“Oh, the joy of nothing is a sweeter something
And I will hold it in my heart.
Yes, I will hold it in my heart.” –Foy Vance
Exactly one year ago my family moved to a new state. I felt internal pressure to dive into activities, make friends, and navigate new territories because that’s what I did in our three previous moves.
But instead of going outside to become acclimated, I came inside.
I flanked myself with family. We planted seeds in the backyard. We waded in nearby streams. We paid attention to the way the summer rain sounded on our rooftop. My blog went quiet. I filled many notebooks, only my eyes privy to the words I’d share when ready.
I did not jump in. I did not take action. But I was always looking—looking for The Moment when it felt like everything would be okay in this new place. Much to my relief, there were many of those soul-assuring moments when divine connections and experiences brought tears to my grateful eyes. We’ll be okay, I often reminded myself quietly and consistently.
Despite the moments of assurance, I could not ignore the missing pieces—the important parts that made our life a life before the transition. These particular missing pieces created a painful void that could not be denied.
For the first time in four years, my eleven-year-old daughter did not have small children to come to her homemade summer school.
She stopped making lesson plans and talk of becoming a teacher disappeared.
For the first time in four years, my eight-year-old daughter did not have a guitar instructor who taught her both the singing and strumming.
She stopped singing and the joy slowly diminished from the pluck of her guitar strings.
For the first time in years, I was writing a book without my sister friends—those who knew and loved the pre Hands Free version of me and had supported me through the book writing process once before.
I stopped writing the second book despite the looming deadline; I just couldn’t find the words.
The missing pieces seemed to be emphasized when my younger daughter would crawl into bed at night. She’d slide her hands beneath the pillow and bury her face into its softness. After breathing deeply, she’d say, “Put your head on my pillow, Mama. Feel how soft and cozy it is? It feels like home. The real home.”
Pictures of her best friends sat by that pillow. Do you think they’ll forget me? She often asked.
When there are missing pieces in our lives, things don’t feel quite right.
Naturally, my controlling, Type-A personality surfaced during these moments of insecurity, imploring me to fill the missing pieces in our new life. Research! Network! Plot and plan! Take action! Dive in! Get all the details in order! my inner perfectionist ordered.
For the first time in my life, I did not take action. I waited. I trusted. I listened. I held on.
For the first time in my life, I allowed myself to simply BE despite the urge to fix the hurts and fill the spaces. My prayer was that by being quiet, I would know when the right thing came along; I would know when to take action.
It came six months into our transition when I went to a speaking event of one of my favorite authors in a town nearby. It came three months after that when Listen To Your Mother held auditions for their show in my new city. It came again one month ago when I felt called to bring my daughter’s former guitar and voice teacher to perform for our neighborhood as we danced on green grass and picnic-covered blankets.
With each deliberate action, a missing piece was divinely filled. Last week, nearly a year since the move, it appeared that those pieces were no longer absent. I looked through the lens of my camera with tear-filled eyes to see less emptiness and more life …
Precious little children delighting in Natalie’s summer school (now known as Disney Princess Camp) …
Avery joyfully singing and strumming “Amazing Grace” with her extraordinary new guitar and voice teacher (a beautiful writer divinely appointed to encourage our child) …
And me, dancing to live music with new sister friends and celebrating a completed book going to print in mere weeks …
Our family recently returned to our house after visiting dear friends from our old neighborhood. Avery snuggled into her bed and said, “It’s good to be back.” And then with a contented smile she added, “Home.”
One year ago, I never would have imagined these words from her lips.
One year ago, I wondered if I should be doing more to fill the missing pieces.
But in the waiting and the listening, the voids were filled far better than I could have ever planned.
My friends, I have spent a year gathering hope. And I think it was so I could offer it to you today. Whether you face a physical move or one of life’s many transitions, there’s a good chance you have some missing pieces. And although these holes feel empty, worrisome, and stressful, I want to suggest an alternative to what your head is probably telling you to do:
Maybe the best thing you could do right now is just sit with it awhile.
