When Kimmi first went to college, the school advised the students to stay on campus once classes started for at least six weeks before going home for a visit. The purpose behind that recommendation is that it helps them engage with the other students and the college community as well as cutting ties with home a bit (getting used to being away from home). I think it’s a great idea and though it was a hard adjustment at first (probably harder for me than for her), it did help Kimmi step into the college phase of her life more on her own. She began “leaving” the phase of life she had with us at home – an important, necessary step to growing up.
When first away at school it might be easy for kids to keep wanting to go home and be in the familiar, comfortable situation they just came from. Looking back, the grass might seem greener at home in the past where their high school friends lived, where they were comfortable in a home church and so on. If they’ll turn around and look forward, however, step out and give it time, they find that independence, new friendships, experiences, possibilities and more can become their new “normal” and be pretty exciting. They can change and grow, becoming more and more of who they are meant to be. The world opens up in new ways that they wouldn’t have known if they went back and stayed at home.
I realize that sometimes when I look back the grass looks greener in the past. This past weekend we went “home” to Indiana to attend our college homecoming weekend, see our college girls, and attend church where we did when we lived there. We saw many old friends, enjoyed beautiful sunny fall weather, were blessed by a moving, encouraging worship service at church, and spent some really good quality time with our daughters.
John and I both agreed today that a little part of ourselves felt like it would be nice to go back there to stay. It was comfortable there for us in many ways and we have lots of dear friends there. We fit in and knew our place. We have a lot of history there, too, all the way back to before we got married so of course it feels like home.
If I am honest when I look back though, I also see the tough times and challenges we had. I also keep hearing God’s voice calling to me to turn around and look ahead. Maybe we shouldn’t go back again for a while. Maybe right now going back makes it harder to disengage from that part of our lives and connect in this new one where we find ourselves now.
I feel like a college kid who’s left home and needs to be willing to break away from “home” and step into the new phase God’s showing me. There is a lot of good in this new place, lots of good people, good possibilities, beautiful surroundings. It’s just new and it takes time to settle in. He promised He would never leave or forsake me. He promised times of rest in green pastures by quiet waters. He promised a hand to hold when I’m tired, lonely or struggling. He led us here and wants us to live in this day, not yesterday. He is the same yesterday, today and for always so even though other things and scenarios change, we can lean on Him and know He will be steady and sure.
Sometimes the grass looks greener in the past, but I want to walk with Jesus in the here and now, trusting Him to lead me to good things ahead.
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
Jeremiah 29:11 The Message