Destined to Move, Again.

by Laura on July 24, 2010

A Later Note:  After I wrote this, I got to thinking that a post like this may communicate that you have it “easy” if you are called to stay in the same place, to develop roots and routines.  Please know that I believe the planting is just as challenging (in different ways) as the moving.  Each of our stories is uniquely good and beautiful.  Check out this Sarah Markley post about God working, right at home. 

I have a love-hate relationship with moving. Okay, I guess it’s mostly hate.  But, like it or not, we are a family that moves house. Lots, as it is turning out.  After our upcoming move this weekend, here will be our current family stats:

Matt and Laura:  Married 11 years.  Moved 12 times.  Lived in 7 cities and on 4 continents.

Kelty:  7 years-old.  Moved 7 times.  5 cities and 3 continents.

Cade:  5 years-old.  Moved 5 times.  3 cities and 2 continents.

Ava:  Nearly- 3- years-old.  Moved 3 times.  2 cities,  2 continents.

I guess you could say we don’t collect a lot of dust.  And oftentimes I worry about what all this transition will do to my kid’s hearts and how it will affect our relationships with friends and family.  I struggle with missing cousin birthday parties and sister lunches.  My heart hurts from being absent from family events, from loving only over the phone, from recognizing that Matt and I are the only consistent ones who are here to notice the daily changes in my young children. And that is hard.  Brutal, actually, for this heart of mine.

Because there’s a part of all of us that longs for roots.  Relationships that have depth.  Places that are familiar.  Routines that are known. People that can remind you of your own history.

And when I look at that (the deep goodness of roots), discontentment begins its subtle creep.  When I rubber-neck my focus on her story and how she gets to stay, I tend to complain and grumble and whine.  When I stop to really think about what I am missing there, the here seems harder to enjoy or fully engage in.

But the here is what I have been given.

The here. This day.  In this house. For this season.  Alongside these people.  Caring for these kids and married to this husband. In this country.

This is my story. With all its transitions and moving vans and setting up utilities, again.?  This is my Christ-following, and by extension, my husband-following, too. But like in all of life, I have a choice as a woman, as a mother, as a wife.  I can put all my chips into my journey (transitions and all), or I can sit back like a stingy Poker player and only bid the minimum amount to avoid folding (and being out of the game) completely.

And I’ve decided I’m all in. Regardless of the cards in my palm (and the struggles they may represent), this is the hand I’ve been dealt (and have chosen).

And, I’m sliding my whole stack of chips across the table.

And, now, off to pack some boxes.

FYI:  We have decided to move to a much cheaper house that is closer to the orphanage. I promise I will be sharing the story of why we decided to move and pictures of our new (more, ah-hem, local) rented house soon.  There’s a story to be shared in that, too.

And, the poker-reference in this post is a shout-out to my bro-in-law, Will.  I wrote this and thought of you and Amy on our back porch last summer in Colorado playing cards and betting poker chips.  Miss you guys.
What is the hardest part about being “all in” with your unique story–whether that is to stay or to go?

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  • Shannon

    Spending 10 years away from my family was very difficult…especially when dealing with tough “life” issues. My heart always longed for the comfort of home and family and the unconditional love that I knew I would find there. But God was always faithful…He gave me you guys and Phil & Martha and others who filled the void during my most desperate times! And eventually, in His timing He let me come home again!!

    • Laura

      Hey sweet Shannon,

      What a good reminder that God is faithful and good–even when we feel “on our own.” I love that. And thanks for your story of getting to return home again, eventually. I know you must be enjoying that right now–

      Love to the new hubby, Chase, and the new peanut!

      love, Laura

  • Brenda Ragan

    Unless you can identify the struggle, you can’t embrace the grace. The struggle of missing you is real on this side of the world, too. (I’ve been sick since my return. This too shall pass.) But, I am so proud that you are ’embracing the grace.’ Daddy used to say, “You can only play the hand you’re dealt.” Everybody’s ‘hand’ gives real opportunities to trust and draw closer to Christ, who is our life.
    “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18) We’ll all be ‘home’ soon.
    Until then, like your Daddy Steve would say, “Press on to know the Lord.”
    You encourage my heart. Love to the children and Matt.

    Love, MOM

    • Laura

      Mom, now I’m crying. Thanks a lot.