Maybe the bravest thing you could do right now is just decide this will not defeat you.
Maybe the most productive thing you could do right now is just fold your hands in solitude.
Maybe the most sensible thing you could do right now is just laugh … laugh in the face of it all.
Maybe the most powerful thing you could do right now is just close your eyes and envision a positive outcome.
Maybe the most loving thing you could do right now is just give yourself room to breathe.
Maybe the best thing to do right now looks like nothing at all.
But it’s not.
Because when you’re gathering hope,
When you’re gathering strength,
When you’re gathering resilience,
In the face of transition, challenge, and uncertainty,
Sometimes the best thing you can do right now is just hold on and listen.
Because in this Great Act of Inaction, you are better able to hear the most important callings on your heart. And in some round about way, in some time period beyond your control, may those voids will be filled in ways you could have never imagined.
Friends of The Hands Free Revolution, when I took six weeks off from the blog and FB page last summer to adjust to our new life, something quite profound happened to my writing. My long-time editor immediately noticed the difference when I began writing again. We both agreed that a higher level of quality and expression had been reached. My productivity driven mind was given undeniable proof that sometimes production must cease so creative gifts can flourish and grow. Given what is ahead with the HANDS FREE LIFE book release in September, I am going to go offline for several weeks to come inside … flank myself with family … scribble notes that will become inspiring blog posts to share with you. I hope to write for you for a very long time. I think substantial reprieves from the online world will help me do that. Thank you for supporting my work with your comments, post shares, purchases in the Hands Free Shop, and by buying my books. My family and I have the deepest gratitude for each one of you. I will miss you while I am offline, but know I will be back better than ever in mid-July.
My NEW BOOK releases on September 8! Secure your copy by pre-ordering from Amazon or Barnes & Noble today!
Thank you. Just. Thank you. Divinely timed and a much needed word for me.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for letting me know, Ashley. I was hoping it would come to someone precisely when it was needed. Just keep holding on, my friend.
This is the first time I’ve read any of your writing sent by my daughter. I am 65 years old and wonder why our world has become so fast. We all need quiet, listen to it because it is beautiful.
Karen Evans says
Hi, I just love reading your posts & todays really hit home as we moved area in January. We’ve had lots of school upheavals, with my eldest daughter having to commute over an hour a day to her old school but we’ve finally sorted that and they both started at a new school this week. The move has been great for our family but there were tears streaming down both mine and my husbands faces when we dropped them at school the first day – what had we done!!!!!!! We know its for the best (my husband was seriously stressed with work before so the move has involved back to basics living with a lower salaried job, but a much happier life, but moments like that we questioned out decision!
I would love to read your book but i;m in the UK. Can I get it sent overseas or to read electronically?
Thank you for your daily words, I look forward to them every single day.
Rachel Stafford says
Hi Karen – thank you for sharing your story! I can relate to the tears and the worries and the “what have we done?” I celebrate the fact you chose less money but greater quality of life. Although the pieces are not all in their place now, I feel confident they will get there.
Yes, HANDS FREE LIFE can be read electronically. It is also available at Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hands-Free-Life-Stafford-Rachel/dp/0310338158/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433941279&sr=1-2&keywords=Hands+Free+Life
I can relate so well to everything you wrote. We also moved across the country (for the second time in two years) almost exactly a year ago. There were a lot of struggles and difficult days, and there still are sometimes. But some of those struggles have led to positive things. When you’re forced out of your comfort zone and out of a routine, it forces you to examine what you truly value in life, what things you can let go of and what things you truly need to feel like yourself again.
On a side note, your daughter’s princess camp is the sweetest thing ever!
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you for sharing, Alyssa. I so agree with you! I could write several more blog posts on how going out of our comfort zone resulted in many unexpected benefits for each one of us! My girls have both shined in ways they never did in our last community. We definitely found strengths inside us that we didn’t know we had. Thanks for mentioning that other part of the equation.
