Big moves can be hard; exciting…but wrought with change and unexpected emotion. One of the biggest gifts you can give your family during a move is to recognize that we as adults possess a HUGE amount of influence on the people we love. This is both humbling and motivating. In today’s post, I’m going to show you 5 very simple things you can do to help your family stay connected and hopeful after a big move.

1. Have Sweet Sights, Smells and Tastes in your home.

When someone once asked me just what it was that my parents did that made me believe in God, without even thinking I said, “I think it was French toast on Saturday mornings and coffee and Celtic music and discussions and candlelight in the evenings…” Because in those moments I tasted and saw the goodness of God in a way I couldn’t ignore.

Sarah Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

Give them Sweet Sights…

We all instinctively know that the relational “temperature” of our home is set by us, the adults. Our disposition sets the tone for the expectation of how our children are to behave and it has the power to build up or tear down our spouse. If the most common sight your family has of you is snot nosed crying, constantly talking about all you miss and how everything in the world has gone wrong, you aren’t going to be doing your loved ones any favors. Not that there is never a time to cry in your closet with a bag of Reese’s (been there) but that is not a positive way long term to model for your children how to handle transition. Having a light, cheery disposition will not render you ineffective when your spouse or child suddenly feels sad about what you’ve left behind. On the contrary, it will fill you with the courage you need to wrap your arm around that special person and remind them of God’s promises. Let your family see you trusting the Lord.

Hang things in your new home quickly. Hang up whatever photos of happy memories you can get your hands on. And don’t forget to adorn your new place with truth.

Give Them Sweet Smells…

Bake chocolate chip cookies. Fill up the house with the wonderful smell of bacon in the morning. Have comforting warm drinks on hand if you’re living in a colder climate. And, if you don’t own any Scentsy products you should fix that right now. My sweet friend Sarah can hook you up with literally any smell that evokes comfort for you. Find her at Plus, they’re just pretty to look at so it’s a win-win.

Give Them Sweet Tastes…

Trader Joe’s might be a little further away than it was in your old state, so stock up on all your family’s favorite snacks when you venture into town. Remember, food is still important when you’re in the midst of a big move! Any efforts you make to give your family food they enjoy will not be wasted. (And with the phenomenon of grocery pick up and delivery service after covid, we really have no excuse!)

2. Play Music.

Doesn’t have to be loud. Doesn’t have to be a certain genre. But, I tell you what, if you want to lighten the mood or get truth into yours and your kids’ brains, play good music!! Music can elicit all sorts of emotion so choose music that comforts you and your family. After dropping my kids off at their new schools, I almost broke down into a full on ugly cry listening to Keith and Kristyn Getty’s “Consider the Stars.” (It was probably the best therapy I’ve had out here. Highly recommend. In fact, if you can listen to that song and feel no emotion at all, I’m not sure you are human.)

3. Stay Encouraged.

You cannot give what you lack. That is not to say I believe in some weird Oprahfied version of self-care – like I can’t unload the dishwasher without spending a day at the spa or some bizarre mentality like that – but it IS to say that if we are meditating on despairing thoughts and regularly feeding on Netflix garbage, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have no truth or encouragement to offer the people around us. If our internal audio is constantly negative, negativity will show up on our faces and in our speech. There’s just no way around it. If you are regularly feeling hopeless you need to change things up. Your children and your spouse, not to mention YOU, will be much better off if you make time to do things that fill you up spiritually and emotionally. Make yourself do the thing you know needs to be done. Take the walk even if it’s cold. Call the friend back even if you don’t feel like talking. I promise, you’ll be in a better place to care for the needs of others if you care for your spiritual and psychological needs too. Truth and encouragement will more readily spring from your tongue if it is regularly being pumped into your heart and mind. And that has benefits both for you and everyone around you…

Loving words have the power to provide hope, encouragement, confidence, and energy for the tasks of every day.

Sally Clarkson, The Life Giving Home

A good place to start is to grab a copy of Sally and Sarah Clarkson’s book, The Life Giving Home. You can purchase it here:

4. Join a Solid Local Church.

Find a church with expository preaching (preaching that explains what the Bible means by the Bible itself). Do not get caught up in smoke machines and emotionalism. Your family needs real nourishment from the Word of God so don’t withhold it from them. And remember what Charles Spurgeon said, “If you wait for a perfect church, you must wait until you get to heaven; and even if you could find a perfect assembly on earth, I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship, for you are not perfect yourself.” Just find the church that sticks closest to the Scriptures. I promise you, you can’t go wrong.

5. Invite another family over.

This might seem very counter intuitive but trust me, it works! If you are struggling with feeling sorry for yourself, lonely, missing family and friends, invite other people over!! Get out of your own head and determine to get to know the people around you. It’s amazing how everyone in the house cleaning up and cooking for neighbors coming to dinner can snap all of us out of selfishness and despair.

In conclusion, trust the good instincts you have. Only you know what your family really needs during this time of transition. If you keep thinking about writing a note to that child or giving your big teenager a kiss on his cheek before he leaves for school or snuggling up with hot chocolate when your daughter catches her first glimpse of falling snow, DO IT. In the words of country singer Billy Dean:

Gonna hold who needs holdin’

Mend what needs mendin’,

Walk what needs walkin’,

Though it means an extra mile.

Pray what needs prayin’

Say what needs sayin’

‘Cause we’re only here for a little while.

May the Lord equip us all to love and comfort our families through the many transitions of life!

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