Girlfriends in God - Apr. 10, 2008


April 10, 2008

Three Years, Three Babies, and Three Moving Vans

Gwen Smith



Today’s Truth

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”

(2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NIV).


Friend to Friend

Several years ago, I gave birth to all three of our children in three years and three months (a maternal trifecta!). Just weeks before our third child was born, Brad accepted a job promotion that would uproot us from Akron (where we had happily lived for ten years) and transplant us in Philadelphia.


Saying goodbye to our friends, our neighbors, and our church family was torture. Brad and I had blossomed into young adults in Ohio where we had exchanged our sacred marriage vows, given birth to our babies and grown as a family.


With each farewell, the weight of sadness grew heavier. When moving day arrived and all the boxes had been loaded, we hugged our neighbors one last time; then drove away. As our home faded from sight in the rearview mirror, I realized that one part of my heart would always live in Ohio.


Once we got to our new house, I didn’t know which way was up. I cried buckets of tears out of frustration, exhaustion, and sadness. Tension and stress became my new closest friends. Broken became my middle name.


The only thing I could do was hunker down, spread out my motherly wings, and care for the babes in my nest. I changed diapers, chased toddlers, and cherished naptimes for almost a year. Friendships blossomed between me and other young moms, and the ladies’ Bible study at church became a vital link to both God and other women. As I studied Scripture, the Lord began to birth new songs in my heart, and although I wasn’t serving in music ministry right then, I processed my faith and life by writing songs.


Fourteen months after our move, when the chaos had finally turned to calm, Brad hesitantly announced that it was time to move again. His boss wanted him to take over a territory in Syracuse, New York. I thought perhaps we were the punch line in someone else’s joke. I’m not a huge fan of snow. Brad and I always said we wanted to live in a sunny, warm place. Now we were heading further north. Yuck. We prayed fervently about the move and felt God leading us in that direction, but I wondered if God’s compass was broken.


Starting over in New York had a strangely familiar feel. The first few months were busy and lonely. I spent a lot of time meeting neighbors, figuring out the aisles at the new grocery stores, and finding out the best routes to take to Wal-Mart, to the post office, and to the pediatrician’s office. Finding a new church was a whole ‘nother challenge. But, in time, the matters of being shattered about the move eventually lessened as we assimilated into the community and plugged into a wonderful church family.


The Syracuse summers were lush, but the winters were long. Though snow fell often, to the tune of 150 inches a year, God’s grace fell even more. He blessed me with deep friendships, intense Bible studies, and godly leadership from the pastors at our church. Brad and I immersed ourselves into the community, even though we anticipated that our time in New York would be brief. And we began to settle in.


Then, seventeen short months after we unpacked in Syracuse, a phone call from a friend in Charlotte, North Carolina, resulted in our packing for another move. Brad accepted a new, can’t-pass-it-up business opportunity, and we moved to sunny North Carolina.


What an exhausting journey! With each move I experienced both bitter and sweet moments, but, in all honesty, the aftertaste of the bitter moments seemed to linger a little longer than the sweet ones.


It was a difficult few years.


I’ve heard it said, “If the mountain was smooth, you couldn’t climb it.” There’s a lot of truth to that. Through the mountain of pain I scaled in each move, God brought me closer to Him and taught me important lessons that I surely wouldn’t have learned otherwise; lessons about trusting God with my friendships, with goodbyes, with loneliness, with my family, with anger, stress, and faith. Through it all, I’ve come to know this for sure: in all things—even the hard things—God is sovereign and can be trusted.


He can be trusted with your family and with your finances. He can be trusted with your health and with your wealth. He can be trusted in times of victory and in times of misery. He can be trusted in your sunny celebrations and in your shattered matters.


Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would give me strength to trust You more today. When I am consumed by circumstances and don’t know what to do, please help me be a woman who walks by faith and not by sight.

In Jesus’ Name,



Now It’s Your Turn

You can turn to God in your times of trouble. In what situation do you need to trust Him more?


Read this familiar Bible verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).


Now, read it again, but insert your name in the blank spaces…


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, ____________ and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways _______________ acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”(Proverbs 3:5-6).


More from the Girlfriends

One of the songs that I wrote when I lived in New York is a song called “Let It Rain.” I’d love to share it with you. Turn up the volume on your computer and CLICK HERE to listen.


Gwen’s Let It Rain CD can be purchased directly from her website: Do you sing? Accompaniment Track CDs are also available for the songs Gwen has written!



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Originally published Thursday, 10 April 2008.