37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
There are times when we simply have no choice but to move on, when we can no longer just stay where we are and hope things will ‘get better’ because we know they will not. However, no matter how necessary it may be, moving on is not always an easy thing to do. In today’s reading we are reminded of how difficult even a positive change can be, as the children of Israel had to struggle just to be able to leave the slavery of Egypt, only to endure a difficult journey to an uncertain “Promised Land”.
Many of us who are single parents know what it is like to come to the moment when we have no choice but to move on, even though we may be afraid, as we know that our journey will also be difficult, and uncertain.
Leaving my marriage was difficult for me, as it meant disrupting not only my life, but the life of my daughter, and even that of my (soon to be) ex-wife. Staying was not an option either, so I made my arrangements: got a lawyer, an apartment and child care, and after much debate and much help from others, I moved on, and took a leap of faith into an uncertain future!
Raising my daughter has been a long journey, fraught with worry and frustration, but also filled with moments of joy and peace. For all the times that we have fought, or we caused each other pain, there are more reasons to celebrate, as I share a bond with my daughter that stronger than I ever could have imagined.
The journey itself has made me a better, stronger person, more compassionate and understanding of others, more forgiving of my daughter for her mistakes, and of myself for my own human weaknesses. The challenges and the joys we have faced have deepened my faith in the power of God’s love, and grace in our lives. It has also made me more willing to accept help and advice from others…though I still have way to go on that ability.
As single parents, we have chosen a hard road, but also (I believe) a better road for ourselves and our families. For as we learned from the story of the Exodus, leaving is not always easy, nor are we guaranteed that we will make it to a land flowing with milk and honey! Yet there is good news for us in today’s reading, the good news we find in most of our scripture readings: and that is we do not travel this road alone, for the Lord is with us always, watching over us in the Spirit and supporting us through the love we share with others!
I learned long ago that any journey is made easier when it is shared. The journey of single parenting is no different, as when we share our experience with fellow travelers we are reminded that what we are going through is not unique, and that our failures do not have to stop us in our tracks, as we can survive and even thrive in the face of our own imperfection and powerlessness. Together we can support each other for our journey and help each of other as we build a new life, sometimes more than once, for as parents we often have to “keep coming back”, to refresh our lives and our parenting over and over again, as our children, and ourselves grow and become different people.
Moving on is not always easy, but walking together in the light of God’s love, the journey can be a good one, with a happy ending as we find our own land of promise, the promise of Christ that we will be freed from the bonds of fear and frustration to experience what God truly wants for us all: to know the joy of living surrounded by the love of those around us, and immersed in the gracious love of God, which moves us all closer to finding our place within the Kingdom of God!
Let us Pray:
Dear God, thank you for giving us the courage to move on, when necessary…even if we are afraid. Help us to trust in your love as it comes to us through the Spirit and through other people, remembering that any journey is easier when it is shared with those who understand the challenges we face! Let us have faith that we can meet any challenge and to hold tight to the moments of joy we find as we raise our children, knowing that it is your will that we know freedom from worry and fear, and the true joy of living!