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Unpacking the Boxes

Moving. Just the word itself can surface a myriad of emotions.

Whether you have moved once in your life or many times—whether your move was planned or unplanned—moving stirs us and can shake us to the bone. Moving means change, transitions, starting over, good-byes and unknowns. All of these take time to unfold, and as we settle into our new normal, we can feel out of control... Starting over isn’t easy.

We moved a lot when I was young, some of which I don’t even remember. But I do remember moving to a wonderful home in Portland where we stayed for ten years. As a child, I loved the stability that came from attending the same school with the same kids from 4th grade all the way through high school. My adult life hasn't looked like that, though. Since being married, I have moved 12 times... including a move overseas!

I can tell you these moves have been unsettling to say the least. Being a person who needs to feel connected wherever I am, it's been challenging to find new friends and have to learn to work with new colleagues. On top of that, there's the need to find a "new everything." New grocery stores, schools, doctors, hairdressers, gyms and churches... it's exhausting.

What brought me comfort during these times was that I knew I was never making those moves alone, even when I was single. God went with me and He had a good plan for me. Each move, God reassured me that he loves me completely, is always with me, and will carry me through any circumstance. As I trusted in God, he shifted my focus from what I was giving up... to what I was gaining. I learned that each good-bye also meant a new hello. God surprised me with His goodness in new ways; he reminded me of his past faithfulness to provide for all my needs and convinced me he wasn’t going to stop now.  

I learned that each good-bye also meant a new hello.

Being known and having connection with others is what matters the most to me; I suspect that I am not alone in that. As new neighbors are moving into my neighborhood, I put myself in their shoes. I'm reminded that they too, are likely overwhelmed with the details of the move and transition. They may not have the bandwidth to reach out, but I can reach out to them. I can introduce myself and welcome them to the neighborhood. I can take over homemade cookies, or a meal, and give them information about shopping, doctors, schools, churches, etc. I can hear their story and help them feel seen and known, and tell them that I'm so glad they're now a part of our neighborhood. Sometimes the littlest gesture means the world.     

When you become the hands and feet of Jesus to a new neighbor, where there was loss, now there is gain.   

Lisa Kellum has served with the ministry of Cru for over 40 years, helping people grow personally, relationally and spiritually. Her current role is with Cru City Neighbors In Seattle, WA, where she coaches and mentors women locally and internationally, and partners with her church, Alderwood Community, to reach out to low-income families. She's a wife and a mom to 4 adult children and 3 daughter-in-laws. In her free time, she loves finding cool coffee shops and exploring little towns, especially in Europe, with her husband. 


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