When Moving Makes You Stuck

I just found out that someone I respect and admire is making a big life decision.   Only this is something that comes a few months after he had lost an immediate family member.

Maybe his leaving is something that he has been planning for some time, or because of a shift in family obligations due to his recent loss. If not, I worry for him.

 When I was grieving my own losses, I was told to not make any big changes in my life while grief and loss were hitting me hard. 

I didn’t listen the first time.  And I paid the price for it.


A few months after Anna passed away, my husband started sending out resumes to new churches looking for a pastor.  Perhaps it was just a restlessness that had been there for a while.  But I believe that grieving the loss of Anna pushed us both over the edge, for we lived just a few blocks away from where Anna was buried.

In December, Brent got the call that he was accepted to a new pastorate in Macomb, IL.  He was expected to be there shortly after the first of the year.  Oblivious to Anna’s 1st birthday memorial and Arianna’s 1st birthday, he optimistically moved to Macomb–living with a church family until he found a home for us to move into.  I stayed behind and packed the best I could ­­–as two toddlers found their way in and out of boxes–crawling in them, taking items out of them, and trying to play with breakable items before I caught them.

We moved the day before Anna’s 1st birthday memorial.

 On Anna’s birthday, I was in a new home, a new town, and a new church. 

And no way to place flowers on my baby’s grave.

I gritted my teeth and tried to smile as I stood beside my husband–determined to show our new congregation that I was happy to be there with them.

Then I went “home” and fell apart.

During that first year, Brent was blithe because he had a way to bury himself in the newness of his latest ministry position.  I however, did not have anything “new” to bury myself into. It was just Anthony, Arianna and me.  I was still a stay at home mom – a job I simply carried forward with me –with a little girl in tow who triggered me every time she learned something new. 

I never felt more lonely or grieved.  I had no friends to comfort me and no support system to let me fall apart - until it was too late.

Now  I understand why people say to not make big changes after a loss.  Leaving a job position or moving away to ease grief is an illusion.  I thought it would lift me out of the black sludge of loss that clung to me as it tried to tug me into the quicksand of deep depression.  I thought if I moved away, I could slog off the mud and move forward in beat with the rest of the world, adjusting to the newness around me.

It didn’t work.  No matter how many miles I distanced myself from Anna’s grave, grief eventually oozed its way back to me like wet cement–slathering up my soul and hardening around my heart.  Like her headstone buried deep in Missouri soul,  my heart was cemented in. 

The thick walls that meant to protect me from anguish trapped me inside with it instead. And because this barricade was impenetrable, there was no way to escape the suffocating despair.

I may have moved away...

                                          ...but my heart got stuck anyway.


I desperately want to go to my friend and ask him if this is a necessary change or one he wants to do. All I can see is the pain of my own story laid on him - and that may not be his story at all.

All I can do is pray for him and his family, and hope that those closest to him will whisper to him the same words that were whispered to me:  "Be still, Holly.  Wait on the Lord."

I am learning this:

Better to be STILL than to be STUCK.


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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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