A Perfect Shelter in Seasons of Change

I lift up my eyes to the mountains-where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you-the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm-he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. 

– Psalm 121

I often feel like I am caught in the vicious cycle of coming and going. I don’t know what the average time of living in one spot is for traditional nomads but our family has lived in at least 8 different “homes” in less than 4 years. This cycle began when we sold our house and my husband and our 2 year old daughter moved in with a lady while we raised support to move overseas.

After 8 months of living with her, we moved to a city in SE Asia to study language for 10 months before moving to an entirely different island to work for another 10 months. Then God unexpectedly called us to transition to a new country a year and a half ago. This required a return to the States before setting out again. We have bounced around to various homes (and basements) ever since, including moving into my in-laws’ home for several months, (my husband hasn’t lived with them for nearly 15 years!) With all these moves and transitions it can be hard to find shelter from the storms of life. 

I am not going to lie. There is a part of me that just wants to lose my lunch every time someone mentions the word transition! I know it is a long and gut-wrenching process that brings out all kinds of crazy! However, I am learning that it can also be a time of growth.

A few months ago I was walking through Walmart with my two children, trying to steer clear of the toy aisle and tackle my shopping list when I was approached by a DirectTV salesperson in the Electronics Department. He asked if he could interest me in some special promotion if I would sign up for satellite service. I quickly and rather rudely replied, “No, are you kidding me. I don’t have a house or even own a TV!” And with that I sped away in embarrassment. I bet he doesn’t hear that one everyday!

It has been strange to be “homeless” for the last year and half. Now we are aren’t homeless in the sense that we are begging on the side of the road for shelter and our next meal. Though we have been hitting the support raising pretty hard which can often feel like begging! I have hated being asked simple questions like “What is your address?” and  “What state are you in now?” Just last week we got not our first, nor second, but our third new driver’s license since returning to the States! I would love to say I have always handled the transition and lack of a “home” with grace and ease but that hasn’t always been the case.

Something within me has always longed for a home, some rootedness to my life. As a child, I moved a couple of times but never more than a few miles, but since marrying my husband 12 years ago we have become professional wanderers (if there is such a thing). I think many people who have watched our life unfold over the last decade plus, think that we enjoy this constantly moving around. Truth be told, we actually do not. However, we aren’t content to just sit by when God calls us to move and calls us to action.

We are preparing to move overseas next month and there is a part of me that wonders, “Will it be longer this time? Will we find a place to land-even for a few years?” I am hopeful but I also have learned to be content without a house, without a “home” in the traditional sense. Through all the ups and downs of moving overseas, returning to the States, and preparing to move again, God has taught me so much. He has shown me a side of His Faithfulness and His provision that I am incredibly thankful for. He truly has taught me that even in the midst of chaos and confusion and unending transition, that He is my shelter, a refuge from the storm. He has reminded me time and time again that earth is not our home and heaven is. When everything changes, and it changes often, He is our constant, and He is with us and watching over us!

Have you experienced any recent transitions or periods of “homelessness”?

How can you be intentional about finding your shelter in God during these times?

I pray that whatever storms of life or transition you find yourself in today, that you will keep your eyes fixed on God-our perfect shelter! Home is wherever God has called us and He is the shelter we need.

15 Comments

  1. Heather June 28, 2017

    Wow, this could not have been more appropriate for my current moment. My house is being packed as we speak for our 7th Asian city in 12 years. I would love a coffee and chat with you. I think we have a bit in common.

    I have been in Tokyo now for 5 years…..the longest home in which I have lived in my 22 years of married life. I am grieving the roots being pulled from this deeply loved community and yet I want to be exactly where God wants us to be. My mantra right now is….I am rooted and grounded in love, from Ephesians. Breathing that in and out with each moment.

    Praying the same for you Danielle

    1. Danielle June 29, 2017

      We arrived 2 days ago to our new host country so I feel your pain in the moving and especially the grieving. I would love to sit and chat over a cup of coffee! Thank you so much for sharing! It is so encouraging to know that we are not alone in our struggles. God is always with us but also there are so many others that know the struggle of moves and unending transition. I will be praying for you as you pack and grieve and prepare for the next journey God has for you and your family.

  2. Aimee June 28, 2017

    Perfect timing for me. I feel like we’ve been in transition after transition for years now. This weekend we are moving into a home that will be ours (rented), with our stuff, for the first time in over three years. We are excited but also wonder, how long will we be here? This is the third time we’ve furnished a place from scratch. First time was when we got married, second was establishing our home in Asia first term (sold all in US), and that stuff got stuck in that country along with our lives. So here we are, second field, second term, starting over again. Yes I rest in God’s grace and goodness and faithfulness. May I never forget that we are aliens in this world, all is well, and all will be well.

