Saturday, October 14, 2006


Our deck is finally completed, the shower curtain rod has been replaced, our basement is organized, the banister repaired, and even the half bath remodeling job is well underway. I've never seen my husband so animated to fix things up around here and I've never felt more at home in this crazy, lovable, project-producing house. Yes, we have very nearly completed all the important projects and, in many ways, have finally made this place our own.

What is the secret to our sudden success? It should be obvious: We have put the house on the market.

We are moving. Again. In the (almost) ten years we have been married, we have moved seven times. Seven. In addition, should our house sell before the winter, the circumstances will require that we move into yet another temporary housing situation before we move again and finally settle into a more (dare I say it?) permanent, larger home.

The three years we have lived in this house have been the longest time period we have lived in any one place, and we aren't military! I won't drag you through all the reasons we moved when we did, let's just say that they were many. This time it is because we have outgrown the house. It was a perfect fit when we bought it, but we have brought home two baby boys in the last three years and the three older boys have grown, as children are known to do.

Moving is a very stressful and emotional experience. There are some benefits, however, and since I find myself in this position once again, I should focus on these. Moving frequently certainly encourages one to keep fewer possessions and live a simpler life. But more important than this, the constant uprooting and relocation of our family has helped me to focus my spiritual priorities.

Three of the happiest months of my life were spent living in a third floor apartment downtown. We lived there, while looking for a house, with Simeon, Alexander, Jacob, and I was expecting Zachary. It was winter, the people below us were constantly complaining that the boys were moving around too much (though the boys were really being very good about trying to keep things quiet), I did not have a car, and being pregnant, I had an especially hard time with the all the smells commonly found in apartment buildings. How could this unpleasant situation be among my happiest memories? Simply because, for the three months prior, the children and I had been separated from Jeremy on account of our move to Connecticut from out of state. It was such a joy to have our family, whole and entire, back together again under one roof that we did not care what kind of roof it was.

I think, too, of the man in today's gospel who asked Jesus how he could inherit eternal life. He was a good man, having kept the commandments since his youth, but when Jesus tells him that something more is required; that he must give away all that he has and follow the cross, he is grieved. He is unwilling to give up his wealth and the joys of this life in order to inherit the kingdom of God.

I think I would be just like that man. If, in this life, I had the wealth and joy and goodness he had, if I had the perfect home and the perfect homeschool, if my life was always beauty and leisure and innocent pleasure shared with those I love, I wouldn't want to give it up and take up a cross of suffering in pursuit of something eye has not seen nor ear ever heard. "No thank you," I would say, "Go on ahead without me."

God knows how much I like the good things of this life. He knows how hard it would be for me to give those things up for the sake of something greater. So, I sometimes think it is a special grace that God has, thus far, spared me that choice. I do not have wealth to cling to or great virtue and leisure to rest in. I am constantly in need of God's providence and mercy, and in this way, I am ever carrying a cross I did not choose to take up and following, with my petitions, after Him who is my only hope and my final home.


Jen said...

What a beautiful post, one I can relate to on a personal level. We, too, have been married seven years and moved six times. Just recently in August into this new house. I also got pregnant right before we put the house on the market, and dealt with morning sickness, packing, and three kids five and under. I like your perspective on these stressful situations in life. I will try to focus on them when I am given these opportunites for grace as just that...opportunites to grow.
God Bless you in your move and selling the house!

Jen (

C.M.W. said...

You saound like you are on track to rival my in-laws who moved so much during my husband's childhood that he likes to tell people, "I got off the bus at stop #26!". Good luck with your move and finding a new house!

Anonymous said...

MOving again>? WOW!
are you staying local or really moving to another state or the west?
wow, it must be tough but a good way to declutter, huh? :)

jerseygirlmama said...

When I was five months pregnant this past spring, my husband made a few real estate inquiries and one young agent was very agressive and stopped by our house one day with prospective buyers and we hadn't put the house on the market!
I was upset and cranky and still suffering morning sickness (which I suffered until week 30) and really let my husband have it.
But since my daughter was born, I've mellowed a big and accepted that home is wherever we are together as a family and all these "things" I've grown attached to are just "things."
God Bless your family as you move and God Bless Danielle for introducing all her readers to you!

Kristen (

Kristen said...

Beautifully said, Suzanne.

Suzanne Temple said...

Anon, We aren't moving far at all. We are staying in state and in the general area we are in now. We love being so close to family and we love our homeschooling group, and all the friends we have made. It really is about the space. Especially in winter!!

Denise said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Denise said...

I can relate...although you've got me beat...we've only 5 moved times in almost 10 years of marriage :-)

I have always found that moving brings more reliance on God. There is so much you have to leave up to Him, you can't possibly oversee every detail and so we must learn to trust.

Good luck with the move. At least you're staying local. All but one of our moves has been 3000 + miles.

And sorry about the deleted comment, I was just trying to fix a typo--