Moving can bring such upheaval in life, no matter how prepared you are for the transition. We’ve been anticipating a move each year for a few years now. And each year, my husband and I have decided to try and make it one more year in our tiny little white house. We’ve happily found that it was quite possible to live in 1,000 SF with 6 children, no basement, and a few itty-bitty closets. It’s been cozy. We haven’t really outgrown our home of just over 5 years because of sleeping room, but because of needing more space for homeschool. Putting five littles in one large bedroom with triple bunks has been doable, but I found that we simply had to make a change for the sake of our learning space.

What a massive life overhaul it has been to collect, organize, pack, transport, and unpack all of our stuff! I hadn’t realized how much we had tucked away in bins and boxes out of sight. But once you plan a move, you are forced to deal with that stuff that hasn’t even been on the radar. I like the purging that I’ve been forced to undertake in my life in preparation for this move. I had determined not to collect too much over the five years we lived there, and I did a pretty good job since we simply haven’t had space for things. But even though our possessions might be fewer than many families our size, we still have a LOT. Last year we prayed about the opportunity to move in with my mom and stepdad as they finish building their retirement home in the mountains. My mom’s house is the home I lived in all through my teens and early adulthood. It is large and light, well-organized and very suitable for our big family. It also has a great room I will use for our school space. It will be special to spend the first few months of our time here with Nana and Papa before they are ready to move into their place. This opportunity to share life with them for awhile is special and I intend to make the most of it. It will be challenging and we’ll have to find a new normal living with parents after we’ve been establishing our marriage and family for almost 10 years. But it will be worth it and we’ll look back on this summer together as a sweet, memorable time.

As I cleaned our empty little white house for the last time, I was totally overcome with emotion. This move has been quite difficult for me emotionally. For the first half of our marriage, Pete and I moved six times. I wasn’t attached to any of the places we stayed, but I have become quite comfortable and settled in the house we’ve lived in for the past five years. Even with all its space problems, I’ve enjoyed having a smaller area to maintain and always knowing where my children are because there is not one quiet corner in the entire place. There is such an important work of threshing the Lord does when we are forced into tight places, not given privacy or “personal space” even when we think we desperately need it, and when we are forced to learn how to make impossible situations work for the family. I have grown so much in the past five years. It’s hard to leave a place that has been a refiner in my life. Fortunately, as my friend said, we take our memories with us. I don’t know if our family will ever be in such a small home again. Over and over when frustration at such chaos would build, Pete and I would remind each other of the fact that people all over the world would give anything to live in 1,000 SF with a non-leaky roof and running water, not to mention a large, beautiful backyard. We have been truly cared for in this place and have grown greatly in gratitude for God’s provision. I gave birth to half our children in this little place, and those memories can never be taken away no matter where we move. Already, I’m experiencing a strange sort of quiet as we have so much space now that I can go for 30 minutes at a time without seeing or hearing one of the kids even when they aren’t playing outside. It’s a little creepy. We’ve unpacked, but I wouldn’t say I’ve exactly “settled” here yet. That will take some time. I don’t know what Abba has in store for us in this new season, but we’ve both sensed an expansion in our hearts and more preparation for the season ahead as our children get older and begin to need more space for learning and living.

Part of my heart is still grieving for the loss of having friends directly across the street from us. Our dear best friends have been sad to see us go and our parting was quite painful. I think I took for granted how comforting it was to always see them right across the street. There is something so precious about having “community” on a small scale like this with like-minded believers, and it used to be what neighborhoods in America were like. People didn’t move as much as they do now but would spend decades surrounded by the same people. We’ve shared so much even when we haven’t spoken to each other for days. There came such ease with swapping recipes, food, books, and children across the street with one another. Just the other day I had something to give my friend and I texted her that I would drop it off, only to then remember that I now live half and hour away from her. I don’t know if we’ll ever live that close to dear friends again, but I can hope that the Lord continues to help us foster close relationships. We really need each other and I do not want to live in the easy default of isolation as I homeschool my kids.

With all these changes, I’m trying to find my peace again. I look forward to getting my regular quiet times again as I unpack all my books and worship music. I’m grateful for this new blessing of more space. And wouldn’t you know it but all this has happened during the preparation for the Passover season. Methinks there is a theme here. Perhaps the Lord has found us faithful with little and has decided to see what we can do with much.