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Meet Kassy Jackson! Kassy’s husband Jacob serves on staff at our church as the Worship Pastor. Since they’ve just completed their first year, I wanted her perspective on what it was like for their family to relocate from Florida to Arkansas. The Jackons have two kids, age 8 and 6. We talked about what it’s like to move with children and how we can help them transition to a new place.

If you’d like to hear our entire conversation, click below to listen now!

Episode Description: Moving can be traumatic for kids because everything changes—friends, school, church, home, teams and more. Last year Kassy Jackson’s family moved 1000 miles when her husband became Worship Pastor at a new church. She shares how God gave her specific confirmation about this job change, steps she took to help her kids transition well, and what she wishes she’d done differently.
Related Links and Product Info: MTTM Ep 26: How to Know When It’s Time to Go, with Greg Addison
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What has being married to the ministry looked like for you, Kassy?

When Jacob and I first got married, he was not in the ministry. He’s been in church his whole life and he was serving in church, but he was not actively on staff in ministry up until about five years after we got married. So 2016 was a life-changing year for us; several things happened that the Lord really used to change both of us and to change our hearts and reign Jacob back into the call that he had felt his entire life into ministry. We’ve been in active ministry now probably six years.


What is one blessing of being in ministry? 

The biggest blessing I can point to is seeing the change in people’s lives. Because you do ministry with them and you’re with them every week, and you get to know them and their stories and what God has done in their life. And sometimes you even have new people that come into your ministry that just have this story that the Lord has brought them through and they’ve overcome some things. And then to see them turn full circle and get saved or bring their family in and their family get saved, to me that’s been the biggest blessing is to get a front row seat to what God is doing in other people’s lives.


What burden or challenge have you faced as a ministry wife? 

One of the biggest things I struggled with in Florida was feeling like I didn’t fit the mold. I previously worked full time and my husband was on staff full time. And so my own internal struggle was there’s this mold out there of what a minister’s wife looks like, and I just don’t feel like I fit that. But the more we were in ministry and the more that the Lord worked on me, he just spoke into me and said, “There is no mold. There is no one set of things that you need to do. There’s no way you need to be. I loved you the way you are. And just because you’re a ministry wife now doesn’t mean that you have to be a certain way.”


Since y’all weren’t really looking to leave where you were when we reached out to Jacob about coming here, how did you pray through this job change decision?

It was a process because like you said, we did not see it coming. We had no intention of leaving where we were. We actually had a five-year plan, if you will. And we had bought land. We were set, we were going to stay where we are. My family is there, his family is there. I absolutely loved my job. I had a very incredible career that I just loved and had plans for that. And so when we got this call, it shook us a little bit.

Last year we had just come out of a season in our marriage that we needed to go through. I was reading through Acts about the early church. By the time we got to February when we got this call, I was in chapter seven. I’m going to read you what it said because we just didn’t know what to think.

We were still reeling—Is this what we’re supposed to do? What is this? God, this was not our plan.

The Lord began to work both in my heart and Jacob’s. Mine I think more specifically because I have moved before. I grew up in Minnesota and then I moved to Florida when I was 14, so I have done the moving and starting over before. It wasn’t necessarily that part that rattled me. It was the leaving what we thought we were going to be doing. Plus, there wouldn’t be any grandparents down the road!

But I read this in Acts 7:3, it was like the Lord just eased everything that I was feeling. Stephen is repeating what God told Abraham: “Leave your native land and your relatives and come into the land that I will show you.” And I thought, well, that’s clear enough!

Then in other passages I read where God told both Moses and Joshua they were standing on holy ground. While studying more about that, I found this in a commentary: “No matter what you may be going through in your leadership in some sphere of influence, at home or at work, whatever, or wherever you lead in the church, be reminded today that God is telling you you are not alone.” And so I feel like that’s the piece that I needed. It wasn’t yes, do this or no, don’t do this. It was it doesn’t matter because wherever you go, I’m going to be with you.


How did you help your children through this experience? 