Thanks for the comment about Princess Camp. I had a hard time narrowing it down to one picture! She had a different theme for each day and the activities she created were so fun and engaging. She was totally in her element and her little sister LOVED being the “student teacher.” It was wonderful.
Oh goodness. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. This came on the 9 month anniversary of my own tidal wave of type-A productivity in a new city, home and church. In hindsight, I’ve been receiving little whispers to “be still” for awhile.
I’m going to listen to those whispers now, circle the wagons, and see you back here mid-July. xo
Rachel, your words inspire so many, but, I hope your inaction and quiet can inspire even more. I feel we can all benefit from the kind of break you are giving yourself – and it is a gift – but so many folks think it impossible. I do it frequently and find it most inspiring.
You speak of the “higher level of quality and expression” you’ve found in your writing after such breaks. I’ve long been more a fan of your writing than an advocate of your message, a message I long ago heard and live today, and I have seen your style maturing and focusing. Beyond that, or perhaps below that, I sense a new depth of understanding, a deeper pool of love from which you dip, a palpable quiet in your words – this is Wisdom. The Wisdom that dwells right along with Peace, Love, Faith and Hope in the deep quiet of our souls.
You are an extraordinary island in this mess of madness and noise we call the 21st Century. I am glad I found your safe and silent shore. Godspeed as always, I look so forward to your new book. Peace to you.
Rachel Stafford says
Whenever I read your thoughts about my writing, I feel as though I just received high marks from my 12th grade English teacher who was truly the most gifted writer I knew at the time. I feel so much validation through your observations. Thank you, Bill, for taking the time to share your profound insights that encourage me more than I could ever express. You have remained a loyal companion on this journey for years. I believe you were divinely appointed to lift my writer’s heart through your masterpiece comments that read like a beautiful song. Grateful.
As a Grandma and Nana now, but forever a parent, your words have always provided inspiration, comfort and strength for me; you have been given a great gift – thank you
Thank you. I’m 19 and I’m taking time off university due to depression and anxiety and this has helped me so much.
I always have this tendency to go “too” headstrong against the current and, now, I’m at home in a suburban neighborhood with “nothing” to do… But truly, it has been refreshing. I have been able to go back to my art and write songs again. I’m even hoping to start a blog called “I am Yellow Lighting” which defines “Yellow lighting” as a verb which means “learning the art of slowing down.”
There are times like these, though, when anxiety takes the better part of me. Somehow, something drew me to your site today. You are such an inspiration. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Thank you for this post. I needed this this morning as my father-in-law passed away late last night. Such beautiful words that speak to my heart today. Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Kerri – I am so sorry for your loss, dear one. Sending you love and peace as you face the difficult days ahead. May goodness and light find you in moments when you least expect them.
Sharon S. says
Rachel, there you go again teaching an old lady new tricks…Your words have helped me through a very tough year…my kids are grown, but some things never change–the worries, the “what have I dones?!?”, the emptiness and fears… I think we are all getting our footing once again and I realize that although life doesn’t always have happy endings, peace and presence are something we can all have right here and now–just waiting, just hoping…Love your blog!
I am reflagging this with all credits and links back here. It is exactly what I needed to read n this day and I think will be a valuable read on my new little blog community. I hope to one day wake up and realise it will be okay again.
Rachel Stafford says
Hugs to you, Lauren. Hold on, my friend. Hold on.
Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement. We, too, just moved to a new home and I had no idea the impact it would have on our toddler son and on us. Thank you. I know this move will be a gift in the end. It’s just part of our journey.
Kris fremo says
I love reading your posts. As a mother of two daughters, you inspire me. We moved three years ago and I still feel like there are missing pieces. No real women friends, not many neighbors (we live in the country). I would never go back because I was made for this place, but it does get lonely sometimes. While reading this post, I couldn’t help but think about the role of the father. It is so absent in your posts. Maybe it is meant to be that way because your blog is about being a mom, or maybe there are other private reasons. My husband is such a central figure in my role as a mother. I draw strength from my relationship with him. I know that not all women have that, but having a father is so important to the healthy development of girls (and boys). In an ideal world, we don’t raise them by ourselves.
