June 21, 2023
Imagine this: Your husband just got off the phone with big news. He’s been offered a great job… but it’s on the other side of the country! Or maybe it’s in a different continent altogether, which for us was Sweden when our oldest two kids were 2 and 3 years. It could even be in a new city across the state or across town, which honestly feels just as foreign to you.
You’re excited, and yet your mind is consumed with one big question: What do we do?!
Suddenly, hundreds of other little questions start flooding into your head: Can we afford to live there? What are the schools like? Do we have any family or friends in that area? How will we be able to see relatives if we move there? Will we ever find a new church we love as much as our current church? Is this the right thing for our kids?!
Take a deep breath.
While the possibility or reality of a big move is certainly something that requires a lot of research and patience as you answer these questions (and more), the most important thing you can do at this early point is pray and ask the Lord for guidance. Even if your spouse is in the military and the move isn’t a choice, these questions will still plague you.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God“. We know the Lord loves to hear our deepest concerns and desires. So, my first encouragement to you is close out of that Zillow tab… and pray.
Pray in front of your children. In fact, pray with your children. Let your children see you submit yourself in prayer over these big decisions. Let them watch you– and join in with you– as you model a biblical lifestyle of seeking God in this challenging season.
1) Depending on how often you’ve moved in the past, your kids may (or may not) seem deeply affected by the possibility of an upcoming move. Even if your kids don’t seem to care much, still pray together. This is a page in your family’s story, and by praying together you reinforce your family identity of seeking the Lord together in times of big change. Your kids will look back and remember doing this together.
2) For the reason above, don’t keep news of a potential move from your kids for too long, but I would only tell your kids once you can handle the consequences of the “news” getting out. It isn’t fair to ask your kids to keep this kind of news a secret. Also, it is a good idea not to tell them until you have told your parents because they will be emotionally affected by your move too.
3) Check in with your kids separately about their feelings towards the possibility or certainty of moving. Remember that some children may avoid discussions about their feelings. This can be especially true if they have siblings who seem more excited about moving than they are. Take them out alone with you for ice cream and gently see if you can get them to open up. Put your phone away and give them your time and your attention while they share.
4) If you have kids who deal with anxious thoughts, be aware of the specific things you pray and talk about in front of them. Your prayers may seem harmless, like praying that groceries will be affordable in your new town. An anxious child can quickly spiral to extreme lengths, even eventually believing your family won’t have enough food to eat if they move. I have a daughter with diagnosed anxiety, and we work a lot on helping her learn how to cope with her anxious thoughts. At the same time, a move is an incredibly acute and stressful time as it is, and there is wisdom in protecting our children’s mental health as much as possible during a transition like this.
5) Pray for your husband as he is the leader of your household through this big decision. Us wives are ultimately called to support our husbands as we also submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-23). There is a lot riding on his shoulders right now. Ask him for specific things you can pray for him about. Ask him if you can ask a few of your close friends to be praying for your family too.
As you pray through this season of transition, remember that one day your whole family will look back and see how God was the central pillar in this process. From someone who has moved dozens of times, and will almost certainly move some more, I am hopeful that my family and I will continue to see God’s provision in the midst of the move.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.