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Freedom to…..

July 13, 2010

I just finished reading ‘After the Boxes are Unpacked’ by Susan Miller. It’s a book promoted by Focus on the Family, full of insight into all a woman goes through when she moves across the country and starts her life all over. A blessing to me, and probably to my husband too, as it should take me through bumps in the road moving tends to bring.

One of the biggest things I gleaned from her book was the freedom moving brings. We’ve moved six times in our thirty years together, usually across the country but those moves didn’t feel very freeing. They felt tiring and overwhelming and full of the challenges of a husband learning a new job, kids trying to find friends and fit in, houses that needed more help than we could afford or my husband had time for, and pressures that came from having to jump into new lives immediately. Sometimes we were barely moved in and I’d find myself sitting in bleachers cheering one of our kids on and somehow by the end of the game I’d become the team carpool and person in charge of the end-of-season picnic or selling raffle tickets before every game.

Reading Susan’s book I see this move for the freedom it offers.

Freedom to move wherever we wanted. The choice was wide open.  We never had a choice before – we just followed the paycheck. It’s so lovely that this time the paycheck follows us!

Freedom to find a new church. We loved our old church, but had gotten stuck in the same areas of serving, spending time with the same people, aggravated about the same things, etc. etc. etc. Being able to choose a new church offers fresh areas to serve in, new styles of worship, new wisdom from a different pastor, new women to meet at Bible study and couples in Sunday School this fall, new ministries offered. The church we’re focusing on ministers mostly to the needy in the community by running a food pantry and clothing bank and we’re going to check out serving there as a couple.

Freedom to fill my calendar differently, or not at all. No obligations. No appointments. Brand new choices of how to spend my time, where to volunteer. Maybe the humane society or the library or the Salvation Army. I’ve spent my time serving at church, and never seemed to have enough time left over to serve in the community. Don does NOT feel called to bathe dogs at the shelter but it appeals to me since we can’t have one of our own right now. He’s drawn to helping with Habitat for Humanity.

Freedom to be completely me. Nobody here knows me. There are no expectations. They don’t know my story and I can choose how much of it to share with those I meet. Maybe I’ll bless new friends with less of my story! I don’t have to the be funny one, or the serious one, or the organized one, or the one who will always say yes when asked to do something I don’t really want to do. I can start over, pray and think over priorities and how I want to spend my time. OUR time since my husband is now retired. How much time do we need alone, now that we are together 24/7.  Time apart can be a beautiful thing too.

Freedom to choose new friends, maybe different types of friends, this time. Friends who challenge me to be a better me. Friends who hold me accountable. Friends who tell me the truth, gently, when I need to hear it, are quick to give hugs, or laugh til we shoot coffee out our noses (a fun memory of a PA friend). This time around I’d like to be the friend I want to have. One who is loyal and honest (but not too honest sometimes) and fun to be with. Who remembers birthdays and takes the time to listen more than talk. I ordered ‘Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others’ by Karen Ehman since we don’t have much hospitality experience under our belts, and hopefully some new friends will come into our lives as couples.

Freedom to grow in new ways – I just ordered beginner piano music on Amazon and can’t wait for it to arrive! For years I’ve wanted to learn to play the piano and there’s no reason now that I can’t. I’ve rejoined Weight Watchers online (no groups meeting out here in the boondocks!), and my iPod stays charged up for early morning walks around the neighborhood before it heats up. I can quit talking about getting fit and do it.

Freedom to take on a new style – whether it’s my hair, or my clothes, or my home, or even what I cook. I can start over, try new things. I may just go with this naturally curly hair God ‘blessed’ me with since the humidity makes any other choice pretty high maintenance.

Freedom to spend time with grown children and grandchildren we haven’t lived near for years. To watch them grow and be a part of their lives on a more constant level. We now have time to take vacations with our daughter and her family, who we left behind. We’ve got a trip to meet them in the Smokey Mountains scheduled for late August. A week of swimming, fishing, making smores at night, and celebrating our son-in-law’s and grandson’s birthdays together is bound to make for precious memories. We’ve agreed this will be an annual thing so we can stay invested in (soon to be 4) Landon’s life as he grows up. (I just ordered a copy of ‘Grandmother: How to Stay Close to Distant Grandchildren’, by Selma Wassermann for some help in this area.)

Maybe, just maybe, some of you could use the freedom to start over too – but you’re not moving. Susan’s book might show you some areas of your life that could use a fresh start, and give you the courage to change them, even if you’re staying put right where you are.