Leigh Ann says
Thank you for your encouragement Rachel. You always lift me and inspire me. Our family is going through a transition this summer. My first of three sons will graduate from high school tomorrow. I have been a stay at home mom for 18 years and I have loved every minute of it, well, almost every minute 🙂 My son offers our family so much life and energy and he will be missed when he leaves for college. There will be a huge void in my heart. Thank you for giving me permission to just sit with it for a while. This week is filled with celebrations and ceremonies and wonderful memories are being made. I’m just going to breath it in and enjoy. In the moments when I’m afraid of the day when he leaves, I’ll just sit with it with a grateful heart. My husband and I have raised a human being to the point to which he is ready to go and there’s so much to be thankful for. This is the course of life. We raise our children so that they can fly and fly he will. I’ll be grateful for the change in family dynamics when there’s more room for my second son to be the big brother and rise to that occasion. I’ll be happy to hear how my son is doing at college, excited for his new journey and look forward to his visits at home. I’ll be fine, we all will be fine. New seasons and new adventures are ahead. Thanks for lifting me up Rachel.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you, Leigh Ann, for sharing your life and your heart. I read your words and feel thankful to know you are out there raising your sons with such love and intention. I find great strength and faith in your words, and I feel certain you will all be okay–more than okay. Thank you for your presence in your children’s lives. It makes the world a better place.
James Thomas Horn says
Need your help and advice. Was just told that the oldest of my four grandsons is 13 years old and gay
according to my son. How am I supposed to react to this? From what I gather, it is not my grandson’s problem, but society and everyone else’s problem for treating it like a problem. What do you think and give me some advice? Thanks. Jim Horn firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Stafford says
Hi James – I believe your grandson probably could use a loving word of support from his grandfather right now. I believe he could use the words, “I love you just as you are, exactly as you are.” I believe he needs to know he is not alone. And if these words do not feel comfortable coming from your lips, perhaps you could write them down in a card. No matter how you feel about your grandson’s choices, I think it is important to remember that you love him and want to be a part of his life. I would recommend you reaching out to my colleague, Sandy Blackard, who is a brilliant author parenting coach. She has helped hundreds of readers of my blog with challenging issues (free of charge). Her email is: email@example.com.
Rachel G says
Thank you for writing. Your posts always change my day for the better.
Leslie Swathwood says
What a wonderful message, Rachel!!
Much of it spoke to me, not necessarily literally (as we have not moved), but I feel so much of it applies to changes in business and in life.
I am sharing it with a friend who I believe will truly need it right now….plus it will introduce her to your incredible writing.
Thank you again for sharing your gift with us.
I love your blog, Rachael! I can co-relate to so many stories you say n really like your writing style. Keep it up!!
For some of us, this just is moving season. Sometimes it is the friends who move away and sometimes it is us. I have often thought if I could just dive in, rush around enough I could get to the “home” feeling sooner, but it isn’t true. It works best as you say, by looking for small pleasures, by being together. I love your words, so comforting in this moving season.
I love this post…I needed this post…thank you so much.
The moving truck is in the driveway and two of my three children left this morning for our new home in a new state. We move often and as the kids get older the longer it seems to take to create a feeling of home. I won’t rush this time (or at least try not to rush). Thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Kara. I can still see the moving truck in my mind and the sight is one that is hard to bear. I pray that the feeling of home envelops you sooner than you imagine. Love to you today and in the days ahead.
I have always admired your writing and your important messages. This particular piece was exactly what I needed today. I had tears running down my face as I read your words because I have been feeling like I need to “fix” all of the “holes” that have arisen after our move across country 10 months ago. It still feels raw, as we have had a hard time adjusting. I will keep strong…. thank you!!
