We’re Moving, or the Providence of God

My husband has a new job. It doesn’t start until July, but he was recently appointed as Head of School at a small boarding school in Western Connecticut. In the early summer we will move to a 4,000 person town and settle down for the foreseeable future.

The job is exciting. The people up there are lovely, as is the landscape. On many levels, I know our kids will love it. And yet a large part of me has resisted this move every step along the way. Some of it is just sadness over the thought of leaving this place we love–our church, our friends, the crossing guard who knows our kids by name, the easy access to a bagel shop and dry cleaner and pizza place. Some of it is resistance to change. But some of it is real fear for Penny.

We currently live in a place that seems to have been hand-designed for her. We’re within an hour of the best children’s hospital in the nation. We’re less than a mile from the Special Olympics Headquarters for the state of New Jersey. And I consider Penny’s elementary school the gold standard of integrated special education. How on earth could we move her away from here? 

But as Peter progressed in this job search, I had a lurking sense that it might just be the right job for him. It might even be a vocation, a calling to serve a group of people, a way to use his particular gifts and abilities for the good of a whole community. We’d always said that our dream was for him to become the head of a small boarding school in Connecticut. And so I started to pray.

I investigated the schools in the area. They’re fine. They can’t offer the same resources as our local schools in New Jersey, but they are well-funded and they have therapists who come through to work with kids and Penny will be fine. But it still kept me up at night.

A few weeks back, before the final interview, I cried. I talked about all my fears, which mostly centered around Penny. And I said out loud, “I know God has already given me reason to trust, but I need more. I need more.”

The next morning we went to church. Our church doesn’t usually have themes for the services, but that Sunday it did. And the theme was fear. As I listened to the sermon, it struck me, God will take care of Penny even if we make the wrong decision. Even if we screw up, God is still going to be faithful to her and to us. We came to the end of the service, and the closing hymn was “Be Still My Soul.” I couldn’t ignore the words of the second verse:

Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.

We went to a funeral later that day. The closing hymn was “Be Still My Soul.” Just in case I wasn’t paying attention.

So we’re going. I don’t know how it will work out for Penny. But I trust that the God who has guided our past will guide our future. I trust that the God who has called Peter into this new job has also called our entire family to this new place. And I trust that it will be a blessing for us all.

About Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker writes and speaks about family, faith, disability, and culture. A graduate of Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary, she is the author of Penelope Ayers: A Memoir, A Good and Perfect Gift (Bethany House), and Why I Am Both Spiritual and Religious (Patheos Press).


  1. Prayers for you and your family, Amy Julia! It’s always scary to venture into the unknown when we have developed rituals and relationships in a particular locale. And yet there is a richness that comes from venturing into new settings and situations, not the least of which is discovering anew the truth that our “home” is centered in the Lord who watches over and is with us amidst all the changes. Excited to hear how this all unfolds for you and your family–and I know you will write about it with eloquence and grace as always!

  2. Amy Julia,
    This post of yours resonates with me on a very personal level. I, too, was fearful for my son, Jose, when we recently moved to Mexico following God’s call. I had a negative idea regarding the quality of schools here in general, let alone schools for children with special needs. Inclusion, something I dream of for Jose, is all but nonexistent. So I was humbled and awed when we came across a segregated public school that is known for excellence even among typical families. I know that you can trust God with your family. He might even surpass your greatest hopes as you and Peter follow His call. Blessings to you and your family.

  3. Change is scary, isn’t it? But nothing truly great comes without some risk

  4. Dear Julia,
    I met you in the Third Pres Sunday School class. We’re friends with Corey and Sarah. We moved to Richmond 15 years ago. My kids were 2 and 4, and both were receiving special services at the time. Our church and friends were so dear to us that I didn’t know HOW I could leave and go to a foreign land (Virginia). My moment of assurance: the seminary brought both of us to visit from Oregon before we had to make a final decision. They showed us a faculty house where we could live, twice the size of what we were living in, and when I asked where our son Jamie might get services for his CP, they said, “well, Children’s Hospital which treats kids with physical disabilities is a block from campus.” We’ve been going there ever since. But our experience is somewhat the opposite of yours – we knew there were resources available to us where we were headed. There are always surprises along the way. Our friends took their disabled son to Ukraine for a year when he was just 8. There were NO services available at all, but my friend said it was the best year of the family’s life. Their son was loved up on in a way that would never have happened in the U.S. Keep looking for those surprises. Blessings, Lynn Valeri

  5. Faithinclusionnetwork says:

    Love that thought, Amy Julia- that even if we mess up, God will take care of us and our children. I have definitely been there and hope I can remember this as life goes on and the decisions for my daughter get bigger and bigger.

  6. Dear AJ,

    Let us put it this way, and in a different light: in every new adventure, an author finds the possibility of a new book. You will love western Connecticut, especially for the hills, lakes, and timeless old villages.

    Best of luck to you, Peter, and the children.

    Will & Anne (Dana Hand)