The conversation with our kids was probably the conversation that we worried about the most. We put a lot of stress on that conversation. And looking back, it was a lot of unnecessary stress. We ran through the conversation about three times, just us. We had a list. Okay, we’re going to show them pictures. We’re going to show them there’s a Chick-fil-A right down the road because we lived in a small town and we didn’t get that very often. So we really just tried to make it a positive experience and tell them all the good things about where we were going.

But the biggest thing that I can say that we were able to do was say, this is the call on our life for our family. And sometimes the Lord moves you to where he wants you to be, to serve people that need something that you have. They’re 8 and 6 years old. How much of that they retained and understood, I don’t know in one conversation. But I will say it was very well received. They were very excited.

And I will say when we said yes, as soon as we knew yep, we’re going to do this, I just did a whole bunch of research on Facebook and anywhere I could find activities for kids to help the transition. They needed to get transitioned and know that we’re not just doing this for daddy. This is where the Lord has our entire family and it’s going to be a good move for everybody.

We’ve had those tearful nights because they’re still the new kids in town in the class. And there’s already friendships that have been established at school and at church. It’s been a struggle to teach them you’re not always going to fit in. You’re not always going to be invited. And that’s okay.

One thing that’s coming to my mind, Garon, he is just a free spirit and he lives his best life every day and he likes to tell jokes. And so that’s one of the things I’ve told him. Why didn’t you tell the kids at school a joke? Tell them your broom joke. Things like that I’ve been able to point to and say, “Well, why don’t you do this?” And for Tinsley, sometimes I’ll say, “Why don’t you compliment? Don’t you like when people compliment your earrings? Find something to compliment about somebody and that will start a conversation and then you can find out more about them.” It’s all life lessons that they would have to learn where we came from. And part of it’s just growing up and the age that they’re at.


As time went on, what concerns did you have about coming here? 

My biggest concern was the fact that we were going to be away from grandparents. We told our parents on the same night, and their reaction was another confirmation. Both sets were just super supportive and incredibly proud that we would even consider doing something like this.

Another concern of mine was about our kids making new friends and starting a new school. Just everything that comes with that. We moved in the summer, not in the middle of a school year. Tinsley would have moved to a new school anyway, so that helped. But when we got here, I decided we’re just going to have as much fun as possible before school starts. And so the summer was just summer. We would’ve had a summer at home, so we had summer here. I made sure that they were in activities. So Garon started baseball and Tinsley joined cheer because that’s what she did at home. And that helped tremendously getting out and transitioning and putting down what roots we could in that first six months of being here and showing them that we’re going to be okay.


When Jacob came on early and started the job, you stayed behind to get the house ready to sell, packed, and let the kids finish school. How hard was living separately for a while?

The only thing I will say that was hard that I wish was different, which I don’t know how it could be different, but when we got this call, as I said, we were going to sell our house. We’d bought land, that’s where we were going to be. And we were right in the middle of a master bathroom renovation, so that was hard because Jacob was here. We had to get the renovation done so we could sell the house, and I only had so much time at my job because I knew I needed to get my kids here if we were going to have any hope of a good transition and get them used to things. was still working full time up until June 30th. And so I was finishing a renovation. Once we got that done, I put the house on the market and then we lived with my mother-in-law, which was great. It was such a blessing.

But we were apart the whole time. And so I don’t think you can really avoid that in a transition like this, but it’s the only thing that I can point to that was stressful. That separation was hard, especially for the kids. We had never done that before. They hadn’t been without their daddy.

When we did get here, the love that everybody showed us was just overwhelming in a good way. People had us over for dinner. We were getting calls and texts every day. “We’re just so glad you’re here! Can we do anything for you?” I will say, that was incredible. But yeah, when we first landed, we’d be having a conversation about the church, and Jacob would say, “Well, you know so-and-so?” And I’m, “No. I don’t. I’ve been here for a week. I don’t know who that is.” So yes, a lot of that had happened before I got here and that was the little transition that we had to work through.


Was the reality of transitioning harder or easier than you thought it was going to be? 

