When is a Move more than a Move?

A move is more than a move when it follows the death of your husband. It’s more than a move when you are attempting it as the only adult with four kids. This move was and continues to be harder than any I’ve done. And I’ve done a lot. It’s more than a move when it’s a leap of faith.

As a child, my father changed jobs often. We moved a lot. I didn’t want that for my kids. I wanted to put down roots, so I thought. But being married to a pastor meant that moving happened to us too. But each time I embraced it as a new adventure, a new city to explore and help my children experience, a new chance to see what God had for us.

Before Kraig died, we fought about our house. It was tiny. It was a ranch (which I hate) with all the kids in basement bedrooms. That’s terrible for our son with allergies. The only living room was smaller than some walk-in closets I’ve seen. As the kids grew, we could feel the walls grow closer. But Kraig would point to the nice location—sitting walking distance to both the elementary and middle schools, close to stores we frequented, and not far from work or church. Back and forth we went.

And then he died.

Lucy

The old house

I sat in a house that was still not what we needed, not what I wanted. It was a house that was filled with good memories and good support from those schools. But it was also filled with the shadows of what had been.

So I began to ponder if a move was possible. Thanks to God’s amazing provision of life insurance and other funds, it was. I found a house that I could afford, was unique, was bigger, and wasn’t a ranch. It had drawbacks. It is further from work and church. And now I must drive all four kids to three schools before and after. Every. Single. Day. That’s incentive to help my son learn to drive.

I wrestled with the wisdom of this decision. My sisters in Florida graciously reminded me I could move there and reap the benefits of living close to family. My friends here reminded me they would help with a move in town and continue to support me. I prayed about staying in my old house or moving to the new.

I believe it was one of those decisions that God could have blessed either way. There was no fiery message from on high telling me what to choose. I believe sometimes in life He lets us choose when our hearts are fully submitted to Him. We can trust Him to bring something amazing from our decision because of our surrender, not because of the choice.

And so I moved.

SAM_0959

The new house

The move itself was awful. My terrible realtors did not push to get the buyers of my old house to let me have a day to move out. An in-town move is so much nicer when that happens—out of one and into another. I found out the people buying my house didn’t move in for a long time. We could have worked something out. The move became stressful and over several days. I had to move things into the garage of the new one and beg to be able to move large furniture in the night before because nothing more would fit in the garage.

I had to scramble to find friends and acquaintances and strangers from church to help. I had to fight tears while asking a stranger, a guy from church to please pack up my late-husband’s tools because I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. There were so many things I faced bravely but that was beyond my ability in the midst of the stress of moving.

This move had baggage on two levels. There was the stuff we should probably purge but there was no time before the move. There were boxes of things that belonged to Kraig that none of the kids were ready to part with. And there was the emotional baggage of leaving the last place we lived in with him.

Many people thought I was moving for a fresh start. I wasn’t. But after hearing it so many times, I realized that might be a good secondary blessing of this choice. A bonus.

Tomorrow I will write more about the emotional and difficult journey of moving in. And after that I will focus on the successes and setbacks and all the times I just try again or try something new. I hope to inspire any woman with kids who needs to do this alone. I especially hope to reach moms alone–whether you are like me and recently widowed or maybe you are unwillingly parenting alone because he went crazy one day and ran off to Fiji.

I hope to inspire you that a move is possible. Making a house a home is possible. You can do this! I can do this! Maybe we will do it together.

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5 thoughts on “When is a Move more than a Move?

  1. I am so glad you posted a link to your blog on the 31 days Facebook page. Wow – to be moving without your husband after his sudden death, that is a LOT. I can only begin to imagine how hard this must be for you. But I’m looking forward to hearing how God blesses you in your journey.

  2. Ann Icenogle says:

    Jenn I feel like I am just a few steps behind you. I am in the process of selling our house and trying to find something I can live off my equity for awhile. It has to be something smaller but for us this is needed to move on in our lives. I haven’t even started this process yet and I’m already overwhelmed in what this move is going to bring. I have to give up a lot. But I know God will see us through this. So once again thank you for your blog. 🙂

  3. We moved last year after being somewhere for 15 years. I had 4 more kids during that stay (adding to my 3) so it was hard to move. I got rid of a ton of things.

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