      No, really, I know that I have a gift in relationships that I miss so deeply. I keep clinging to the idea that somehow, heaven will make up for lost time. i miss you and the family to my deepest core. Especially tonight, when the hard looms so so large.

      Feel better soon, Momma,


  • Katie

    It’s the little things…birthday parties, family dinners that make my heart ache.

    I loved your poker analogy…I’m feeling increasingly convicted to put my chips all in–I know it may bring some challenges–but I’m also eagerly anticipating the blessings.

    • Laura

      Katie, Yes. Family events like Birthday parties and Christmas Eve and Sunday dinners, these are brutal to know you are missing. I keep returning to the idea that somehow heaven makes all things right.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’d love to hear more about your journey, too.


  • Michelle DeRusha

    Laura, This is beautiful. I love your honesty and your positivity here. Moving is hard…I’ve only done it once (well, one big move — other smaller ones) — from Massachusetts to Nebraska. I thought I would die from loneliness, quite honestly. And I still miss my sister, my parents, my aunts, every day — like you said, missing those family get-togethers — the cook-outs, and birthday parties, and all that — is so hard. But I found God in Nebraska…and friends who have become like family in many ways — and I can’t complain about that.

    • Laura


      Yes, I agree from past moves that God raises up other relationships outside of family to fill a void and become a support system. I have tasted that from my past 4 years in Colorado, away from family, but making some of the closest friends of my life. I guess the isolation, transition, hardship of starting over relationally is what still rubs me raw sometimes.

      And, of course, my kids being away from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins . . .

      Thanks for popping over.

  • Daline

    You’ve got us beat with number of moves even being in the military. We learned that our family was oft times who we were with not who we were related to. We learned to accept people with different cultures, living conditions, beliefs without necessarily taking them as our own. But not to condemn them just because they were different. As far as kids…we only had Angel but it didn’t hurt her. She has found memories of her time in the Air Force. As long as you love them and each other and are there for them, it’s amazing what they can weather. One thing you learn that is most important……you can’t move far enough to get away from God. He’s always there to listen and understand.

    • Laura

      Oh, thanks DALINE, for the encouragement. I love what you wrote about learning to accept others from different life-views because of living in closer proximity to a variety of people. And I LOVE what you said about never being able to “move away from God.” Thanks for commenting. . . .


  • Emily

    As usual, you’ve spoken to my heart. Maybe its the country we share but most likely the God we serve. :) Thanks for encouraging me!

    • Laura

      Oh, Emily,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I would love for our paths to cross over here . . . . maybe sometime soon?

      Enjoy the rain . . . . love, Laura

  • Brittany 2e

    I do understand how you feel. I don’t have children to think about yet, but I know that I a lot of moving seems to be in my future and I really hate moving. backing up all my things, saying goodbyes…I’m so terrible at goodbyes, making new friends. I have a love/hate relationship with new things. I can better pray for you in this. Love you girl

    • Laura

      Oh, thanks, girl. Thanks most for praying . . .

  • jonna

    I am so glad I stopped over to read this today. I don’t remember how I first found your blog (I think through Caroline Collie), but I’ve been checking in every once in a while to read about your experiences overseas. We plan to move to South Africa in January, where my husband will be a partner in a petrol station/convenience store. We have been to the country several times before and are hoping that running a business over there will lead us to ministry opportunities as well.
    Your post today just really touched and encouraged me. I have started going through our house, deciding what to sell and what to store. I feel like I am selling my kids childhoods right out from under them. We are planning to go “public” with our plans at the end of August and list our house soon after that. It is stressful and sad and exhausting. It is easy to forget why we are doing all of this. We have felt called to South Africa for many years, and now we believe God has given us the opportunity to go. I too need to work at being all in. Thanks again for the encouragement.

    • Laura

      Oh, Jonna, my heart aches for you, too. I know that process of the leaving, the tearing away, the upheaval is BRUTAL. It’s hard on the kids, on the marriage, on your heart as a mom. Hang in there, girl. Keep doing just the next most important thing first, and letting the other details fall in place. Keep your eyes on the call and not on the discouragement that may be in front of you. Please keep me posted. I’d love to hear how you guys are doing. I will pray for you right as I type this.