Just a thought.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2010 10:36 am

    I love this post! As a pastor’s family, our moves are not 100% full of freedom, but I imagine I could learn a lot about moving with this book. I’ll have to check it out when that time comes…which hopefully won’t be for a LONG time!

    I continue to be impressed with (and continue to learn a lot from) your willingness to work on the rough edges and refine the smooth edges; your desire to be better at what you do; your adventurous streak that sends you to learn something new, no matter in what stage of life you find yourself. I love that about you and look forward to hearing more about the things you are doing while exploring your new-found FREEDOM!

    Love and blessings, Karen

    • July 13, 2010 10:54 am

      Thank you sweet Karen for the comment which I’m going to tuck away as a cyber-hug! You’d LOVE this book – they had many quotes from pastors’ wives that would likely speak to your heart. xoox

  2. July 13, 2010 12:37 pm

    Bev, I swear, so often when I read something you have written I find myself just wanting to give you a hug! You have the most teachable heart of anyone I have ever met, besides my husband, and it always inspires me.
    I can’t wait to see how you enjoy this new freedom and how it plays out in your daily life. What a fun adventure:-)

    • July 13, 2010 12:45 pm

      Kelly, maybe God just knows how much I still have to learn! Thanks so much for the words of encouragement today. xoxo

  3. July 13, 2010 5:01 pm

    Bev, you have NO idea how much this post has blessed me, and how fast I am going to try to order that book, if it is available here. I am at the decision point. In fact I think I am going to print this now and tuck it into my diary to read again. And again. Thank you!

    • July 13, 2010 5:13 pm

      Linds, isnt it fabulous that we can bless each other, from so many miles apart, through the internet! Our last church used this book as a small group study – how I would love to have that now, but reading it was such a blessing to me. Praying it will be just what your heart needs too. xoxo

  4. July 13, 2010 6:03 pm

    I love every single word of this post. It all rings so true and I’m thrilled for you and Don, that you have such a brand new start to enjoy. I can see where it feels like you have a huge empty chalkboard and a brand new box of chalk. 🙂

    Your August trip with Jer and Les and Landon is going to be so much fun! Hooray for making it an annual event. And I may find myself a copy of the book on how to stay close to distant grandchildren, to prepare for the children I know Mandy and Aaron are going to have.

    xoxo

    • July 14, 2010 11:38 pm

      Mercy, this was in my spam folder! I love that – ‘a huge empty chalkboard and a brand new box of chalk’ – I’ll be remembering that. And yes, the grandparenting from a distance book sounded really good to me. I can’t wait for it to hit my mailbox.

  5. July 13, 2010 7:13 pm

    What a great post. So many freedoms with a completely new beginning. I love that I can live vicariously through you. Imagine … I married a younger man. Retirement is ways away.

    • July 13, 2010 7:31 pm

      Becky, you came to mind so, so many times as I read this book. Knowing some of what you’ve had to deal with, finding a church, making friends, starting completely over as we are – I highly recommend it if you’re still feeling like you’re in the middle of finding your way.

      Blessings, Bev

  6. July 13, 2010 8:47 pm

    Bev,
    I love your comments because I can identify with many of them and am experiencing this “freedom” also since we have moved to a place of our choice that God had given us. What a great book I feel I must read too……. K
    xoxo

    • July 13, 2010 10:55 pm

      Sweet Karen, a great book that would definitely be a blessing to you and Burl since you’re at the new stage also. Highly recommend it!

  7. July 13, 2010 8:48 pm

    You write such inspirational posts Bev. You certainly inspire me. You set goals and work hard to achieve them. I love all of these ideas. We are at a lovely season of life – even if we don’t get to move to a new place and begin again – with so many possibilities before us.

    • July 13, 2010 10:55 pm

      Indeed Linda, even if you’re staying in the same place with your retirement, life likely has many changes in store for you and now is probably a great time to make some changes. Isn’t retirement a blessing?!

  8. July 14, 2010 9:07 am

    Neat post. Thanks for sharing. I’ve moved alot during my life but am now fairly permanently settled. Have a great day.

  9. July 14, 2010 3:44 pm

    I agree! The book is wonderful…and so is the sweet Mama who passed it to me when I moved three years ago! 😉
    So happy for you and Daddy’s newfound freedoms. Enjoy! You deserve it!
    xoxo

    • July 14, 2010 11:11 pm

      So thats where my copy went! I thought I’d bought it and when I couldnt find it, I bought another. Glad to know where it went and that you were blessed by it. xoxo

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