The Lord said to Abram: “Go out from your land, your relatives,
and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”
. . . So, Abram went, as the Lord had told him.
Genesis 12:1, 4 (CSB)
Twenty-six. That’s the number of different homes I lived in before I was thirty years old. Sometimes moving meant to a new house in the same town, but many times moving meant to a new city far away, where I wouldn’t know a soul.
By necessity, I became something of an expert at packing and labeling boxes. Perhaps this is why I never accumulated much clutter. Deep down, I knew — extra stuff meant more to pack and transport.
Moving a lot also meant I never stayed in one place long enough to paint the walls, settle in, and really make the place feel like home. Every house felt temporary, a stop-over until it was time to move on to the next thing.
Then shortly after I turned thirty-one, my husband and I purchased the house we’re in now. Fifteen years later, we’re still here. It’s the first time I’ve ever lived in the same place long enough to need to repaint the same walls I previously painted. And that’s what I’ve been doing this past year — redecorating some of the same rooms I decorated years ago. It was time for a fresh sprucing up of things.
When you’ve been in the same place for a long time, you get used to the smudges on the walls, and you no longer notice the way the doorknob won’t close unless you jiggle it just right. But that’s part of settling in and growing familiar with your surroundings.
When I was in my twenties, I would grow restless after I had lived in the same place about a year. I’d get the itch to move on and do something new. It’s just what I was used to. But the older I’ve become, the more I like being in the same place, knowing the same people. I don’t live in a small town, but I know the names of the cashiers at my nearby grocery store, and I know all my neighbors because we’ve been here a long while.
It’s home to me, and I like it here.
While I’ve been repainting and redecorating this past year, I’ve also been studying Genesis with a group of women (whom I adore!) at my church. Abraham left everything that was familiar to him, and he lived in tents in a foreign land for the rest of his life.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out
for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance.
He went out, even though he did not know where he was going.
Hebrews 11:8 (CSB)
Abraham’s obedience to follow God’s call on his life has been credited to him as righteousness, but to be honest, I never used to think this was that big of a deal. I mean, I moved all the time to new places. I was used to being a stranger in a “foreign land.” Starting someplace new was kind of exciting.
But now that I’ve been in the same place for quite a while, I realize how much Abraham was leaving behind. Like Abraham, we’ve all left things:
We’ve left childhood.
We’ve left home.
We’ve left school.
Perhaps some of us have even left jobs or cities.
Sometimes we need to say good-bye so we can say hello to new vistas and horizons, new opportunities and experiences. Leaving is a part of life — to grab hold of what is in front of us and let go of what is behind us. That’s what Abraham experienced when he obeyed God’s voice and set out for a new land, a new home.
Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go.
In fact, “leaving and going” is how this whole “children of God” thing began. We are heirs of the promise God gave Abraham. As believers in Christ, we are Abraham’s spiritual descendants, part of the same family.
Today, God still sometimes calls us to leave — to embark on a new journey toward an unknown future, trusting He will lead the way. But other times, God calls us to stay. At another point in biblical history, God told His people to stay put — right there in Babylon!
As the writer in Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to plant and a time to uproot.”
So wherever you are today — if you’re in a season of “uprooting” where you’re being called to move and do something new, or if you’re in a season of “planting” where you’re being called to stay right where you are — you can know that God is with you. He is with you wherever you go. It’s a promise.
Jesus came near and said,
“Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18, 20 (CSB)
Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go. -@DeniseJHughes: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
So thankful for your testimony–I never want to stop going and growing by faith.
Thank you Denise for your insight into God’s call to stay or go. Right now I’m in the middle. My husband of only a short time passed away in December and I am in the middle of the wilderness. Praying for God to show me something. I love my old house and I have made it a home when we were together. My loneliness has stymied me and the winter blues has put heavy boots on me. My daughter lives on another continent and my well meaning friends have their own lives. So as I’m adjusting I am also battling depression, loneliness and fatigue. If God shows me His way now, He would have to tie me to a rocket and light it Himself:-). Having trust in His divine providence is what I need to do (easier said), but I pray much and my friends and family from the church pray. It’s not a pity party it’s a party of one. When I am out and about you’d never know I am desolate.
Well now that I’ve sent such an uplifting message I am grateful for your articles and that of others!
Have a blessed day and pray for me. God bless!
Will pray, Thea 🙂
Kathy Cheek ~ First Breath of Morning says
I will pray for you and also let you know I have put this long list of encouragement verses on my devotional blog if you want to read them. It is the most read page on my blog. I pray they encourage you today!