      Love, Laura

  • Bekah S

    O Laura! I feel this SO much! I just got done talking on skype with my family and its so difficult to be away. To miss my nieces growing up….
    Have you heard and read, “calm my anxious heart” by Linda Dillow? I just got done reading it for my devotions. It addressed this issue head on. I never really felt anxious about living here in South Africa, but I did struggle with contentment and just, missing out on life back home, being fully present here. It was SUCH a good book. Insightful and practical and she knows, she spent over 25 years overseas!

    I look forward to hearing about the new move. And following your story! Sending you some love!

    • Laura

      Oh, I will check that out. I like Linda Dillow. I read her book on marriage my first year of marriage and it was awesome (though I am totally blanking on the title of it now).

      Thanks for the encouragement. I know you share in this journey of the leaving in South Africa. I look forward to hearing more about what you guys are doing there, too!

  • Lisa

    Hey Laura,

    You hit right at the heart of heart of what every missionary, or person living abroad, feels. I understand how you are feeling and my heart aches for you. However, those little girls are are so blessed to have you and your children will see what it is like to serve God with with all you have. Know you are in our prayers.

    Lisa Schweizer


    A friend (Elizabeth & her husband Ryan) that I grew up with said on fb that they are moving to Thailand to teach English. I told her that they should look up our good up our good friends who run an orphanage there in Chaing Mai. She wrote back and said it wouldn’t happen to be the people at Brianna’s House of Joy because she has been trying to contact them. WOW. How cool is that. God is good. I had just watched your You Tube where you were asking for prayer on meeting more people/friends/English speakers and then I get this e-mail. I have known her since high school, she was in my brother’s class and is really sweet. Such a heart to serve Jesus! I am so excited! I hope this will be a great connection for you all. I wish we could come too!

    • Laura

      Hi there, friend. So neat that you have a connection that might become my future connection! Amazing how God weaves people together.

      Thanks so much for your encouragement to keep moving forward.

      Love, Laura

  • Amy

    We too remember sitting on the back deck, LL and what fun it was to hang with you guys. It is so awesome as we get older to really love your sibilings and their spouses for who they are…not just b/c you have to. :-)

    Of course, I wish you guys were closer but, it won’t be forever. And think about how much fun it will be when we do see each other in person again. Playing for the flamingo will take on a whole new meaning. :-) I know it is way harder for you than for us but, just know that we are soooo proud of you. You are enriching yours and your family’s lives so much. Don’t worry about what they are missing out on but, think about all the wonderful things they are learning about.

    And, thank the Lord for the internet! Can you imagine if we had to do all this by pen and paper???

    Love you and miss you very much.

    • Laura

      Sis, No I can’t imagine using the postal service only for communication. I know I need to be more grateful! Love you and know that I am bringing my “A” game next time the Flamingo is up for grabs. love you, Laura

  • Lisa-Jo @thegypsymama

    It never gets easier – it just gets more familiar I think. To this day I can’t walk into an airport or drive by a huge moving van without feeling a tightening in my gut….

    • Laura

      I like that–not easier, just more familiar. I agree. I can flat pack some mean boxes, fast. But that doesn’t mean I don’t totally lose it a few times in the process of living in the chaos.

  • Tamara

    Ahhh, I’m feeling your emotions and re-living some from this different vantage point: moved 9 times but only 2 continents and only one move was truly driving distance to family. (BTW: I so love all the encouragement you’ve gotten in the posts!!! You probably don’t need this one but . . . )
    1. Your kids will be so stable and happy with your and Matt’s love and encouragement.
    2. Your kids WILL miss out on some of the cousin closeness (brutal honesty from one who has grown kids in that place).
    3. The kids will have DIFFERENTLY enriched lives because of your moving. (One thing is that they will depend on each other more)
    4. You and Matt will be knit together in ways you couldn’t be by staying in one place close to all things familiar.
    5. You will learn over and over that home is wherever you are within God’s loving embrace. I learned this with certainty when one of my brothers asked (23 years ago!!) if I would be “home” for Christmas and I blurted out w/o thinking “I AM home,” and I knew it was true.
    Hugs to you, kiddo!
    PS We are in KY moving our son + grandson to their new home and have sent our daughter to her knew home with her new husband in Atlanta. Transition time all around!!

    • Laura

      What great encouragement, Tamara. Thank you. Thank you for the reminder that following Him, no matter where or how often the moves come, is always GOOD. Love you guys . . . best to you as you move your family around, too.


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