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Home > Support > Family Life > How do you handle a major move to another state, away from a large and loving family?
 
 
Question: My children attend a Catholic school. I am very happy to be a stay at home mom of seven beautiful children. My question is how do you deal successfully with a major move to another state and away from a very large and loving family? We moved a little over a year ago and although my children are well adjusted they all miss their grandparents and cousins a great deal. We are not far from [large city] and I have to say we simply do not find the warmth and friendly people we did back home and in a previous move to the mid-west. None of us (that includes me) have made good friends. I know this may indeed be God's plan, because we have grown even closer as a family but sometimes I think it is lonely. Any advice would be appreciated.
Answer:

Dear Mom,

Thank you for becoming a part of this forum. It is the input from moms just like yourself that uplifts and encourages all the moms who come to this site. I believe very strongly that the Holy Spirit is the One Who moves people to ask questions. I feel that those questions, though they may be answered for the mom who asked, are indeed bringing comfort to many more moms in similar situations. I praise the Lord and thank Him for the docility of your spirit in allowing us to share in your life in this very small way. We are, after all, moms wanting the very best for our children not for our own gratification but for the edification of the sweet and tender Jesus Who has blessed us with the gift of family.

Moving, even in the best of situations, can be trying and emotional. When we were in the Navy we moved quite a bit. However the children were all quite small when that was going on. The children were more centered on their toys, their play space, and certainly me as playmate. :) Moving meant that the toys would go to another house but basically everything would remain the same. Though the moving was physically tiring it didn't seem to be as emotionally upsetting.

After my husband was discharged from the Navy and we moved to the present town, my family was only two hours away. That is as close as we had ever been. It was comforting to be able to get in the car and realize that in two hours we would be at Grandma's house with all the cousins, aunts, and uncles. This has been a wonderful source of joy for my children. As they have gotten older, they are able to spend weekends, etc. with their cousins and grandparents and vice versa. It would be very difficult to leave this situation. I am certain that the children would be the first to object.

My children do have lots of friends here, however it took a bit longer to become a part of a town this small. People are more reticent to open up to "strangers." However once they get to know you they treat you like family and take you in as though they had known you forever.

Let me share with you something that happened with one of my daughters when she went off to college. She has always been slow to make friends. She is very personable but she stands back and watches before she jumps right into relationships. She gets this from my husband. When she had been at college about 6 weeks we happened to be speaking with one another on the phone and I asked her if she had made many friends. "No," she replied, "this is the time for me to watch and see who would be a good friend for me." Well as you might imagine, within a few short weeks she made friends that have remained as dear to her as family. They visit with one another, they talk and email constantly, though she transferred from that college to the one she attends now.

Now, what does that mean? Well I think that the Lord gives us the opportunity to stand back and watch people, in order that we might discover persons that are more like ourselves in ways that are important to us. In the same respect it gives others the opportunity to see us and discover slowly "who we are."

Making new friends is not at all difficult for me. I am a very open person (sometimes to a fault). I admire my husband's quiet reserve when approaching new friendships. He takes his time and gets to know people from conversations and observance then he gradually involves himself in the activities that are part of the new experience. Along the way, people are getting to know him from afar (so to speak). My husband has friends here in this town that are very dear to him and he is as loyal to them as if they were family.

Friends and acquaintances can never replace family, can they? My children's cousins are like sisters and brothers to my children. I am comfortable leaving the children with my sisters as if they were in their own home. When I have to go out of town for a conference, etc. many times my sisters will come and watch the children for me, especially if older college-aged siblings are unable to. Certainly it would be better if we lived in the same town, but for now the Lord has not given us that opportunity.

Family is a gift. It is a wonderful blessing that you understand the wealth and joy of this gift from the Lord. There are so many families that are pulled apart for whatever reason. It is a cause of great heartache.

Let us contemplate for just one moment the Scripture Mark 3:32. In this Scripture Jesus is told that His brothers and sisters have come to see Him. Certainly we understand that the term "brother and sister" is meant to explain "the persons who believe as you do," not necessarily blood relatives. Isn't that comforting to think that people were associated with Jesus, like family, because their witness proved they were following in His teachings. I have found that the dearest friends I have (the ones that I feel as close as family to) are those persons who believe as I do concerning the faith. We have a connection that goes beyond friendship. We are able to comfort one another, uplift one another, understand one another, and admonish one another in the same spirit of love that family is able to do.

These relationships are a gift from the Lord and one that He wants to give. Go to the Lord and tell Him of your loneliness and challenge. Ask Him to help you find opportunities to meet persons with whom you can first, share your faith and secondly, your friendship. Having children in school many times makes this easier because you will have opportunities to meet at school functions. I understand that having preschool children does confine you to some degree but the Lord will help you through that challenge. Volunteer at church in whatever capacity you are able. One of my dearest friends (who lives 5 hours away now), became my friend because she decided to volunteer to organize the Seder Meal for our parish. She had done it in the parish from which she had recently moved. I was a volunteer for the meal. We met and became friends long before our children knew each other.

When I am lonely I pray a simple prayer, "Lord, send me a friend that will be like me." He has always honored that simple prayer. Jesus does not want us to be lonely. He knows that as human beings we need the connection of other persons, friends, to talk with and work with in this life. But more importantly when we come together as friends with Jesus as the center of our friendships, then He is able to empower us to work within the Body of Christ uplifting one another and following in His teachings. This is His desire. I feel as if I am friends with every mom who writes. I rejoice in the gift of this spiritual friendship. It gives me such strength knowing that we are praying for one another. I told someone once that I wanted to know the most people in Heaven. :)  Isn't that silly? But what it meant to me, is that every human being is my brother or sister. I want to be their friend in whatever capacity that the Lord allows. Sometimes that is only through my prayers and other times it is deeper. 

I will keep praying for your friendships and for your comfort in this move. It is difficult and I know that as a woman of prayer, you are giving it over to the Lord, but it is still a challenge. I admire your desire to build friendships, that is holy and pure. Keep praying and keep working at this challenge.

Jesus, we come to You this morning knowing that You are our friend. You have called us friends. How dear this relationship is to us Your little ones. We love You, Lord, and long for the time when we can all be reunited with You in Heaven. Help us to build friendships that will enrich our lives and bring You to the center of our lives. Please send friends for this dear mom's children so that they will make the transition to the new situation with greater ease. Continue to uplift the work of this dear mom as she works to adjust to this situation. She is our dear friend, Lord, and our sister in Christ. Amen.

Dear One, you now have a vast network of friends praying for your needs and concerns. Smile and know that though you can not have a cup of tea with them, they are very much a part of your life and will be uplifting you each time they pray.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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