Welcome to Day #13 of the Intentional Mothering series:
I am pleased to announce that Abby is the winner of the $40 Premier Designs gift certificate- yeah (and almost happy birthday to you too)!
And it is also time for yet another giveaway! Today’s
guest blogger and I love to sing, so we thought it would be fitting to
give one of my CDs away today. “Echoes of my Heart” is the title
of this CD and I recorded it to help generate funds for adoption. The
song, “Castles and Rockets” is especially fitting for this series, “There
were changes and moves, rough roads and smooth, through the shifting
seasons of time. Through laughter and tears, triumphs and fears, we
treasured each day of life.”
Share with us your response to one of the Deep Breaths questions at the
end of this post or on facebook (one winner will be selected at random and receive the
CD in the mail).
this series started becoming more than just an idea, my dear friend
Jennifer was right there with encouragement and support. In large part,
this series is a reality because of her great cheerleading skills. Jennifer is my longest
friend. We met through a local children’s
chorus when we were in elementary school (we made friendship bracelets
together and the rest is history). Thankfully we do not have digital
images of us from middle school (in our matching splatter-paint bikinis
and plastic jewelry)! Jennifer and I do not often live near each other,
so through letters, and now texting, we stay connected. Our birthdays
are ten days apart and our oldest children’s birthdays are twelve days
apart. I love this classy gal; and you will too. So sip on some sweet
tea and learn from this sweet friend today.
Moving into a New Opportunity
At least once a week, I am asked—“where are you from?” Our family is
still relatively new to the Southern city in which we live, and it must
be obvious that we are not from here. My accent is distinct, my college
sports loyalties are to a different conference, and my cellphone number
has a different area code. Our family must stand out to many locals, but
the Lord has called us here.
parents still live in the same quiet Midwestern neighborhood where I was
raised. Since I left my parents’ home for college, I have moved a lot! I
have lived in 10 different cities, 5 states, 4 regions of the country,
and the Nation’s Capital. The majority of these moves were made after I
was married, while I was pregnant or caring for our young children.
During our most recent move, our children were ages 7 and under.
comfort in knowing that God is going before us and walking with us,
preparing the way for us and directing our steps each day. Four lessons
in particular stand out to me: (1) embrace the opportunity; (2) prepare
the way; (3) jump right in; and (4) don’t look back.
Embrace the Opportunity
many, moving can seem like a huge burden. However, as a Christian wife
and mother, I have learned that each move is from God, and I have
embraced each move and the new challenges and opportunities that moving
brings. Reflecting on these moves helps me to remember how God has
orchestrated each of our relocations, bringing our family to the places
where He wants us to be.
God is constantly and
continually at work in all of our lives, even if we do not always sense
His presence and see the opportunities, He is providing. The words of the Apostle Paul reflect this perspective: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV).
we first started contemplating our most recent move, I was unprepared
for the prospect of moving to the Deep South. We prayed that if this
move was from His hand, He would make it clear. Over time, it seemed to
us that God was at work, showing us through various circumstances that
He was opening the door, and a sense of confidence developed that He was
leading us to move.
When faced with a God-directed move, fully embrace it as a gift from God’s loving hand. Whether
relocating down the street or across the country, we should remember
that God is at work in the world and in our lives, and we should look
for His purpose. Remember to “[t]rust in the Lord with all your
heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV). When
we think about the opportunities He is setting before us and how He can
use us and our family in a new place, we will not approach a move
Telling children about a move can be difficult, but it can also provide a teaching moment. As
a parent, I have the opportunity to show how God is at work in our
lives and to teach the importance of obedience to God’s will. One of the verses that I have used is Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For
I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper
you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
that God is at work, that He has called us to serve where He places us,
and that all His plans are good allows us as parents to present the
move in positive terms. Thus, a move is a new opportunity from the Lord,
and in this new place, He is already preparing the way for our family.
