This past August, my husband and I celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. During those thirteen years, we have lived in eleven different homes, in nine different cities, in seven different states, and in three different geographic regions of the U.S.
We moved. A lot.
We’re hoping this nomadic lifestyle will soon come to an end, because moving that often is tough … wear-down-the-soul tough.
The packing and unpacking are disorientating at best.
Saying goodbye hurts.
Helping your children say goodbye cuts deeper still as you kiss their red cheeks stained salty from tears.
Loading a moving van and driving it across several states with two small children in tow exhausts mind and body.
Adjusting to a new environment — navigating your way around town, finding new medical professionals, meeting with your kids’ new principal,etc. — is weary-making at its finest.
Each move brought chaos, frustration, disappointment and tears.
With each move, we also uncovered joy, new mercies and hope immeasurable.
Community acted as an agent of hope every. single. time.
Everywhere we lived, the Lord blessed us with friends who became family (and some actually do share our blood). Sometimes making those friendships came easily and other times we had to work hard at bonding with people. But they were present, always. And yeah, it made moving harder … but it made it easier too.
Our communities brought us hope both in ways we could touch and in ways we could only feel:
They helped us pack, clean, load the truck, take care of our kids, haul broken-down furniture to the dump.
My heart sisters sought out opportunities to ease my burdens and lift my spirits via sweet cards, humorous texts and unexpected gifts.
They cried with me, listened to me, encouraged me and prayed with me.
They also lent me strength, spoke truth and hugged me so tight that for seconds, no air stirred inside me.
And while every whispered “I hope I’ll see you again” tugged the chords of my tender heart it also rang sweet in my ears.
Hope for keeping bonds cemented.
Hope for healing hearts.
Hope for bright new beginnings.
It is true that Jesus is the only true source of that hope, but I am convinced that He uses community to help us embrace it.Leave a Comment
My husband grew up like your family; he went to 13 different schools in 12 years. His father was a migrant worker. They had a farm that went under after a flood destroyed it and his father was never able to find solid work until my husband was about to graduation high school. It is hard for my husband to make friends and he still keeps to himself, but once he has a friend, he keeps them for life. I have only moved 7 times and found friends at each location as long as I could get out, but never stayed long enough until I married, 35 years now in two locations. The one move was for only 6 months to go to a clinic in another state for treatment then return home.
As long as I was able to get out, making friends was easy, but being home bound is hard on most people, they are active and want friends who are active, so even with invitations, they make excuses and do not come. I act like that is OK, but it hurts that active people have no time for a homebound individual.
As long as we entertained with parties, cookouts, etc, we had friends, like the prodigal son. Just like him when the money ran out and so did the activities, well. Like the prodigal, we run to Abba, heavenly Father to receive comfort and joy. Millions of Americans suffer loneliness, especially the elderly. A sense of community is wonderful, yet it seems if one cannot get out, finding a community is near impossible.
Statistics show more elderly Americans are gravitating to the Internet to find community, because they cannot find it in the real world, yet they do not thrive, because God made us to have physical contact and interaction, not vicarious. The healthy do not see this need; I did not when I was healthy. As long as I have breath, I will sing the needs of the shut in; in hopes, the church will hear and act.
I live in a small town of 12 churches and they will do token gestures but there is no longevity to their actions because it does not come from the heart. I was told the only reasons they have a program is because of the law that children in order to graduate must have so many hours of community service, that made me feel real good. When God leaves a country, diligence in the “true religion” (according to James) lacks and the church has to be reminded of it duty to God and their fellow believers. A duty of joy and blessings if it is understood in the right light, the love of Christ.
Lovely post. I guess I wonder, though – how do you find your community if you’re moving so often? Maybe I’m slow to warm up, but I’d have a hard time committing myself if I knew I was going to move again so soon. We just made our first major move ever (across the country) last year and have yet to find any real “community”. It doesn’t help that I work from home, my husband (still) doesn’t have a job. And he’s not really “into” church (although he attends with us), so we haven’t made many friends at all. I need to find “my people”!
Angela Nazworth says
That is such a great question. It’s one I’ve been asked before by many people and one I’ve certainly asked myself. I have been where you are for sure that feeling of “Needing People.” Once I even posted flyers all over my apartment complex practically begging people to contact me if they wanted to start a playgroup.
