This past August, my husband and I celebrated our thirteenth wedding anniversary. During those thirteen years, we have lived in eleven different homes, in nine different cities, in seven different states, and in three different geographic regions of the U.S.
We moved. A lot.
We’re hoping this nomadic lifestyle will soon come to an end, because moving that often is tough … wear-down-the-soul tough.
The packing and unpacking are disorientating at best.
Saying goodbye hurts.
Helping your children say goodbye cuts deeper still as you kiss their red cheeks stained salty from tears.
Loading a moving van and driving it across several states with two small children in tow exhausts mind and body.
Adjusting to a new environment — navigating your way around town, finding new medical professionals, meeting with your kids’ new principal,etc. — is weary-making at its finest.
Each move brought chaos, frustration, disappointment and tears.
With each move, we also uncovered joy, new mercies and hope immeasurable.
Community acted as an agent of hope every. single. time.
Everywhere we lived, the Lord blessed us with friends who became family (and some actually do share our blood). Sometimes making those friendships came easily and other times we had to work hard at bonding with people. But they were present, always. And yeah, it made moving harder … but it made it easier too.
Our communities brought us hope both in ways we could touch and in ways we could only feel:
They helped us pack, clean, load the truck, take care of our kids, haul broken-down furniture to the dump.
My heart sisters sought out opportunities to ease my burdens and lift my spirits via sweet cards, humorous texts and unexpected gifts.
They cried with me, listened to me, encouraged me and prayed with me.
They also lent me strength, spoke truth and hugged me so tight that for seconds, no air stirred inside me.
And while every whispered “I hope I’ll see you again” tugged the chords of my tender heart it also rang sweet in my ears.
Hope for keeping bonds cemented.
Hope for healing hearts.
Hope for bright new beginnings.
It is true that Jesus is the only true source of that hope, but I am convinced that He uses community to help us embrace it.