Moving can require a litany of give-aways: spices, cleaners, opened food packets, and an odd assortment of containers from refrigerators and cupboards. Somehow a stack of things always seems to remain that needs to be shifted to friends or family whether moving across town or across the ocean. My neighbor once left cinnamon, salt and a variety of seasonings for every occasion. Another friend gave hairspray, bathroom cleaner and cat tray liners—and we didn’t even have a cat. Sometimes we leave or get items we’ll never use or don’t know what they are. More important is what we leave behind emotionally when we move.
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The LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. — Psalm 121:8
Some PCS moves you anticipate—others come as a surprise. Some moves are a relief—others are a burden. But no matter if you have faced “good” moves or “bad” moves, there is one thing they all have in common—change. And some people deal well with change—others do not.
I always have a ready ear for moving stories because they are such a common element in our military life experience. We can all connect over moving stories! Recently I had the opportunity to read two womens’ thoughts on moving—even spiritual thoughts. So I readily pass them along to you in the hopes that you might find some common element in your experiences—and perhaps draw some hope from what they share.
Penny Hunt, a Christian writer and speaker, gave me this writing to share from her experiences of moving in the Navy:
“Here we go again! Time to face the change, pack up our now life and start a new one; time to find the kids a school, learn new streets and names in a place where no one knows ours and dare to make a friend.
Help me, Lord. This change is hard. I feel so sad my teeth ache. I do not want to go. I do not want to be brave and smart and smile. I want to stay here and keep things as they are.
Tell me again how much You love me and how You will never leave me. Lift my head, hold my hand and help me pack a box.
Show me the way to grow through this change and not just go through it.”
Bea Fishback, an author of three Bible studies on military life, had this to say about moving from her Army experience:
“In twenty years of military service we moved ten times. Each time I learned something new. . . . like how to pack effectively, and that I didn’t need three sets of dishes, sixteen pots and pans, and three hundred books. And I learned that it took something special to make a building a home. As we moved our possessions from one house to the next a strange thing would happen. The old home lost its “life.” What made our government quarters, apartment, or building unique was our family and our special things. Each picture, rug, and piece of furniture represented something about us.
Take the pictures of our son dressed as “Uncle Sam” and our daughter as the “Statue of Liberty” shot on a fourth of July many years ago when we were stationed in another country. As each thing was removed the house became empty and hollow. What was once our home became a building again. And our new house took on the feelings of love, warmth, and hopefully a welcome to all who entered.
Sounds a bit like us. Take this body of ours. We determine what it becomes by what we put inside. Put inside the things of the world and you get a hollow place, not a home for a godly heart. Put inside the things of God and it becomes a beautiful place of residence. Lay down the carpet of love, put in peace, joy, patience, kindness; cuddle up with a blanket of tenderness, and hang up the pictures of forgiveness and what do you get? A heart people are drawn to, a place that offers comfort. Ultimately this brings others to desire the God who makes our heart His home—wherever our duty assignment or how many times we move.”
No matter how we “look” at moving. . . in military life, it’s reality. So there’s a choice—to see the move as an opportunity given by God to explore what He has for us and our families in a new location. Or we can grumble and complain over it all, making everyone miserable in our old and new paths.
Which way is God-honoring?
Questions to Share:
- What has been your favorite assignment during your time in the military?
- Why was that your favorite?
- What was your least favorite assignment—why?
- Draw some spiritual lessons—things God taught you—during both of those moves.