What I found most helpful to finding community was first actually learning how to BE community. It is easier said than done, but it is very possible. I wrote an article about it here a few years ago. Here is the link. https://aws.incourage.me/2010/10/be-community.html#comments
Also, I know that all this month there will be lots of posts here on (in)Courage about community. And for me, having an online community helped as well. I still needed friends in each place I lived, but have heart sisters across the globe praying for me, etc. made a world of difference.
sharon hughes says
I have real empathy for you about moving, because I’ve felt that way several times. I hated moving from New Jersey after 17 years and Texas after 5 years. I don’t make friends easily and if I had been there only a year or 2 like you, might not have had
friends yet. I think that the one place where hope has always been for me was in
finding a job. I never gave up and eventually would find something to my liking.
Lucille Gross says
Beautifully said! Thanks for sharing!!
God bless you! Lucille
As you well know, I can relate to this post in its entirety. Joe and I have been married for 12 years, moved to 7 different neighborhoods and lived in 3 states from San Fracisco to Chicago and now, here in Ohio once again. As much as I have hated moving, saying goodbye and starting again… I also feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends in so many different places. Through their friendships, I’m able to keep a piece of that time adn place in close to my heart. And they also give me hope and comfort knowing that I will, in time, create new and different friendships that will never be the same as the ones I’ve left behind but they will mean just as much. We nomads treasure the friendships we create along our journey and just as we mourn the loss of those that don’t seem to keep in touch, we celebrate and cherish the other friendships that do endure! Miss you and love you!
Angela Nazworth says
Shawnna – your friendship is such a blessing. I treasure the time we lived in the same town and I look forward to our bond strengthening even across the miles. I love and miss you too! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.
How refreshing to find one’s thoughts written down by another! I hate moving, we’ve done it several times too. Twice as a child and now twice as an adult those moves have taken me 800-1000 kilometers from where I was. It is hard. We’ve been here just over 3 years now. I’m still struggling to create the community I desire around me. But I hold onto hope. While I wait for ‘friends in the flesh’ God is teaching me to take whatever I can get. To cherish each little thing along the way – I’m finding a community online and enjoying reaching out to other women with struggles similar to myself. There is blessing there 🙂 thank you for sharing…
Moving is hard…My husband and I moved 7 times in the first 6 years we were married. There was always something beautiful to be gained from the move. God directs our paths.
Lisa E says
What a timely post for me! My husband and I just moveed, and even though it is just to another part of the state we live in, it is a completely different lifestyle. Different climate, etc. Weve been here since June, and I’m just beginning to feel a “part of”. It’s not that people are not friendly, because they are, it just takes me longer to feel like I can join in. I’m no longer working, due to some medical issues, which was always a sourse of friendship for me. We have not found a church yet, my husband is not the church type. My adult kids and my grand kids still live several hours away and we try to see them at least once a month!
I guess in God’s time I will have some some very dear friends here too.
Beth Williams says
I moved a lot as a youngster and found it hard it hard to make friends. I grew up a little shy, but was involved in church.
As an adult I still have some trouble making friends. I find that church is a good place to start. Just meet 1-2 people and become acquainted with them. Perhaps a small group or women’s Bible study will open the doors to friendships!
mom of 2 says
I really needed this post tonight. My family and I have been on the mission field for 6+ years. 3 years in Budapest and 3 in Edinburgh. Now we are beginning to feel God tug again for a move and my heart aches because we have lovely friends, home, and school. Kids are well connected too. Praying that God provides all this and more when he does move us onward. Thanks for sharing this.
Angela Nazworth says
Thank you for sharing. I love Michele’s perspective later down in the comment field about how there are good things that come from moving as well. I pray that you will find so much beauty through this new experience (if you do move again), and I also pray for you to experience hope and comfort as you are listening to God and making decisions.
Elise Daly Parker says
To all of you who have moved…I say God bless you! I haven’t moved out of this home for 22 years of raising my kids. And now the last one is in senior year in high school and moving will be inevitable. And I do not look forward to this!
