My poor boys. We’ve assigned them a life of nomadic wanderings. They didn’t ask for it, they don’t get a choice, and I’m sure it’s shaping them in all kinds of ways, for good and perhaps for bad (no one gets out of childhood unscathed, amirite?).
In fourteen years we’ve moved 15 times, coast to coast, north to south, four states and three countries. And in less than a year we plan on our biggest move yet, to serve on the other side of the world in South Asia.
My boys have often lived out of suitcases and possessed few toys, by American standards. When me moved from Georgia to British Columbia we only took what we could fit in our SUV (no trailer!). Yes, Legos made the cut. Obvs.
To make matters worse, because we’re currently raising prayer and financial partners for our work overseas, our boys find themselves in a different church almost every week. New teacher, new class, new children’s church (or not). We consistently visit a couple of the same churches, but rarely do we go one place two weeks in a row.
I’m definitely scarring them for life, right? With all this flexibility is there any chance of them growing up to be stable, faithful men? Well, I sure hope so. And I have a couple of reasons to believe it’s possible.
First of all, my little TCKs (Third Culture Kids) have a TCK dad. My husband moved around just as much as our boys, if not more, and grew up largely in Africa with his parents. That experience cultivated in him a willingness to wander (and serve).
Not everyone is meant to grow roots.
Our family may not put down deep roots when we roll into a new place but we’re rooted strongly to each other and have weathered every storm. Or perhaps it’s more appropriate to say Jesus is the vine and we are the branches (novel idea)? We don’t need to plant roots in our own strength. He’s got this.
Our boys are flexible. Despite varying personalities, strengths and weaknesses, all of our boys greet strangers with a smile and hug old ladies willingly. They’re comfortable in new classroom settings (ironically, I think being homeschooled helps with that) and enter into conversation as if they’re old timers.
I absolutely love that they live in a world where everyone’s a friend; where deviating from the norm IS the norm. Who needs life to be scheduled and predictable anyway? (Lots of you. I realize this. It’s okay!)
Lastly, I adore that my boys are witnessing a life where faith follows God wherever He leads. We live an Abraham-type existence. God says, “Hey Bowmans, go forth from your country, and your relatives and from your father’s house to the land which I will show you”. And we go.
I hope and pray, particularly these next few years as we “settle” into South Asia, that my boys faith will become strong, that they’ll see God working powerfully, that those experiences will stay with them for a lifetime and shape them into strong men with a faith that wavers slightly less than mine.
Because, let’s faith it, we all waver. We’re waverers. Me, you, Abraham–it’s in our nature. And that’s okay, too. Faith doesn’t have to be perfect to be strong.
Dear God, help us to understand that even though you don’t change, life does. It’s okay to be flexible. Lead us to where you’d have us go.
Jessica (Bohemian) Bowman is a jack of all internets and a mother of four. Grace is her middle name (not really) and she’s been married for fourteen years to a guy she really super likes (since she was seventeen!). In early 2015 her family is moving to a sensitive country in South Asia to do good work. Because Jesus.