  3. Michelle June 28, 2017

    Yes. I relate to this as I’ve moved 40 times in 40 years (grew up in M). I wrestle with a longing to belong somewhere…lately God has been reminding me of Psalm 23: “I will dwell in the house of the Lord FOREVER”. As I struggle to fully say “yes” to yet another transition, I realize how much this desire to belong has become an idol to me. It comforts me to know I don’t have to wait for heaven, but that he has already provided me with a place where I belong that I never have to leave- a place in His house. As I think about the significance of this truth, I am challenged to spend more time resting in that house rather than looking to “sleepover” somewhere else!

  4. Michele June 28, 2017

    i laughed and groaned at the same time when I read the encounter with the Direct TV guy. I was in Walmart a couple of weeks ago getting a temporary SIM card (because what is the deal with American phone service?) and walked by a guy doing some promotion who asked if I was a homeowner. I said no, but had to say it twice because apparently I look like I must be a homeowner. It’s funny the thoughts such a question puts through my head… Everyone my age in America that I know of is a homeowner. I have never owned a home anywhere and probably never will. Part of me is very happy with that. Part of me still wants a place to call ‘home’. And all of me was aware once again that it’s just strange to live this way.

  5. Rachel Abernathey June 29, 2017

    This was so encouraging….even just to know we arent the only ones. We moved 3 times while support raising (one of them being cross country…..and lived with in laws) now that we are on the field I dont even bother unpacking everything anymore….we have been on the field a year and a half and we have lived in 6 different houses and 3 cities. It is good to be reminded of our constant God.

  6. Kim June 29, 2017

    We are finally settled in our own place… now in our 40s never having owned a home before in the US as a family 🙂 I have to say it feels nice to be tethered to a place with some sort of permanence and with the idea that we can put roots down. Our transition back to the US was rocky, heart-breaking, and stressful. But did it ever force us to cling… not to family or things or places, but to Christ. Praying for you and all who are in the middle of transition. May you feel tethered to Christ in the midst of it all.

  7. Lorretta Stembridge June 29, 2017

    Hi! Wow. I needed this today. My husband and I are mid-lifers about to sell everything and Go We Therefore…. And, it’s terrifying. To untether from the life we’ve always known to step into the world we only fantasized playing a role in is “losing our lunch-worthy”. Kids are grown and it’s time. So I came here seeking some wisdom and I’m glad to find some to tuck away for this preparation time and journey. Bless you!

  8. Angela June 29, 2017

    We’re on day two of our transitioning to life in Guatemala. After over a year of living with others while raising support and laying down all the things that we thought we needed, this stop feels like a jerking halt on a roller coaster. This article was a blessing. thank you

    1. Danielle June 29, 2017

      We too just arrived in our new country 2 days ago! I am right there with you sister! It is such a rollercoaster on one side but then you move and it’s like a whole new one starts! Praying for your family as you adjust to a new culture and way of life. May you draw on His strength in all the moments you feel weak.

  9. Lyn Dawson June 30, 2017

    Transition-again!
    Having been in M for nearly 3o years- all our married life and moved numerous times, we headed back to Australia when our kids reached high school.
    We were able to stay put for 13 years in our own home for a change!
    Then we wanted a change!!! Our kids are now young adults forging their own way, and we felt that we needed a change. The short version is that we have moved interstate, still involved with our organisation, and our kids are still at ‘home’.
    Yes it’s another transition and has involved setting up afresh, but this time it’s an exciting challenge and almost like starting again…without kids!
    God has gone before us and prepared the way, which is another story in itself!
    Thanks for your story Danielle.

    1. Danielle Ready July 5, 2017

      I wish we could all sit together and drink coffee/tea and hear one another’s stories! I am sure we would have a sweet time of laughter and tears. It is a good reminder when our lives seem hectic and crazy with transition and moves that we are not the only ones who have gone through something similar. May God grant each one of you peace during these seasons of change and may you draw on His strength when you feel weak. Praying for you all! Blessings!

  10. Addie July 31, 2017

    I needed to read this today <3
    I'm a few weeks from moving alone, my 16th time in 10 years, but this time my family is also splitting apart and each going their separate ways. I will no longer have any sense of a home base, and it makes me so anxious! But I do know that God has called me and paved the way to where I am going to live now, and that He will be faithful in providing. So glad to know I am not alone in these experiences!

  11. Sonja March 18, 2018

    I just re-read this. When it was posted to VA i was days away from moving out of the home we’d lived in for 4 years, the longest we’ve lived anywhere in our 18 years of marriage.we were preparing for a season of not having a home before we moved here. Now we are 3 months from moving from here where we have been for 6.5 months. I am thankful for this reminder than I’m not alone in this journey.

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