Rachel Stafford says
Sending love and strength to you, dear one. Hold on. Just hold on.
I came across your FB posts by accident only a few weeks ago and what I read really hit home.
Over the past few years I have been morphing into a combination of both my parents and all that was wrong with their parenting techniques (the bullying, the lies, the emotional blackmail…the list goes on). What’s even worse is that my loving wife, the mother of my 3 wonderful boys, has become less loving, more angry. It’s as though she has started to feed off of my negativity.
So, having now taken the time to look at myself and what I have become, I’m now putting the effort into being more chilled.
The result was almost immediate with my kids being more relaxed around me. I’ve been straight with them and told them (in a roundabout way) and let them know that I’ve been too demanding and angry and that I am making an effort to be more calm.
I am hoping that my calmness will transfer to my wife, but she is in a new job, longer hours and “nobody seems to help in the home, they just make more mess…”.
I aim to share your “Hands Free Mama” with my better half in the hope that she will see that I am trying to change, but I don’t want to imply that she is in need also – gonna give it a go soon.
Will miss your posts while you are off line, but can spend this time getting inspiration from your previous posts.
Enjoy the break and thank you.
Rachel Stafford says
Thank you so much for taking the time to share the profound changes you have experienced, David. It is so helpful to hear how you shared your newfound commitment with your children (in my first book, I called that “Going Public” and it was so powerful for me too!) I know just reading what you have written here is going to inspire someone else in a highly positive way. Someone is going to read your words and say, “Maybe I can change, too. I think I might try what David did.” I thank you for your honesty and your inspiration. Keep setting the example of focusing on the positive, choosing love over anger, distraction, and impatience, and giving yourself grace when you mess up. Your example will speak louder than any suggestions you could offer your wife. Thank you for being here.
You are such an amazing woman Rachel. Your posts have helped me to see what is important, where do I need to focus my energies, hod onto to my precious little ones (2 girls 7, 4 1/2 and a boy 2 1/2 yrs), be present and face the difficult challenges ahead. In some of my darkest days of dealing with an addiction I would read your posts, and be able to re-center, and really build myself back up, that I have not ruined everything as I had spiraled into thinking, we can choose how we live today, yesterday we may have made mistakes, done things we are not proud of. I ordered your book a month ago and have found even more inspiration. And the icing on the cake, I have got the courage to tell/ask my husband for help and have been in outpatient treatment and seeing a therapist and have been clean for 64 days. Thank you for your kind words, inspiration and just being the amazing you that you are. Your family and little girls are so blessed!!!!
Rachel Stafford says
Oh Kristin! I weep with tears of JOY for the strength you exhibit and the choice you are making. Thank you for choosing LOVE for yourself and for your precious ones. May you continue to flourish and shine, my friend. THANK YOU so much for sharing this blessed news with me. I am honored to be a part of this incredible story.
It was all little seeds planted along the way that I could be beat this demon of addiction and love myself again, be present with those that mean the world to me and bring me such happiness. You are such a positive, yet real about life person I needed to have in my life. Now if only I could be your next door neighbor, life would be even more grand. 🙂
Keep on writing…..I was inspired to start writing for myself this journey I have been on, and have my little notebook with me all the time to write down those happy moments in life that I need on the tough days. And all because of you, I never thought I could write anything but now I do, thank you!
Rachel Stafford says
It has been a blessing to converse with you, Kristin. I love knowing that you carry around a little notebook to document The Moments. This really makes me happy.
Janice Toguchi says
what an enjoyable read! You demonstrate such insight and truth about facing new challenges in family life. Especially touching me as retirement, health issues, & children/grandchildren needs face those of us in our senior years.
