We moved back to Alaska three years ago after being “outside” for ten years. During those ten years, my husband finished college, all three kids were born, and we defined who we were and what we believed. The newlyweds who left Alaska were quite different from the parents who returned with their three kids after ten years away.
Moving back to Alaska meant leaving family. It meant leaving the only home our kids remembered. It meant leaving dear friends whose kids had been growing up with our kids. It was hard, but we knew God was directing our steps. We knew He had everything under control.
Here are some things I learned about making big transitions.
1. You will be lonely. Very lonely at first. BUT you can choose to get out and make new friends. Over time, the loneliness will fade if you seek out others who need a friend as much as you do.
2. Your life will be different. Your new friends will have different personalities. Your church will have different needs. Your kids will be at a different school. You may work at a different job. It won’t be the same, but you CAN be happy in your new roles. You might even be happier!!
3. Your new friends will be equally as lovable as your old friends. They will be different. They will not replace the old friends, but your heart will expand to need the new ones, too.
4. You can’t go back. Even if you physically move back, you can’t rewind time. Some friendships will dissolve over time. Some friendships will even strengthen over the distance…but time moves on. And it will be OK.
5. You don’t need to be afraid. You will find a new normal. You will gain empathy for other “new kids in town”. You will grow in ways you never imagined. You may not have the comfort of staying in the same place forever, but you can enjoy learning about new cultures, exploring new places, and making new friends.
6. Your heart will expand. Instead of loving one place, you may find yourself loving two. Just like a mother’s heart grows to love her second and third children just as much as her first, your heart can grow to love two places and two sets of friends.
If God calls you to a new place, He will provide for you in that place. Remember how God provided for Abraham when He called Him to move far away.