Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Bigger Picture

I'm sure glad that God sees the bigger picture and orchestrates things to accomplish it, because right now, I'm sure not seeing it. This is my brother Matt and his family. Today, they are leaving Iowa and moving to Arizona. It isn't right, to my thinking. The day before Thanksgiving is when families are supposed to be coming together, not breaking apart. As it is, tomorrow, not a one of us will be together. My brother Andy, will be eating some turkey-less meal with his family in Minnesota, my parents will probably just eat turkey sandwiches in NE Iowa, Matt and Kirsti will be eating in a restaurant somewhere between here in the SW portion of the United States, and we'll be in central Iowa, eating a traditional meal in our little house.

Matt moved to Arizona following his college graduation in 1998. He soon landed a great job with some company with 3 letters for their name. I have a general idea of what he does, but I couldn't tell you what it is they manufacture. After a few years, Matt met a gal on e-Harmony, bought a house, and married the girl - all within a space of 10 months. After starting their own family, Matt and Kirsti began to feel a bit lonely for some closer family ties. Matt's family was here in the Midwest and Kirsti's in the Pacific Northwest. So they began praying about moving closer to family - one or the other. After a while, it became evident that the Midwest might be a better choice and they began to pray specifically that God would open up just the right job for Matt. They resisted the temptation to move up here without having a job in place, which was wise, but it meant that they had to wait even longer to move. Finally, in the spring of 2008, it all came together. Matt was offered a job in Ames, halfway between my parents' and our house. So, he, Kirsti, and Jake moved up. We were so happy!

Kirsti is the closest thing I have ever had to a sister and I was beyond thrilled to have them here. We immediately began planning lunches out and shopping times together. It was fun! We started having more family get togethers and were able to coax my brother, Andy, to bring his family down to Iowa a little more often. My parents loved it. They finally got to really know Jake, who had just turned 3 when they arrived in Iowa.

But things didn't work out how we had hoped - obviously. Matt and Kirsti had one struggle after another with their arrival in Iowa. It took them almost a year to get a renter for their AZ house and then they had to give up their apartment and move into the basement of some church friends for a few months. Once they had a renter they were able to buy a cute house from some friends. We prayed that they would get the house and God answered favorably. We had a good time helping them move in last May. Kirsti was newly pregnant and it looked as though things were finally settling down and turning out all right. But then the pregnancy got difficult. And then, worst of all, Matt was laid off from his new job.

And that brings us to today. Fortunately, Matt's employer was eager to get him back. So, they put their Iowa house on the market, rented another home in Arizona, and took off today. Little Phoebe is 3 weeks old and I hardly even know her. I know they are anxious to get settled. It's been a very long couple of years, full of uncertainty, struggles, and fear. And I want that for them.

But, selfishly, I want them here for me. I just don't see the bigger picture. Everything seemed to line up with God's will, but yet this had to happen. Why? What changed with God's will? I can only conclude that everything that happened was in His will and it's part of plan that we can't see. Perhaps it's only reason is for our growth and learning to trust God more.

I don't like it. There's not much use for getting terribly upset, though. It won't change things. I told Matt and Kirsti Saturday that we just have to look at this last year and a half as "bonus" time - time together that we wouldn't have had if they had never left Arizona. We live in an age of technology when staying in touch is easier than it has ever been before - mainly, through our computers, but also with cell phones and the resulting free long distance. We can visit - sometimes. When Phoebe gets to be a tween or young teenager I have plans to bring her up to Iowa for a week or so every summer so she can spend time with her Iowa Auntie and I can spoil my only niece. But it's not going to be what we had planned.

And that makes me sad.

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