are we definitely moving back to England?”
“I don’t want to leave Turkey.”
“I just don’t get it. There’s no logical reason to move back.”
“Why don’t we ever have a choice in where we go?”
“Why do we just have to follow you, and do what you want to do?”
“I don’t want to leave my friends.”
I understand. This is home for them. They have a wonderful school life and fantastic friends, with the deep relationships that come from being lumped together with kids of many nations, sharing the same experience of being foreigners in Istanbul.
I don’t want to give them glib answers:
“You can still keep in touch with your friends via Skype.”
“It’s OK, you’ll make lots of new friends once we’re back in England.”
It may be true, but it doesn’t take away the pain of leaving friends.
It doesn’t take away the year ahead of upset at the thought of leaving.
I want to acknowledge what they are feeling. It is real. It is heartfelt.
My daughter, in tears, begs me that we can stay. I’m in tears too. All I can say is, “I’m sorry. I’m so very, very sorry.”
It’s hard not to feel guilty. It’s hard not to feel like we’re messing up our kids.
It’s hard to see my kids so upset, when there’s nothing I can do to change the situation...
And I’ve realized that’s what we need to do. Pray.
We need to pray as a family.
That and be more vulnerable. Together. In. This.
And so we call a family meeting. We give each one a turn to share their heart. We share the good things and the bad. We cry together. And we pray.
And now, some months on, next summer has become this summer. Our flights are booked. Just a few short weeks away.
There’s still mixed feelings. There’s still sadness. It’s natural of course. We will leave something of our hearts behind.
But, God has worked. And now I hear:
“When we’re in England, I’m going to make my bedroom the nicest one ever.”
“In England, I want to call my new kitten ‘Cookie’ but Dave (older brother) says he’s going to call his dog ‘Cookie Monster’!”
“I can’t wait to live near James and Jessie.” (cousins)
“We can eat bacon everyday!”
“We won’t get stuck in traffic anymore.”
My daughter is even choosing her new school by carefully searching sites and seeing what colour uniform she likes best!
Yes, change comes.
Yes, change is hard.
Especially when it happens to those you love who did not ask for it.
And, yes, there’s always more change to come.
But the amazing thing is:
Prayer changes change!
And in the change God changes us.
So, if you are in a season of difficult change, take hope. If your children are in a season of difficult change, take hope.
Pray. Be together in it. Vulnerable. Praying.
Change will change. You will change.
Our faithful God will never change.
Extra Note: In our time of change, I’ve realized the huge importance of loving my husband and kids extra intentionally. Security and love go a long way in easing transition. As a family we are using The Cultivate Love Challenge: 50+ Ideas and Resources to Help Your Family Grow in Love, a free resource available on my site MumsKidsJesus.com. Just click the link. I’ve also started praying for my husband daily. He carries a lot of the practical weight of our move – selling up here, and starting new in the UK. I’m so enjoying praying for him (which has surprised me!) that I’ve written a mini eCourse called Enjoy 7 Days of Praying For Your Husband. Just click the link, and scroll down the post to sign up for free. (These resources are for anyone, not just those in transition. Enjoy!)
And now it’s your turn:
How have your kids coped or not coped with change?
How has prayer changed your change?
I’d love to know. Leave a comment below.