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We stood on our front porch and watched the moving truck pull away from our new home. The six hours of hustling and bustling all afternoon were over and the house was quiet. Quiet, but full. Stacks of brown boxes stared us down and dared us to not get overwhelmed.

The stacks of boxes weren’t the only challenge. The kids needed to do research for classes that started the next morning, and we had no internet availability for over a week because of cable connection complications. They needed to print essays, but the wireless printer had not been re-linked to the computers since the move (and what box did we pack the copy paper in?)  Even now, a month later, I’m holding my breath because the printer is low on ink. I have yet to find the two extra printer cartridges I purchased for such a time as this before moving (maybe they are in the same box as our missing bed skirt).

We feel like we have been putting out fires since we arrived. Our Honda Odyssey that has always worked perfectly has been in the shop for repairs three times. We’ve had to replace tires on the Honda truck and three bicycles. One of our home air conditioning units is not cooling well (the one servicing the kids’ rooms), so they sleep with ice packs and we have had fans lined up pushing the cool air from one side of the house to the other. Two pool waterfalls won’t work and the outdoor drip system won’t drip, but our freezer icemaker water line does drip…into a pool on the kitchen floor.

We can’t unpack boxes for the laundry room yet because the painter who started painting the cabinets is not finished five weeks later. We had no hot water in our master bathroom shower for two weeks, Karis had an accident requiring stitches, and the kids can’t call our cell phones from our home phone because of long distance charges. In addition to all of this, we’ve spent thousands of unexpected dollars and time on Texas home repairs related to plumbing, electrical, and foundation and our home sale was delayed on closing day three times. Reacting to problems has kept us from doing proactive things like going to get new driver’s licenses and new tags for the car.

I believe the normal pains of a transplant transition have been multiplied since we are on mission for God. We know there is an enemy who does not want us easily settling in to Phoenix with a calling to help the Valley of the Sun become the Valley of the Son. It gives us confidence knowing “Greater is He that is in [us] than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). But it’s still not fun to deal with all the junk.

There is no doubt transition takes its toll on a family. And almost every family is going through some transition at any given time. The transition might be as big as a move or as small as school starting. It could be an expected new phase in your child’s development or an unexpected medical crisis. No matter the size or amount of forewarning, each transition brings new challenges. Following is a list of seven ways to make transition a little more bearable:

1. Keep consistency in your time with God. Taking time in prayer to draw strength from the Lord through His Word is vitally important. “The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

2. Offer extra opportunities for communication. Family dinner is always important, but in times of transition it is more important than ever. Gathering at the table together to eat offers the perfect place to talk through frustrations, hopes, expectations, and more. Listening is key. The very act of sympathizing with pains and frustrations helps.

3. Live with one another with understanding. Every member of the family is different and every member responds differently to stress, and works through it at different rates. Pray God will give you patience and insights to the special needs of each member of the family during times of change.

4. Each day take a few steps toward order. Chipping away at a big job a little at a time keeps one from being overwhelmed to the point of paralysis.

5. The number of issues you have to deal with is multiplied by the number of family members. There is just no way around this. Be patient and do the best you can do with each day. When I feel overwhelmed by piles of laundry and dirty dishes, I try to remember the reason I have those piles is because I am so blessed.

6. Laugh. The Mayo Clinic says it’s no joke. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, increases endorphins released by your brain, stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation. Laughter is a powerful stress-relief medicine (Source: mayoclinic.com). Find something to laugh about.

7. Accept help. As we braced ourselves for the imminent move, Chris said, “If anyone asks if they can help, say ‘yes!’” And we did. Friends who provided meals for us on the front and back sides of the move and friends and family who packed and unpacked boxes for us not only made a difference in the progress of our home, but also our hearts, too. We don’t know how we would have pulled all this off without them.

Highlights in the Midst of Our Transition

No. 1 family highlight: Having a swimming pool for the first time. It definitely helps in dealing with the Phoenix heat.

1. Karis, age 11 – already has a number of new close friends; got to go to Wind River Ranch with mom for moms’ week; made the 6-8 grade girls soccer team.

2. Micah, age 13 – loves his soccer coach and science teacher; found a yogurt place nearby that sells by the cup instead of by the ounce (applying his physics know-how, he definitely makes the most of his opportunity!)

3. Caleb, age 15 – baseball; working out = getting stronger;  no grass in yard = doesn’t have to mow

4. Derek, age 18 – assisting his choir director in leading class; made the Millennium High School Scholastic Bowl team; landed a part in the school play; sang the National Anthem for the first high school football game.

5. Dillon, age 19 – being out of the country during the worst of our transition (this is my assumption!); enjoying Montreal, Canada and Venice, Italy with friends; spending a few days with the family in the new Arizona home before heading back to school at Baylor.

6. Brenna – my high school senior’s positive attitude about the move; large pantry and laundry room; trash pick up two times a week; catching up with friends; watching God provide needed items for pennies on the dollar through online sales. Read more about this in Brenna's latest Blog Post.

7. Chris – the call to lead a church; watching God gather amazing people to serve on the church launch team.

A Blessing for You

This is my prayer for you as you and your family transition into fall.(adapted from The Prayer of Saint Patrick)