In a few days, it will mark one year since we packed up the minivan and drove over 1,200 miles. We moved halfway across the country to a new home in a new city where we didn’t know a soul. Just two years before that, we packed up to move 1,200 miles the other direction! If you are counting, that makes two cross-country moves in two and a half years! I can’t say that I recommend this as a lifestyle pattern. I can say that the experience has taught me some important lessons that I would not have learned without moving (literally) way outside of my comfort zone.
Moving to a new place brings up so many mixed emotions. First, there is the sadness in leaving behind people we love, and in missing the familiar routines and the security those bring. There were times when it felt like my heart physically ached for the people and places that were so far away. The loneliness in the beginning is hard!
At the same time, there is also excitement about what God has in store for us and who He might introduce us to in a new place. It really is a daily emotional roller coaster!
Days turn into week and months; we begin to make new friends and routines and feel a sense of belonging in the new place. Then there is the feeling of being torn and having my heart in two (or more) different places at the same time.
Finally, there comes a sense of peace and contentment. There is the ability to rest, and trust that wherever I am today is where God must want me to be. So I should look for the ways He is teaching me and try to be a witness to His goodness wherever we are located on the map.
In this post, I would like to share with you a few of the things that moving has taught me. I think they are ideas that can apply to wherever we find ourselves along the road of life.
1. Live one day at a time.
One of my biggest struggles with moving is my tendency to live looking back and longing for what I had in another place. The other problem I have is trying to look too far into the future to imagine what life will look like years ahead. Whether I am looking in the rear view mirror or squinting to see what is up the road, I risk missing the beauty and opportunities of the day that are right in front of me.
“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT
The Bible says this is the day to rejoice, today! And in fact, today is the only day we can rely on. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even if tomorrow will come. God gives us a new opportunity every 24 hours to live another day. That gift should be enough to makes us rejoice!
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34 NIV
Being a mom definitely comes with enough to keep us busy without adding in worrying about yesterday and tomorrow. We can eliminate so much of our daily anxiety by simply turning to God first.
Today is the next beautiful page in your scrapbook of memories!
Today is the best day to intentionally practice contentment through prayer, an attitude of thankfulness, and the study of His Word.
2. Be on a mission.
“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 NIV
When we think of the gospel mandate to “go into all the world” we usually think of missionaries traveling to far away lands. Many of us moms will not be called to the remote places of the globe, so we tend to feel like this command doesn’t really apply to us. Besides, our kids are our disciples, right? But wherever we are, in a small town, suburb, or big city, we are still part of “all the world”. Wherever God has placed you can be your mission field.
Realizing that God has a purpose for me in each new place that we live helps me to change my focus from my feelings, to the bigger picture and the world around me. With both moves I decided to go with my heart open. My “mission” was to make friends and try share God’s love with every opportunity. I made up my mind to talk to as many moms as I could meet during the day (even if I felt uncomfortable) and try to shine a light with a smile, a kind word, or an invitation to church or a play date. The playground has been my favorite place meet other moms. Being in this stage of motherhood creates a kind of understanding that makes it easy to strike up a conversation.
The result for me has been the creation of lasting friendships. There are so many special people that I treasure and care about deeply in each place we have lived, friends who have blessed my life with so much richness. It’s hard to imagine that I would never have met them without going through the struggles of moving. I am so thankful to God for bringing people into my life who remind me that it is about so much more than being where I want to be and doing what I want to do. It is about being where He wants me to be and doing what He wants me to do!
3. Focus on Eternity
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV
This world is not our final home. Life is so short compared to eternity, like the blink of an eye. We get so caught up in our own plans and our busy lives, we forget that there is something so much greater up ahead. In those times it helps to pause and refocus on things that are lasting.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2 NIV
We all have a “dream” home. In the center of mine is a beautiful room, with windows floor to ceiling. Sitting in front of the windows is a shiny black grand piano. Outside is land and green grass with horses happily grazing. I like to imagine that home, but I may or may not have a place like that in this life and I’m totally ok with that. I know that whatever I can dream up, can’t even compare to the joy I will experience when I see my Savior and the place He has prepared for me!
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:3-6 NIV
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NKJV
There is a forever home. It is far better and more glorious than anything we can dream or imagine in this world. And Jesus is the way! He is how we get there and He is also the destination. Knowing the one true God is eternal life itself, it is what home feels like! Imagine that feeling of being away on a trip and then rounding the corner and seeing your house. Home is such a comfort, filled with people we love, safety and security. Now imagine an eternal home, a perfect home, full of people we love and best of all God Himself! This home will last forever, and nothing can take it away. Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ have that place ready and waiting!
Maybe you are someone like me who has moved around and had to open your heart to new places and new people, or maybe you are someone who has lived your whole life in one place. Either way, life brings changes and often leaves us feeling like we don’t know where home really is. God has placed eternity in our hearts, and we yearn for our true, forever home. I hope that along this journey of life it will help you as it has helped me, to live one day at a time, be on a mission, and focus on eternity. And until we get there take heart, we are just not home yet!