So God bless you for packing up, and being flexible, and keeping your family community intact, and creating community wherever you go. I marvel! The one up side has to be that you can’t possibly have accumulated the ridiculous amount of stuff I will have to sort through and release. Ugh!
Friends/Relationships/Community do indeed bring hope…and yes, I agree, Jesus uses the love extended through others to give us a glimpse of His love.
Angela Nazworth says
Oh I wish you the best on your upcoming move. It is amazing how much stuff one can accumulate, eh? I agree, we have kept that part down since we have moved so often.
Susan G says
YIKES! I will never complain about going back and forth from our home to a little place in the desert – even though it’s 11-12hrs each trip… 😉 I dub you the Moving Queen! Thanks for letting us women who are reading this, know we can find hope in difficult situations.
Blessings to you!
Angela Nazworth says
Thank you, Susan!
Behind The Smile says
Community is so important and the loss of community so devastating. Community brings support, love, healing, hope as you have said in your post and when you lose community heart break, tears, sorrow, loneliness. I used to be part of a thriving church, social and working community-3 communities which at times interchanged and overlapped. Then chronic illness became my experience and I lost very quickly all three communities. I know from hard experience how difficult it is to walk this life journey when you are mainly housebound, on your own and very little person contact or interaction. I thrive better in community I struggle out with community. Through blogging I have found a new community and although different because it is not face to face, I have met God through the people I have met in the blogging world. I have found support, encouragement and fellowship. Thank you for your post.
Angela Nazworth says
Losing community hurts and I am so sorry you had those experiences. I am glad that you came to know community again … in a different, yet still fulfilling way.
Michele Fleming says
Through the years God gave me this analogy; With bruises and injuries, blood rushes into the area to prompt healing . Often times God will use us like blood rushing into areas to prompt healing and wholeness and once that takes place he’ll often times move us to other places. I pray this helps us to look at changes and moves from a different perspective. Yes it can be tiring emotionally draining but it can be refreshing and transformational at the same time! We are like a particle of sand in a riverbed, it is always moving and changing shape because of the water’s current washing over and around it! It’s all in how we choose to look at it!
Angela Nazworth says
Michele – That is a lovely perspective and truthful. God does make beautiful things out of trying situations and good does come, for sure. There are also times in those draining moments where I think He can send others our way to help us through it. I think that it can sometimes be harder to really see the beauty without first experiencing the pain.
Ruth E. Chidley says
I am 64 years old and I have moved 31 times. Until about 10 years ago I adapted actually quite well for the most part. I was very active in a church playing the piano, organ, keyboard, singing and many other positions and responsibilities. I made some wonderful lady friends through the years. In 1994 I became disabled but I still maintained friendships. Over the past ten years I have gone through several surgeries (I’ve had 14 major surgeries in my life) and each one has been harder and harder to recover from, making me home-bound a lot. Plus, we have gone through very difficult financial difficulties making it necessary to sell my car, then stop my cell phone service (often not having a home phone either), plus with limited income there has not been
money to buy craft supplies to help pass the time and feel productive. I haven’t been out with a lady friend for a meal in over 6 years. Prior to that time, in an effort to develop a “community,” I took different ladies out to lunch and they always said how much fun it was and that we would have to do it again soon…never happened. We moved back closer to 3 of our 4 children a little over a year ago because they said they want to do family things more. We provided several meal-times together the first few months but when I had complications from a surgery to remove a bone from my wrist, everything stopped because WE were not able to make things happen. I haven’t even seen my last grandson, born in June, and they live 3 blocks away from us. My husband needs our one car to get himself to work, then it broke down for over a month, I am unable to walk to their home because of my disabilities, and when my husband is home, I’ve not been able to get him to take me to see the baby, although he has seen him twice. Also my husband told me last week he doesn’t want me driving right now. I’ve only driven the car twice in over 18 months and that was to doctor appointments. I did not have any problems so I’m not sure of his concerns. I have a wonderful husband and he has cared for me incredibly well. So why do I share all of this with all of you? Not completely sure but I do want everyone to know God has been with me every step of the way and I am encouraged that my health and life will get better. I’m eating healthy and exercising by walking some, on a treadmill my brother let me use. Blessings to all of you and have a wonderful week!
Women Health − Community Brings Hope says
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