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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Sermonette - The Nesting Syndrome by Ada Brownell


THE “NESTING” SYNDROME
 By Ada Brownell

I was jerked out of my little spot in the world when my husband and I were married less than a year. We landed in a cabin on top of Colorado’s Tennessee Pass.

Women are famous for not adjusting well to moves. We get attached to homes, yards, friends, schools, churches, jobs, and our ministries. Some say we put down roots; others say we “nest.”

Since our first mountain adventure, we’ve moved more than thirty times. My most troubling relocation was to Thompson, a town in the Utah desert, Population: One Hundred. My husband, a railroader, worked nights. We had a two-week-old baby; a dilapidated rental, no telephone; no church; knew no one in town. Ninety miles separated me from my family and the doctor. The nearest city hid thirty-eight miles another direction.

Previously we owned a cute little house in my home town surrounded by friends and family. I was president of a thriving church youth group. After the move, my emotions went splat on the brick wall of seemingly impossible circumstances. Through God's grace I discovered moving isn't the end of the world.

How did I adjust? Changing how I think. Here are 10 ways my thinking changed.

1. God might be directing my steps.[1] This personal growth took a while. The only thing I enjoyed about Thompson was moving away. Perhaps that’s why two years later, we found ourselves back. This time, the only house for rent was a shack covered in tar paper and rusty corrugated metal.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t devastated this time. I learned to look at the good things such as the railroad job, potential, and people. We made friends. My husband joined the Thompson/Crescent Junction baseball team.

When a vision for a Sunday school popped into my heart, I knew why I lived in Thompson. A friend and I received permission to meet in the school, and every child was enrolled.

2. Home is more than a building.

The roof of the tar paper shack leaked buckets every time we had a rainstorm, and we had an outhouse. My uncle, a builder, stopped to see us and said, “I could build a house like this for about $50. Take a picture. When you get old and your children want to borrow money, tell them, ‘We started out the hard way.’”

I laughed.

The interior sparkled. I learned a shack can be attractive. We remodeled the interior and the owner fixed the roof. Two years later, we bought a beautiful mobile home.

We lived in Thompson five years, and I look back on those years fondly.

Since then, we’ve had lovely homes. We developed a knack for remodeling houses and finishing basements, and my husband built two houses. Being willing to move and work became a blessing financially.

3. I can keep old friends. We have friends scattered everywhere. We still have some from my home town. We stopped in Thompson to see the Rogers about five years ago. Bonnie, from Minturn, Colorado, and I have stayed in touch over decades. When I joined Facebook, other precious friends renewed acquaintance. I value these folks.

4. I can make new friends. Wonderful people who need somebody are everywhere. By being willing to move, my circle of friends exploded. We moved to Missouri eight years ago. I found I could make new connections even as a senior. Mothers of Preschoolers needed mentors, a children’s pastor hunted more teachers, a senior choir had openings, senior groups had activities. Making friends takes effort, but it’s worth it.

5. New challenges often create character. I’ve taught youth that everything we learn, accomplish or do that is a challenge grows us into better people. I learned when I changed my attitude about moving God directed my footsteps, renewed my mind, and helped me to be a better person, wife, and mother.

 6. Ministry is needed everywhere. When I grieved because I had to resign as youth leader to move, I looked back instead of embracing the future. Jesus shoves us out of the nest sometime and teaches us to fly. When I willingly jumped from a treasured place to migrate again, I learned soaring into the future is more fun that sitting in the nest.

7. Another place might open unexpected doors. I didn’t plan to be a writer or reporter, but while in the Utah desert with time on my hands, I began writing for Christian publications and worked as a newspaper correspondent. I later spent seventeen years as a reporter for a daily newspaper. Would this have happened if I hadn’t left what was behind and pressed on?

8. We can enjoy a different location. Learning the attributes of a new place builds affection. This took effort. The second move to Thompson, my husband worked Sundays, so we drove thirty-eight miles to Moab to evening church services—and made friends. We discovered a ghost town a few miles up a canyon and Indian hieroglyphs beside the dusty road. Near Moab was Dead Horse Point, a miniature Grand Canyon, and Arches National Monument.

In cities, we took advantage of tennis courts, parks, scenery, tourist sites, libraries, and shopping. We decided to enjoy each new home town.

9. I need to get involved. Meeting neighbors, going to newcomers’ dinners, finding Sunday school and small-group classes at church, joining sports teams, and volunteering takes effort. We made ourselves become part of community functions.

10. We can blossom anywhere. Paul wrote, “I learned in whatever state I am to be content.”[2] When each move came, I learned to decide to be happy, allow God to use me, hang on to old friends and make new ones, look to the future, hunt for the good in a community, get involved, enjoy people and life where the Lord leads. That way each location became a haven for joy.

[1] Psalm 37:23KJV

[2] Philippians 4:11 KJV

Ada Brownell is the author of Swallowed by Life and Confessions of a Pentecostal. Both books may be purchased at Amazon.

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