Sandy Blackard says
Rachel, I love this: “Because in this Great Act of Inaction, you are better able to hear the most important callings on your heart.” I would definitely call that listening of the highest order! Sending my love as you go offline for more Hands Free inspiration <3
Rachel, I have been reading your blog for quite a while now, the time is not clear, but you came into my life at the time when I think I was most broken and your kind, gentle words began constructing new parts to fix the old. And I share these new parts with my husband and two girls… in them I see new growth as well, it’s been amazing really.
I hope your time away is restful and restorative. What a beautiful gift to give to yourself, and really to all of us, because you show me the way to make the changes. I look forward to Hands Free Life, though I will not devour it the way I did Hands Free Mama, I am much slower about everything these days – even the books I read!
Yes, yes and yes. We just moved 3 days ago and it’s like your words crawled inside of my exact intentions and found their cozy spot. They’re home…..for the first time I am basking in gratitude and giving myself permission in the silence. My littles, all of us, will adjust in our own time. Currently, we are all cuddled up in our big bed listening to the rain. Yes to all of this yumminess!
How beautiful this post was! It reminds me of Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” I pray it every morning to stop my hamster wheel mind. Your post is something I’ll return to as a reminder.
Truly an answer to my prayer this morning. I moved a month ago and feel like I need to jump in. Thank you for sound advice! God sent you my way.
Rachel- Glad you are taking the time to just BE this summer, though I will miss your posts as I did last summer. I am learning in the midst of huge changes myself, that this summer I am being called to just BE as well, I literally just spoke with a good friend a few days ago about this. I am jobless, husbandless, and waiting on radiation treatment to start in seven weeks. I’ve realized God is forcing me to this place of just BEING. Your words in this post are encouraging and confirming, and I will reread them as the summer progresses. I got the sense, after I dropped my kids off at school this morning, that this summer might be the best one ever. I just have to BE. Best wishes to you in this period of BEING!
Rachel Stafford says
Blessings to you, Kim. You have such a strong spirit. It comes through so clearly in your words. Prayers for complete healing and inner peace.
This nearly made me cry. I tell my dog to “sit, stay and wait” and she does so, all while I scurry around like a rabbit. She patiently waits. . She seems to understand more than I ever will. Thank you for the reminder that being still has it’s own reward.
Rachel Stafford says
How beautiful, Robin. I feel the same about my cat, Banjo. He has taught me so much about the beauty and peace of just BEING. I decided about a year ago that I would not rush by or walk by him without acknowledging him with love. Stopping to pet him helps me slow down.
Elizabeth Bram says
Rachel, we moved about the same time you did and I have felt more as though I were dealing and coping instead of ‘sitting with it.’ A number of adversities and illnesses hit us and coping was all I could do. A year down the road and many of those missing pieces are still missing and still painful for me and my daughter. The school piece was wrong, and a child who used to love school now hates it. So once again, she will start another school in the fall. Our rental wasn’t for us, so we moved recently into our brand new home. While coping, I’ve haven’t exercised or made friends or had ‘me’ time. Hoping that the ‘coping’ period is coming to an end and that we are on the right track to filling those holes and thankful for reading your piece and knowing that we are not alone in our experience. I love your writings; keep them coming and keeping touching lives like mine!
Rachel Stafford says
I am so sorry, Elizabeth. This hurts my heart. I do hope there are some glimmers of goodness in the path ahead that let you know everything is going to be okay.
This could not possibly be any more timely. I soooo needed this – NOW. I just moved (at the beginning of last month) to what should be a dream home & what everyone keeps assuring me is Paradise & yet I’m struggling. It doesn’t feel at all like home & my natural inclination is to scurry about trying to make everything precisely right. Trying to fill in the gaps. Thank you so, so much for sharing this.
From one Type-A, planner, and fixer to another, thank you for your insight. It comes at a time when we are moving our family across the country to yet another apartment before we hope to find another “home” as our daughter continues to say she wants to go “back to our white house and her white bed.” I need to take a deep breathe and concentrate on the positives and blessings and stop worrying about making sure everything is perfect. Many thanks for your words. God bless.