Love and prayers,
Praying for God’s peace and the fullness of His presence flow over and in you. It sounds like you just need the comfort of your loving God to walk with you during this time of grief and transition. Rest in His arms and know that He is with you where you are right now and will provide what you need because He loves you and cares about all that matters to you.
I hear you dear and pray you will find comfort and peace as you lean upon the Lord for direction. My husband and I have been In Our house 47 years and I have felt the call to move out for several years but , he is content and hence not listening for God ..”I will go where you want me to Lord”. Funny how we cling to possessions and get content where we are instead of being available for God. Human nature..
My word from God this year is “DELIGHT” …I have written it all around the house on wee sticky tabs and I plan to not let anything nor anyone steel my JOY in the Lord as I lean more towards Him. Praying you will soon be REJOICING and finding new BLESSINGS He has for you as you “let go and let God” ✝
Trina, My heart goes out to you!❤️ Have hope in the Lord and let Him carry you through this difficult season (only one set of footprints in the sand right now.) praying for you!
Praying for you Trina in this season of loss, grief, and uncertainty.
‘Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, be upon us, O Lord, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22
Oh Tina, trust that God’s word can comfort and return your joy. My prayer for you is one that I pray every morning for myself: “Lamentations 3:22-24 ESV”.
I am sorry for your loss and pain. Please know you a daughter of the King and ARE in my thoughts and prayers. Sending you a big hug too.
PS I have never commented to anyones post before. Thank you Lord!
CHARMAIN CATTAN says
CHARMAIN CATTAN says
Praying for you, Trina
Anne Capozzi says
Trina, Praying for you as you work your way through this grieving process. I’m so sorry for your loss and will pray for God’s peace that surpasses understanding. If I could just mention, my husband is part of a group that is run in our church called Gried Share….it’s nationwide and they meet in small groups in the daytime and the evening. God knows what we need and this might be good for you to think about, being with others who share their hearts and loss and encourage one another and help share the burden of losing someone we love. Praying for you and wishing you well!
Trina, sorry for your loss. Praying for you tonight that you will be able to discern Gods plan for you and that he blesses you in abundance of community.
Much love to you
Denise J. Hughes says
Trina, I am so, so sorry for your deep loss. Thank you for bravely sharing in this space, as I do not think you are alone, although I am sure it can feel that way.
Trina, you have a way with words.
“…the winter blues has put heavy boots on me.”
“If God shows me His way now, He would have to tie me to a rocket and light it Himself.”
I strongly encourage you to pour your grief into your pen and let it pour out through its ink. As you invite God into this time of grieving and writing, I pray you sense His peace and presence in unexpected ways.
Thank you Denise for your encouraging words! Actually I would love to get a children’s book I’ve written published. I found it to be expensive. I have published poems, but that was sooooo long ago! Your words may be from God! He always had to nudge me or on some occasions flip me over like a table:-). At this time I may need a leaf in my table. Thank you again for your thoughts and encouragement. I do find writing very therapeutic:-) God bless you sister!
Irene Bandeen says
This really spoke to me, Denise. I, too, moved almost every year when I was a child. It was exciting, but also hard sometimes. Now I’ve lived in the same community for about 47 years and in the same house for 34 years. Imagine! And I get that yearning in the fall every year, to move on. I try to be sure and take some sort of trip that time of year. But I am where God planted me and it is home. And He is here with me.
Hi Irene. What a comfort God is. No matter where we are, He is there. I have moved a bit myself. I will pray that as you are happy where you are, God will speak to your heart and say”Rest child, I am here”. But a short little trip might be nice also:-) God bless you!
Thank you to all the ladies with your words of comfort and hope! It is deeply appreciated! My word this year was “Trust”. I think God is telling me something.
God bless you all:-)!
Beth Williams says
Praying for you sweet sister. May you feel His warm tender arms surrounding you to give you a hug, peace & comfort during your grief. Take the time now to be still & listen for His voice. He will tell you what to do in His way & perfect timing. For now just rest in His love & care. I will pray you can hear His voice telling you what to do & sending His warmth, love & healing for your soul. God is your sweet refuge always there to guide & comfort you.
Thank you Beth! It’s a comfort to know God is already speaking to me through all the blessed women who are praying for me! God bless you, sister!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I’m late to the party today…I think of all the places I’ve lived and how much God stretched and molded me in those moves. When moving to towns where I knew no one, I learned a lot about myself and a lot about leaning into Jesus. One verse that has always helped me when I’ve had to venture into box land and move has been Exodus 23:20:20 “Behold, I am sending an angel before you to protect you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” No matter where we go, God always goes before and prepares a place for us. This gives me great comfort.