Although moving means leaving family, friends, and familiar
surroundings, the place where we need to be is the place where He would
have us be, and He will meet our needs with new friends, a welcoming
church family, and more adventures. In the final analysis, He has a
vested interest in our future individually and as a family, and He has a
purpose for moving us to the place where He is leading us. Putting the
move in the right perspective can ease the difficult transition that a
Prepare the Way
preparing to move, managing the details can be overwhelming. The most
obvious details are the physical ones. The house needs to be sold, or
the landlord contacted. The mail has to be forwarded, and the cable
cancelled. Personal possessions must be delicately packed into boxes and
loaded onto a moving truck.
preparation details should not be overlooked. As mothers, we need to
prepare ourselves and our families mentally, spiritually, and
emotionally for the move. Pray that the Lord prepares you for the move.
Look to Him for strength. As the Prophet Jeremiah declared, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jeremiah 29:12 (NIV).
Moving can be a difficult process that stirs up unexpected emotions,
causes feelings of insecurity, and produces doubts and misgivings. In
the faces of these emotions, feelings, and doubts, we should remember
that our loving Heavenly Father is at work in our lives and that He is preparing the way.
Recall that this move is from His hand, and embrace the move and the
awaiting opportunities with enthusiasm, rather than setting our hearts
on the things of this world, focusing on the negative, and being
swallowed up with sorrow that familiar surroundings will be left behind.
Jump Right In
After the moving truck has left and the boxes are mostly unpacked, it is time to embrace the new surroundings. Be friendly and make introductions to the new neighbors.
Ask them for recommendations for local restaurants, the best
pediatricians, good hairstylists (or the ones to avoid), and when trash
is picked up. Then, go explore. Discover fun things to do in the new
city. Adventure awaits!
As a mom in a new town, it is
important to connect with other moms and to get plugged in to a new
community. Start the process of finding a church home right away. It is so important to be connected to a body of believers and to find a Christian community. Join a women’s Bible study or a MOPS group.
Enroll in a new exercise class at a local gym. Volunteer to serve your
children’s school through the parent-teacher organization. By jumping
right in, you will begin to feel like you are a part of the community.
Don’t Look Back
a move, it is tempting to try to remain closely connected to the place
and the relationships you just left. Phone calls to girlfriends back
home, Facebook status updates, and catching up on the latest seem like
life-lines and supply oxygen to our emotional lungs. While it is good to
stay in contact with friends back “home”, it is equally important to
build new relationships in the new place. We need face-to-face, daily
relationships to strengthen and encourage us, even though it can be
intimidating to step out of our comfort zone to do so. God’s instruction to Joshua when he received a new assignment is as relevant today as it was then: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV). Remember that the Lord is with you.
God has called you to live in a new place, be there and enjoy it.
Resist the urge to return back “home” for frequent visits. Returning to
“the old place” can lead to a spirit of discontentment. Fully embracing life
in the new place means learning about the customs and traditions,
trying the local cuisine, and visiting historical sites that introduce
you to the uniqueness of this “new” place. As one of my dear college
roommates once said, “Wherever you are, be fully there.” Invest
in new relationships, be friendly, be open to new experiences, and be
willing to be vulnerable in this new place. And, always remember, that
the Lord has prepared you for this place and this place for you and your
With Love and Encouragement,
Jennifer takes the greatest pride in being a child of God, a wife,
and a mother of four. She also enjoys running, traveling, and cooking.
On most days, she is a chauffeur, an errand runner, and the “cruise”
director for her family. In her free
time, she is an attorney and a professor.
Do you see how God may be at work in your life today, over the last
year, and over the last several years? Take a few moments to verbalize
these or jot them down in a journal or scrapbook.
2. How has knowing that God is at work in your life transformed your perspective regarding the opportunities you have?
How are you embracing God’s purpose in your life today and the “hidden”
opportunities He may have for you? If you are not, ask for His help in