Needed this today. Just moved to another state last week (SC coast). Have two kids, 10 and 7. The 10 year old is very homesick – misses her friends and is crying at bedtime. I felt myself rushing to fix it as I couldn’t stand to see her so brokenhearted and that’s what we mothers do – we FIX things. Perhaps what’s really needed is more time, more patience, more sitting, more togetherness, more breathing, more beach-walking. I have told her every night, “Be patient. Be brave. Everything will turn out OK. I promise”. I pray that the Universe will help me deliver on this promise. Thanks for your words of wisdom!
Dearest Rachel ♡
So many times I want to write another gushy “your words mean so much to me” comment but I have a difficult time articulating what I want to convey. My girls are now 28 and 30, (one is also a Rachel!) and I was the epitome of the “before” version of yourself you share in your writings. Where were.you when I was 20 something
I am blessed to be able to care for my almost 4 year old granddaughter full time since she was an infant and your words have helped me to nurture her in a way I was unable to with my children. Your perspective and gift with words has been absolutely invaluable to me and I treasure each post. You help me to chill and enjoy my grandgirl in a way I was never able to when my sweeties were this age..it makes all the difference.. I can’t go back, but I can go forward in a different way!
I really admire and respect your choice to spend the summer just being and experiencing, and if I could share as a grandmother/mom I’d just like to say I’m so proud of you!
Also I have a sneaking suspicion you live where I do, given a few things you have said!
I’d love to meet you one of these days, my granddaughter and I visit every park and kids activity here in the metro area. (hint hint)
If there’s a chance of ever connecting, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a blast this summer!
Ha, I didn’t realize my emoji would not show up….insert a peach next to hint, hint above 🙂
I live in Gwinnett Co. btw…
This was perfect timing for me as well…… flailing seems to be the perfect word for everything going on in my world and tears streamed down my cheeks as I read the final words starting with all the “maybe’s” and I am going to sit with it for awhile! ~Thanks!
Very touching. Thank you for braving it out and sharing the gifts from it.
Lizzie Carver says
Times of transition – yes.
My daughter, my youngest, is about to leave home – not for the first time (she is now 28) but this time at home has seen health worries, job changes and man trouble for her. It feels as though a new page has turned for her at last and I am so glad.
How I shall miss her.
Treasure your treasures – and go with the flow when it’s time.
I am holding on to these words for the fall and maybe even sooner! My husband’s has been searching for a new job that may require us to move (we have never moved!).
in the fall I will be sending my 3rd child to kindergarten with only one child left at home. I am nervous that the silence and stillness (and SAD winter moods) will drive my mind into depression. I am holding on. Learnin to be content.
Your writing moves me and touches my soul. Thank you for your wise words today. Wishing you a peace filled summer.
A very appreciative reader here.
After moving from Sydney, Australia a year ago to a very small city in Indiana for my husband’s work, leaving behind a father with Alzhiemer’s and a mother who is getting older and having to cope with my father’s situation on her own, the past year has been a huge struggle to say the least. Many tears have been shed and I just haven’t been able to find my way. Whilst we most likely won’t be here forever, your post has made me realise I should just breathe a little and appreciate the experience we have been given and not be in a hurry to make everything work perfectly. Thank you
Audra H. says
I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful example and uplifting messages. I have been following your blog for some time, but many posts, though greatly inspiring, left me with a bittersweet feeling inside. Your journey has given me hope for my own, but each day seemed to bring a recognition of my own failures instead of hopeful progress. But, the experiences of the last few days have given me the hope I needed to keep pushing forward with my own hands-free transformation. Twice now, I have watched my daughter’s face change from terror to grateful relief, as I calmly reacted to events that would normally have resulted in yelling. Today, I have given my children the benefit of the doubt, and said yes more times than I probably have in the last week. The result is that I am now watching the joy in my children’s faces as they run around the yard together trying to make “the world’s biggest bubble” having been given free reign over the 64 oz bottle of bubble solution, come what may. More than anything, I am filled with the peace that comes with renewed hope. Hope that not only will I continue to say yes more often, and react more calmly to small blunders, but that some time soon, I will have the capacity to join them out there in the yard, frolicking about with joyful abandon, marveling at the simple beauty soapy water can create.
