PCS: almost a four-letter word! “Moving day!” Those words spread either dread or excitement (or sometimes both) in the hearts of all military teens. Generally, they occur every 2-3 years and can involve a move almost anywhere in the world. How do you handle this news? What about your friends? Your school? Your God? Do any of them really care?
Several years ago, I was asked to fill out a security clearance form for my work with the U.S. Air Force in Alconbury, United Kingdom. Much of the form was straightforward information, much like a job application. Questions concerning where I went to school, what jobs I had held in the past, names of references. However, one section threw me for a loop. The form wanted a complete list of everywhere I had ever lived. Although I was 36 at the time, I had lived at 27 different addresses in three states and four countries.
Those connected to the military can relate. Ask a military teen where they are from and one will receive either a blank stare or follow-up questions such as “where was I born?” or “where did I live last?” or “where did I live the longest?” The military family seems to always be on the move.
Only in the military would anything over six months be considered a PCS: Permanent Change of Station. I now live in West Texas and am amazed when I recount my life and people look at me and say, “I am 54 years old and have only moved once—a half a mile from the house I grew up in.” On the other hand, I have run across military “brats” that state that they have been in one place for too long – almost three years! They start looking for another place, another country even, another school, different friends. You know the drill – always on the move.
The military family is unique in many ways. The constant move is perhaps one of the most unique. Some families seem to thrive on this constant movement while others see it as a major disruption. So, what about Scripture; are there any examples of a family constantly on the move? Is God there? Does he go with them from one place to the next? What about the family that moves to a non-Christian land? Does he understand? Does he care? You can find out by diving into the story below and material around this site.
There are actually a ton of stories about people PCSing in the Bible. Maybe you’ve heard of a man named Abraham. Well, he PCSed a lot!! Sometimes he transitioned well and other times, he completely blew it. He was in and out of various cultures and situations, mostly with his wife, Sarah. His is a story of how God was with him though the moves and how God used their relationship to bring God’s promise to the world. If you’ve ever wondered if God understands your issues when it comes to moving with your family, often with no say at all, then read these accounts of Abrahams’ PCS Moves (all from Genesis).
- What are some of the negative things about moving so often? Can you think of any positive things concerning the moves?
- What are some of the ways that you cope with a move? List some of the positive ways you cope and some of the negative ways you attempt to cope.
- Can you relate to the life of Abraham having to move so often? What do you think he would tell you about your fears and disappointments toward one more PCS?
- What advice would you give to a friend who had to move again?
- Does the fact that Jesus did not have a permanent home allow you to relate to him better? How?
Lord, I pray that you would be close to my family and me as we start a new chapter in our lives. I ask for your blessing on our lives as we move to a new place, find new friends, and experience new schools and jobs. Be our shelter when we are at home, our companion when we are away, and our welcome guest when we return. In all things, I pray that you will be our anchor, our one constant, when all else is changing. Amen.
The link below will show much of Abraham’s journey. Trace his journey and pay close attention to all the different cultures he encountered on his journey. For more info, click on the links below to read about some of the different cultures he experienced.
Egypt (especially the section on Ancient Egypt)
Here’s a poem written by ‘Darkened Diamond’ entitled “Moving Away”
I’m alone except my friends,
Sitting in my shadowed room,
Nothing there between me,
And that deep impending doom,
And as I gaze about me,
I’m so scared it’s hard to breathe,
As all around me is my home,
Is all the things I’ll leave,
I see my things packed in boxes,
Then stored up in a van,
I run once more around the house,
To remember if I can,
This is my visions of that day,
For I know the time will come,
When I must leave my dear sweet home,
When I must travel on,
It tears my throat with teeth and claws,
I can barely feel the pain,
I know that soon my heart will scream,
I’ll beg to be home again,
I know I’m never far away,
But what difference does that make?
When no longer can I walk that road,
Run down by the lake?
I don’t want to leave or turn my back,
On a home I loved so dear,
For when I hear I live here not,
What matters if it’s near?
I want to cling to the rock and stone,
To the path up to the door,
I want to run back up those stairs,
Flop down on my bedroom floor,
I don’t want to turn key in the lock,
Then toss aside that key,
I want to cling to this old house,
It’s been a home to me.
Small group guide:
This family made a series of videos about their PCS. I’m sure you can identify:
This last clip is from the movie The Great Santini. This clip is a look at a family in the midst of a PCS move.
Many of us can identify with a dad who plans the PCS like this! You probably still don’t feel like you have much input even when it’s on the calendar!
Moving to Germany? She did, and she gives some calming advice about the PCS move:
Large group guide:
- Write a letter to Abraham describing what if feels like to have to move so often. Be sure to express your feelings clearly, both good and bad. Spend some time imagining how Abraham would respond to your letter.
- Talk to your parents about the issues they see are difficult about PCS moves. Make a list of some of your issues and share those with your parents.
- How will you go about ensuring that you will focus on the positives of a PCS move? Write down an action plan with specific steps to avoid falling into a negative mindset and focusing on the good of your next move.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
There are warriors who know what you are going through and can give you guidance. Please click one of the buttons below and allow one of them to connect with you. Your connection and correspondence with with them is completely confidential.