Why I Stopped Writing About My Son

by | Oct 22, 2015 | 31 Letters from London

This is day 22 in a series: 31 Letters from London. In October, I’m doing something a little different and writing to you about the realities of life as an expat; finding the nearness of God through random experiences with new culture. It’s important to begin here and find the collection of letters here. We’re breaking for Sabbath every Sunday.


“Has Harrison texted you back,” I ask H as we walk out the door to the pub. Thursday is H’s Friday and we celebrate the end of a work week at Queen’s Head with a drink seated at our favorite table.

“No, I haven’t heard from him yet,” he says.

It’s after 6:00pm and Harrison hasn’t made it home from school yet. He’s staying after every day this week for what the Brits refer to as controlled assessment. He leaves the house at 8:00am to catch the train. That’s a long day for him.

Recently, a faithful reader mentioned she didn’t know I had a son. It made me laugh. I stopped writing about Harrison during our waiting period to London for reasons I can tell you now.

Initially, when we sensed God leading us to London, we assumed that we would move by the time school started in September. But every time we were faced with another delay, it meant Harrison was delayed too. In the end, he missed nine months of his sophomore year of high school.

I didn’t mention it here because I knew our dilemma about leaving him out of school could result in misunderstanding. We vacillated between putting him back in school, the possibility of homeschooling or waiting for God’s timing.

Everything in us wanted to DO something to fix the situation. But God kept telling us to trust Him. So we waited.

Can I tell you that during all those months when Harrison was home with us while his closest friends were going to school, he never complained once about how long it was taking us to move to London. Actually, there were days when his faith buoyed us.

When we arrived here in March, most all the best schools in the city were full with long waiting lists, especially for boys. There are more schools for girls in London.  But H is a Vicar which means Harrison goes to the top of the list in Church of England schools.

Two weeks after arriving, I was at home sick with the flu. I sat in the only chair we had in a nearly vacant house and asked God to make a way for Harrison. I phoned a school we heard about through some people at church and the day I called, the administrator had just learned about a student who wasn’t coming back after the Easter break. A student in his year left an opening for him.

God answered my prayers.

We had no idea how our delay would affect Harrison academically, especially entering the British system mid-year.

Three months later, when the term ended he was ranked 6th in a class of nearly 200. And he continues excelling, coming home often with stories of favor and good news.

rb31lettersday22-1When God orders a transition, he orders it for your children too. Include them in the details and watch the way He uses the changes to deepen their faith and yours too.

We return home to a dark house and no sign of Harrison. Seconds later, a key is inserted in the lock and he walks in holding camera equipment from the school for a project.

He lays his back pack on the ground, takes his jacket off and hangs it over the radiator along with the tie he unwraps around his neck. Sits down on the couch, unlaces his shoes and pulls his socks off.

“When is dinner ready, I’m starving,” he asks.

God cares about the details.



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  1. Jamie S. Harper

    What a sweet story. I loved this so much.

  2. Pam

    Shelly, I heard this verse quoted today and immediately thought it was a beautiful word for you (thinking of our conversation on your money post)… but as I read your beautiful story of God’s favor for you and Harrison today, it seems perfect for now: I am thanking God on your behalf, that your “dawn” is just about to give way to morning splendor… 🙂

    “But the good man walks along

    in the ever-brightening light of God’s favor;

    the dawn gives way to morning splendor…”

    ~ Proverbs 4:18 [The Living Bible]

  3. Pam

    Make that morning splendour… 🙂

  4. Celeste

    I have lost count how many times your words have spoken to me in the middle of circumstances. Details. God in whom we move and have our being. How often I forget. I’ve taken my eyes off him to dwell on those circumstances. I know of he is reminding me because it seems that no matter what I read, something will catch my eye a day speak to my spirit.
    FYI. England is back on the table… Again.

  5. Becky Keife

    What a great reminder that God does not work in isolation. He doesn’t call you to one thing only to leave frayed edges somewhere else to unravel–all the edges of our lives are within his control. Thanks for sharing this, friend.

  6. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    I’m so glad God causes our whole family to prosper when we move in obedience to what He is calling us to do (or not do). So happy that Harrison is doing so well!

  7. Tanya Marlow

    So glad to hear this good news! Thinking of you and your family

  8. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for sharing this affirming story, Shelly. God is indeed in the details! Lord, keep me mindful that you ALWAYS work out circumstances for our good. May I rest with confidence and assurance in that promise. Remind me of Harrison’s story when I begin to wonder about outcomes!

  9. Mary Bonner

    Shelly, I am behind on the letters and I’m trying to catch up. This one. THIS ONE. makes me cry. How wonderful that things are working out so well for Harrison. I am truly happy. Now, I am so trying to be patient while God works in the waiting in my own life.

  10. pastordt

    LOVE THIS. Hard, but wise choice. And that guy? SO CUTE. Just seems to invite a great big hug, though he’s likely at the age when he resists, at least a little. 🙂

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