When You Need to Move Forward

I don’t handle change well.

Does anyone?

Over the last two weeks Prince Charming and I packed up our home of 14 years. We scrubbed dirt and relived memories. We kept with the daily and added it to the moving of our lives.

On Monday we signed bank documents, sold our home, handed over the keys.

And more than once, I forgot to breathe.

The sale is nothing short of a miracle—a God-breathed shift in our lives.

But just because God moves doesn’t mean moving on is easy.

I keep trying to wrap my mind around the change. Knowing my traveling home will be different, and my entire landscape has shifted.

With this bend in our journey, emotions flooded. New opportunities for our family bring excitement. But as I sifted through the memories of a life lived within the brick and mortar of my home, I realized part of me didn’t want to move on—or move forward.

Because there is a deep comfort in staying where I am.

The hard work of moving forward makes me want to lock myself in my bedroom and stay under the covers, eating chocolate chip cookies while sipping triple-shot mochas.

Packing up the life I’ve known for 14 years, the longest I lived anywhere, overwhelmed me. Where to begin? As with any moving forward, I began with one step. One picture at a time came down from the walls.

Moving forward always begins by moving one foot forward.

And then another. And another.

With each step I felt my grasp on the past ease. I spent the last few weeks with arms reaching into the darkest corners of cabinets, pulling out glassware and plastic cups I forgot were there. How many glass 9×11 pans does a girl really need?

That’s part of moving forward—choosing what needs to be left behind. Realizing there are pieces better left in the dark corners. Chunks of our memories and experiences that may just need to be let go.

One night I dug through my hope chest, a cedar box of dusty recollections.

Pulling fragments of my past out, one after the other, I smiled and I cringed.

I also let go.

An unmarked envelope floated in the midst of my memories. As my eyes traced the words written over 20 years ago, I felt the bitterness I’d held onto loosen its grip. I released what I’d carried for so long, the weight lifted in the pen and paper lightness of the letter.

Sometimes moving on is about leaving things behind. Pain. Bitterness. Anger.

And in the midst of packing and letting go, you can completely break. I did that too. Because there’s this field trip to the zoo I won’t be able to attend. But it’s okay to be broken. When we’re banged up into bits and pieces we realize how desperate we are for the Creator to hold our fragments in His tender hands.

And then, when you know there’s nothing stopping this train of moving on, and you don’t know if you’ll ever be ready—friends show up.

They skip church and bring trucks and serve with their strong arms showing what the Body of Christ is all about.

They stop by to pack your pantry and remind you that you’re not as alone as you thought in this journey.

They watch your kids and pay for your dinners.

They lift the heavy burdens in cardboard boxes as your life spills out of one place into another.

They drive hours to make sure you have what you need the first night of your new life.

They drop off donuts to welcome you home.

Because if I’ve learned anything over the last few weeks it’s this: You can’t move forward alone.

Change is messy. It’s newsprint-blackened fingertips, cups broken from careless handling, and wondering if you’ll ever settle into the new.

But you have a choice.

You can either cement your feet to the ground, refusing the shift, or you can bring one foot in front of the other—ever determined to keep moving forward.

Joining my incredibly brave-because-God friend, Suzie Eller and learning to #livefree. If you want to read more brave sister stories, please follow this link.

More than you imagine

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12 Responses to When You Need to Move Forward

  1. JoAnn H says:

    Heather, I’m one of the odd ones who enjoys a fresh start, the purging and reliving of memories that comes with packing and the establishing and making of new ones. But the hardest thing I’ve ever done was an unconventional move – you’re right. And then I realized I wasn’t really alone, like you said. For one thing, I felt His presence tangibly. And then there were my supporters, in the midst of my detractors. You’ll never convince me it was the wrong move, but it was certainly the hardest I’ve ever made. But joy comes in the morning! Praise God!

  2. I think I’ve moved more than 10 times in my life. A few times with my parents, a couple of times to change jobs as a teacher in new towns, and about 7 times with my husband. Each time was wonderfully exciting and full of tears. No fear – just the pain in the neck and stress of the physical move. By the way, each time my Lord used me in new and significant ways. To God be the glory! You’ll be just fine.

  3. Amy says:

    I needed to hear this today friend as I also struggle with change. In the mornings we always see Mike and the kids leaving for school also and give a wave or friendly farewell. When I went out to the car this morning and didn’t see any cars in the driveway my heart sunk. The reality is definitely sinking in that our friends have moved on. We are so excited for you guys but this is going to take some getting used to.

    • Oh, my sweet friend and neighbor for so, so long…I don’t know if I’ll ever be used to not having you next door. God has amazing plans for both of our families, but it doesn’t make the leaving any easier. You are missed. You are loved.

  4. Kim Schram says:

    Thank you….in the process of moving and needed to hear this! Change is definitely hard for me.

  5. Tara says:

    Thank you! This hits home for me today as I’m struggling with moving forward in a different sense; it’s not a physical move but the same thoughts apply.
    I will keep reminding myself that part of this is “choosing what needs to be left behind. Realizing there are pieces better left in the dark corners.”

  6. Shelly Faust says:

    This is just what my heart needed today. Thank you for the beautiful words and for being a brave example of moving forward.

  7. Michelle says:

    “Because there is a deep comfort in staying where I am.” True. I wonder how many blessings and growth opportunities we miss in choosing not to move forward. Here’s to a new adventure and many more memories for you and your family.

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