Jessica C says
This was very timely for me to read..I just moved to another state (VA),from clear across the miles (WA state to be exact), this past July and I’ve been having a difficult time settling in…I needed a change and I’d felt for some time that God was calling me to leave home and go somewhere. A place where I’d literally uprooted myself: from dear friends and a little church that had people who knew me, and I find myself in a new area with a humongous mega (at least to me!) church where it’s easy to get lost in the crowds and feeling like I have nothing in common with the young adults I’ve met here…it’s all a big change for me and I’m still toying with the idea of moving back to my home state. I’m in my later 30’s so a big move like this was kind of out of the blue I think to the people that knew me back home. Could you please pray for me? I’m still not sure whether the decision to move here was entirely a selfish decision on my part or whether God really had a hand in my coming here or not…I don’t see how I don’t run out of money by now because the job I have doesn’t provide me the salary that I need to survive…must be God’s grace I guess. Thank you for writing such insightful and discerning posts. They are always a delight to read and so timely. Thank you for sharing how God has led and taught you thru your experiences moving. The tweet you gave: “Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go” resonated with me. Please keep writing. You are a great blessing!
Beth Williams says
Praying for you sweet sister. Take time to be still & listen for His voice. He will guide you to the right place in His perfect timing. For now just rest in His love & care. Perhaps you could join a small group within the church you attend. You might make a few friends. Know that God is watching & caring for you each moment of every day. God will make a way in this “wilderness” you’re in. Seek Him & pray earnestly & watch Him move.
Angie Ryg says
“Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go.”
Yes! Even when I am afraid of change…I need to remember this and step put….for His glory.
Thank you friend.
Love you forever,
Denise J. Hughes says
Love you, friend! So much so!
Beth Williams says
Change has been part of my vocabulary for most of my life. My parents moved five times in seven years till I was eight. I stayed put till I was 25 or so. Got tired of the heat & humidity in Florida. I left a good job & moved to VA for college. After one semester I moved back home. Shortly after that we moved to Upper E. TN. I have been here since. I love the area with the mountains. During my 24 years here I have worked several jobs & gone through various health issues with my parents. Your statement “Sometimes we’ll never grow if we never go” resonates with me on several levels. I know I would never have grown as Christian if I hadn’t left jobs & gone through those trials. Recently I was laid off from a part time job. I knew God had something better in store for me. God did indeed have something better for me. Something I never would have dreamed of. He has me working in a hospital as a secretary in ICU step down unit. Love my co-workers & boss. This job is good because I can so relate to my patients & their families. God grows us by having us leave familiar places, people & move out in obedience to Him.
Iseoluwa Pamilerin says
Thank you for this message,
Coming back here to read more.
Seems I found a great Christian blog to read articles
I needed this right now!
Julisa Espinoza says
I really needed this today. Right now my family of 6 and I are living in a 2 bedroom 1 bath apartment. We were displaced by the Campfire, one of the wildfires in Northern California. Paradise California to be exact. The day we were evacuated we had little time to grab more than just the necessities and a few pictures. We lost our home and everything we own. Thank God we all made it out alive. Change isn’t something I deal with very well. I’m here almost 4 months later still praying this is all just a terrible nightmare. I will use these words to help me remember to trust God because he always has a plan. Thank you!
Denise J. Hughes says
Thank you for sharing part of your story here. I used to live in Paradise, and my parents still live there. They have been displaced for months, living in a spare bedroom at a relative’s house in Chico. It’s been very, very hard.
The national news reports and the politician visits have gone, but the people who live there are STILL living in extremely difficult circumstances. I know.
Do you have a home church? So many churches were destroyed by the fire, but I know Paradise Alliance Church is still standing, and because it’s on its own well system, they are holding services again on Sundays. The congregation is a fraction of what it used to be, as so many people have been displaced and they needed to seek shelter in other towns, but I pray you find community, whether there or somewhere else. God so often works through his people. It’s so important that you’re not alone through this terrible ordeal.
Please know that I have not stopped praying for the people of Paradise since November 8th, and I will now add your name to the list of those, specifically from Paradise, I am praying for.
Ty Denise for your words. Obeying God’s voice, holding fast to Him I let go of the past. Holding fast to Him, I take the next right step.