8 Bible Verses for Your Move – Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Winfree Brisley

It doesn’t take a study (though there are plenty) to know moving from one home to another is stressful. From deciding to move to working through negotiations to hauling boxes, moving is a lot of mental, emotional, and physical work.

Last summer, Sarah’s family moved from the Chicago suburbs to Kansas City, Missouri. And in 2022, Winfree’s family moved around the corner, to a house on another street in her neighborhood. Our moves looked different, but we both experienced uncertainty, stress, and exhaustion.

Since moving can be an emotional rollercoaster, it’s hard to process the feelings that come with each stage. With so much to be done, it’s easy to just put our heads down and plow through. But what we need, even more than an X-ray machine to show us exactly what’s in all those boxes, is to lift our eyes and remember our “help comes from the LORD” (Ps. 121:1–2). Here are some verses we kept hanging on to during our moves.

1. Uncertainty and Instability of House Shopping

From the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Col. 1:9–11)

Our moves looked different, but we both experienced uncertainty, stress, and exhaustion.

The beginning of a move involves a lot of worrying and waiting. Will your current house sell? How many times will you have to clean up and clear out at a moment’s notice for showings? Will your offer on the new house be accepted? What if the timelines don’t match up?

Even if you have a clear idea of what you want, there’s little you can do to make it happen. As you’re asking desperately for wisdom and hoping you’re making good financial and geographical decisions, try using Paul’s prayer.

2. Pressure and Stress of Packing

Do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matt. 6:31–34)

Before you start boxing things up, you’ll want to declutter. There’s no point in moving things you won’t need—but will you need them? Maybe if you study the Zillow photos a little more, you can figure out if that oversize chair will fit in the corner of the new family room.

And when should you start packing? You don’t want to pack too soon, because you still have to function in your home. But you don’t want to wait too long, because then you’ll run out of time or space and have to leave things behind. (Sarah is raising her hand—she had to do that!) Be encouraged by Jesus’s promises of provision.

3. Anxiety and Exhaustion of Moving

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Ps. 127:2)

This is when we got stress headaches and didn’t sleep well. Sarah was nervous about getting everything onto the truck and about her husband’s ability to drive it for eight hours. (Follow-up report: he did great and liked it so much that he briefly considered becoming a long-haul trucker.) She worried about her family’s ability to get the truck unpacked without as many helpers since they didn’t know anyone in their new town.

Winfree was anxious about meeting her (perhaps naive) goal of getting everything from the old house around the corner to the new one before the kids got home from school. As dinnertime approached, she gave up hope that the movers would get the job done and started unpacking the truck herself—talk about exhausting! But sleep was still elusive because that running to-do list wouldn’t let her brain turn off. When you’re exhausted and overwhelmed, let this psalm remind you to rest in the Lord.

4. Frustration and Overwhelm of Unpacking

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

The chaos can be paralyzing. Sarah’s lowest day was after they returned the truck and got the major furniture in place. Her mom went home, there were boxes everywhere, and so many things needed to be done that she couldn’t even get started. (Tip: narrowing your focus and picking one area works well to combat this.)

Winfree woke up on the first morning to realize she’d unpacked the coffee maker but had no clue where to find a mug. As despair welled up, she spotted one in a gift basket their realtor left. She’d never been so happy to own a cheap mug covered in a business logo. It became a reminder of the Lord’s provision in all things. When confronted with your inability to find and do things, be encouraged by this assurance that God can equip you.

5. Sadness and Insecurity of Not Belonging (Yet)

The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut. 33:27)

Even though we both moved to beautiful new spaces in friendly neighborhoods, it didn’t seem like any of that belonged to us. Instead, it felt like we were on long vacations we could never come home from. There were grief and tears, not just for the people and places we’d lost but also for the feelings of security and familiarity they’d given us.

All this might be compounded if you don’t want to move in the first place, you don’t love the house you’re moving into, or you have a gap between homes that leaves you in temporary lodging. Lord willing, our homes are places of security and belonging, so when we move that feels disrupted—at least for a while. Let this promise remind you of the security and stability we have in the Lord.

6. (and 7.) Incompetence and Impatience over Newness

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Eccl. 7:8)

Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal. 6:9)

Maybe we’re watching the neighbors to see how often they water their grass and what day they take out their garbage (Sarah). Maybe we’re frustrated every time we see a pile of wet towels on the bathroom floor, wondering if we’ll ever have time to hang the towel racks (Winfree). There’s a learning curve to being in a new home. It takes us a long time to figure out how to do things or set up systems we used to zip right through.

It’s hard to be patient with ourselves when it takes much longer than we’d like to unpack and organize everything we need to function normally—or when we can’t find things we know we’ve unpacked. New beginnings are hard. Let these verses encourage you to patiently persevere.

8. Confidence and Joy After Settling In

The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. (Ps. 16:5–6)

Before long, we could look at our moves and see the Lord had been faithful through every single step. There wasn’t a need he didn’t meet. There wasn’t a sadness he didn’t comfort. Over and over, he gave us more than we would’ve even dared to imagine—whether we were moving into our dream homes or not.

Before long, we could look at our moves and see the Lord had been faithful through every single step.

Even if we realize the house isn’t all we thought it would be or the new city doesn’t measure up to the old one, we can take joy in our good Father’s provision and rest in his sovereign care. We can praise the Lord with the words of this psalm.

My (Winfree’s) family has been in our new home for more than a year, but every time I see a “for sale” sign in front of a house, I still thank the Lord we’re no longer in the whirlwind of moving. It’s a stressful endeavor.

But it’s not without purpose—and I don’t just mean getting a bigger house or moving for a job. As Paul explains in Acts 17:26–27, God has determined the periods and boundaries of our dwelling places with a clear aim—that we’d seek him. Wherever you are in the moving process, let it be an opportunity to seek the Lord. Remember that “he is actually not far from each one of us” (v. 27)—no matter how far we’ve moved.

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