It was harder. I knew it was going to be challenging. What we experienced in the beginning … my daughter Tinsley the oldest, she took it a little bit harder than Garon. She struggled a little bit more and is still trying to adjust. She’s a deeply feeling child, and her roots were deep in Florida. Not that ours weren’t. That’s how the Lord made her. And she wasn’t sleeping. She’d be in our room and I’d have to lay with her. It was exhausting, but it’s your child and you don’t want to say the wrong thing. And I think that was the hardest thing for me is that, Lord, I just don’t want to say the wrong thing because they’ve just gone through this massive transition and their whole world has been turned upside down. I know this is where we’re supposed to be, but just give me the words to tell her what I need to tell her.

And one of the things that my mom told me when we left and when we started talking about this, she said that you are their mom and there’s no one in this world that can help them and help them work through this more than you can. And so I relied on that. One of the things that I have found and I’ve been able to do because now I’m not working is I missed out on a lot. And you miss out a lot when you’re working. Some people have to work, and I may be working here in the near future, we don’t know. But I feel like I missed out on a lot. And one thing that I have been able to do in the last year is be more present and be able to tell my kids. Because the days that they come home and they have a bad day at school, and I hate Arkansas, I’m able to be a landing pad and a foundation and something strong that they can throw themselves against.

And so one of the things that Jacob and I have talked about constantly that this process has not only taught our kids, but taught us, is that we can bring our kids to church on Sunday and Wednesday and whenever we come and we can read them a Bible and we can do all the things, say all the things and say all the scriptures. But I feel like this process has enabled us to show our kids what trusting God looks like. And they’ve been able to see mommy and daddy aren’t relying on their own strength. They are trusting in God to take them through this journey. Maybe they realize that now, probably not. My hope and prayer is that they look back when they’re faced with something in their lives.

One day they’ll be able to say, “Well, when I was eight years old, we moved across the country, so whatever I’m facing, God’s going to get me through it.” And I think it’s really important for our kids to see that. To see that their parents don’t have it all together. They’re not perfect. We’re not perfect beings, even in ministry as staff members at a church. We’re human beings and anything that we do that is right is because of him.


Any last words of wisdom for other wives who are about to face this? 

The only thing that I could say, looking back on this whole transition … As we started telling people at our home church, they’d come up to us and say, “We just can’t believe you’re doing this. This is just so amazing. We’re so proud of y’all. That’s a big step.” And this phrase just kept coming out of my mouth. It came from the Lord I guess, but I just said, “We’re going on blind trust and big faith. That’s what we’re doing. I don’t know what the Lord has for us in Arkansas, but I know that’s where he’s got us going right now.”

I would say if you’re faced with taking big steps, just remember that you’re not taking them on your own. You’re not alone. And you just have to keep seeking him reading his word. It sounds cliche. Read the Bible and he will speak to you clearly. And don’t make your own plans!

And one of the last things I will say is we were driving home or somewhere. Church was over and this was when we were still in Florida. I don’t think we had said yes yet. I don’t believe we had, but we were driving home and there’s the one red light in our town. And Jacob’s like, “Just look around. All of this is comfort. It’s all comfortable. It’s like a huge blanket. And it’s nice and it’s cozy and it’s comfortable.” And I will say, don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable because that’s where the Lord is going to grow you, and challenge you, and allow you to do things that you never thought possible. And that’s been our story in this transition. This has been extremely uncomfortable. Not in a bad way, but in a not familiar way. And we’ve already seen growth in our own kids, in our marriage, and here at the church. And I’ve already seen it just tremendously in Jacob because he lived in the same town his whole life, 40 years and so God has taken us out of our comfort zone.

And the kids are still learning. I don’t know how many times we’ve been asked, why did we move to Arkansas again? Why did we have to move here? Well, let’s go over it again.

Joshua 1:9 is the verse that we keep telling them because that’s the verse actually that we started with them at the beginning of the last school year. And it just so happened that that verse was our story for last year. And so now I’m going to put it all over my house.

Friend, if you have a potential move on your horizon, I hope what Kassy has shared today has been encouraging and gives you some things to think about as you face a transition for your family.

Next time, I’ll be sharing some helpful tips that I’ve learned about moving. We have moved many, many, many times, and so I’m going to share what I’ve learned on how to make the actual moving process easier for you and your family, like the packing and the planning stuff. Until then, let’s keep loving Jesus, loving our husbands, and loving our people!