“Brace for impact” painted my face as our realtor called and delivered the good news—we were set to close on the sale of our house! I was happy, but I immediately imagined a box truck loaded with the logistics of our family moving, speeding in the direction of Olivia and me with our 7-month-old twin girls.
Packing, organizing, and moving our belongings felt overwhelming. Add in the emotional toll of saying goodbye to our community, adjusting to a new environment, and adapting to a different routine and it all seemed like a rush of stress and anxiety.
I knew moving would not be easy, and I was right. I thought it would mean no peace for the next couple of months, and I was wrong.
Tips we’ve learned from our family moving
Relocating our whole life to a different state was an ongoing process, but so was remembering to seek Christ during the challenges we’d face. Here are five tips we’ve learned through our family moving.
1. Invite Jesus to the moving party.
No matter the reason for your family moving, there are many potential obstacles to navigate. There were many opportunities for the enemy to scheme and get Olivia and me to lose our cool during our move: We felt exhausted daily from packing decisions. Not everyone liked us moving. And did I mention our twins were 7 months in the midst of this?
Setting aside a moment to be still and asking the Lord to lead our family in the move was pivotal for starting well, but also for grounding our perspective to His when challenges came.
- Pray and ask God to give you peace during moving challenges (John 14:27).
- Consider meditating on Philippians 4:6-7: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Express your trust in Jesus as you seek Him first before each decision and before you start moving (Matthew 6:33).
2. Get a “moving checklist” that works for your family and schedule.
Remember that box truck of logistics I felt rushing in our direction? Well, a good checklist paired with Philippians 4:6-7 didn’t change the speed of time, but it gave us a calm feeling while planning for its impact.
Moving got crazy and chaotic real quick. We needed to start changing mailing addresses, making endless calls and texts to communicate with loved ones, transferring medical records, and scheduling movers—my heart is racing just remembering it all.
A checklist helped us stay focused and gave extra safety so we didn’t miss any important tasks as a family moving. It helped us break down the whole process into manageable steps, from sorting and packing to scheduling movers and notifying utilities. Plus, checking off items on the list gave us a sense of accomplishment and reduced stress.
Trust me, having a checklist will save you from last-minute panics and make the whole moving process smoother. So grab a pen and paper, use a cool moving app, or pull a free one online, and with prayer as your first item, let that checklist be your ultimate moving buddy. Your family will thank you later.
3. Have family meetings.
Though our twins weren’t at the age of talking yet, having several family meetings during our season of moving was a game changer. It’s important to mention that these were extremely informal. If you’re picturing an organized couple talking through a to-do list with finely rowed boxes and quiet babies playing, you might be picturing a different couple. That wasn’t us.
Our home felt a mess because we were transitioning. We had to accept that. But what we didn’t accept was for our family moving to cause a disconnection. Our meetings were used to walk through to-do lists on our phones, but it was also a time to connect emotionally and communicate.
Sometimes a move is a lot for a heart, and the enemy can leverage common challenges to pull families apart (Ephesians 6:12). Instead, we leveraged the hard season as an opportunity to care for one another in Christ, which drew us closer together.
Here’s a handful of questions we would ask each other with a gentle heart:
- Is there anything you’d like to add to our shared moving to-do list?
- What has been your favorite memory of living here?
- Is there something you wish we were doing better in the move?
- How can we help the next part of the transition be easier for the kids? (Or ask your kids directly.)
- What’s something you wish we did more of here?
- What can we do together as a couple (or family) to make this move less stressful and more enjoyable?
- What are your hopes and dreams for our new home and neighborhood?
- Can we pray together in gratitude and need?
Our twins were babies. But if your kids are old enough, consider engaging with them on these questions too. Growing up, it meant much to me to have my parents make me feel a part of the transition process.
4. Receive help from your community.
As we experienced during our wedding, friends and family come in clutch during any transition, especially moving. I never knew we were surrounded by loved ones who carried a commercial driver’s license with a trucking background until I expressed a need to move a truck during our relocation. More so, the number of people who advised us to pace ourselves during a move came in handy.
It is popular to think those in our community can only provide physical assistance with packing, lifting, and moving stuff to save money. However, their emotional support can be a gift too. Whether lending an ear to listen to your concerns, offering encouragement, or simply being there to share a laugh, having your tribe by your side makes the whole experience less overwhelming.
So with wide open arms, embrace the support from your community, lean on them when needed, and let them be a source of strength and comfort during this transition.
5. Put the good in goodbye.
Saying goodbye to old friends and family when we moved was tough. Of course, it’s completely normal to feel a mix of emotions, including sadness, nostalgia, and even hesitations about your family moving.
Our little family shared countless memories, laughter, and tears with these loved ones, and leaving them behind was heart-wrenching. But we remembered change is a part of life. We were excited about our next phase of life, and as difficult as it may be, it also opens up new doors of opportunity and growth. Though new doors were opening, here are a few ways we walked away from old doors in love:
- When we could, we wrote “see-you-later cards,” expressing our gratitude to the relationships that meant much to us (individuals at our church, our neighbors, pediatricians, family, and friends).
- We considered throwing a get-together, but we’re heavier on the introverted side as a family. Instead, we had small dinners with a few families individually to spend intentional time with them before we moved. Some dinners were out at our house, some at theirs.
- When we arrived at our new home, we grabbed some postcards of our new city and sent them out to let our loved ones know we had arrived safely. They loved them, and it served as a transitioning way to keep in contact. Now, we write letters!
Moving to a new place can easily be one of the most challenging situations a family can go through. At the time, our twins were 7 months old, and we’d never experienced moving before. Still, as we began embracing the adventure ahead, embracing the awkwardness of being in limbo, embracing the rough patches as opportunities to care more for one another, we began embracing joy in tough times, seeing more beauty in the plan God had for our journey.
Experiencing our family moving became a lesson of embracing change, stepping out in faith, and embracing God.
Now we’re at a stage of making this new place we live feel like home, and it’s challenging too. But we’re grateful, because we’re remembering God is in control no matter where we move. He reminds us that He is here and everywhere. I can’t lie and say our family moving has been easy, but I’ve loved embracing God and witnessing Him come through beyond our comprehension. He’s the same God we’ll trust to lead us in finding a new church.
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Ashford Sonii is a writer for FamilyLife. He enjoys ministry, learning, and communicating practical life applications of God’s Word within marriage, family, and how to walk with Jesus. Ashford and his wife, Olivia, currently live in North Carolina with their twin girls, Ivey and Oakley.