Caroline McGraw says
Beautiful! Rachel, I love your point that sometimes we need to leave an empty space, and not rush to fill it right away.
I can relate to your story, too. When I first moved to a new place three years ago, I was happy, but also very lonely for a time. I leaned on long-distance friends, but yearned to have ‘sister friends’ nearby.
And so I did need to step out of my shell and go places and meet people, but I also had to acknowledge that I wasn’t going to fill those spaces immediately. I had to be patient and realize that making sister friends takes time.
I also had to remember to let myself be suprised, because often the people I grew closest to weren’t the ones I expected. We can’t always predict what plants will grow, or what friendships will flourish. But now, three years later, I can truly say that I’m blessed to have true friends both near and far. And I can tell that you are too, and I’m celebrating with you! 🙂
This is wonderful and hopeful, and just right for this day. Your link was forwarded by a friend who is getting ready to move. Best wishes, and thanks.
Rachel your wisdom is just so incredible. Your intuitive knowing and your ability to wait and listen and trust really inspires me.
Have a wonderful summer and I’ve preordered your book (months ago) – can’t wait for it! And for your return to blogging!
I’ve spent the day scurrying with the boys. Instead of installing a new screen door, I filled holes. We hauled everything off the deck removed the ugly astrology turf that’s covered the deck for 3 years. I was frantic working to accomplish something with an immediate tangible result at the cost of my boys. Thank you for the reminder to evaluate my motives. I’m looking forward to what comes by not frantically filling our time, and allowing us to just be… even if the process is messy and doesn’t go as I planned.
I’m in tears. This so speaks to me where I am right now. Feeling like there are holes that should be filled, but not knowing how to do that or how soon it should happen. I’ve been afraid it was laziness to sit in this and let it unfold without exerting or expending energy and thought. Thank you & BLESS YOU!
It’s not easy to move. I’m glad that you and your family have made a new home.
It’s so hard to not take action when things aren’t going your way. The patience to sit back, evaluate, and wait are valuable tools. Definitely not my strength. I’m always looking to fill those holes whenever they pop up. Sometimes, the best way to do so is to wait and see.
Thanks for the reminder.
Hil W. says
My little family is in the works of adding another little member, switching jobs and moving back to where I grew up. This post was well timed for me. As I have prepped to move back, I have been astonished by all the people who have popped out of the woodwork with things for me to do to fill my time. My husband and I have done much discussing about why were are going back, the purpose we feel called to fulfill and how to not allow the distractions of an old life fill our time so full that we cannot live the new life we created. So thank you for your wise words. Thank you for reminding me it is ok to just be still and patient. God does have a way of working things out for us if we just give Him the time to do it.
wow!!! I read your posts all the time. I pre-bought 4 of your books, 1 for me and I handed out the rest. I am a believer. But my new(ish) stay-at-home mom gig came to a screeching hault recently. I have been fighting it with massive force because I am mad. That being said, it’s over and I need to move on. This post hit me. I have a choice and I am moving on. Thank you again for taking the time to find life’s holes. Im guessing you could have written 15 times since the move, but the impact would not have been the same. Thank you for waiting and sharing on the flip side.
I needed this encouragement today. I prayed for this encouragement today. Thank you for taking time out of loving your family to love us as well. Thank you for being a conduit for my answered prayers. Beautifully said.
We are moving from Washington state to New Hampshire in a matter of days now so your post is VERY familiar to me. This is our second cross country move in 3 years and now we have one extra family member with us! I’ve been out of my comfort zone for quite some time and I’m grateful to have the experience. It’s THE ultimate learning process!! It’s a busy time for all of us, but the reminder to be still and be present, with myself, with my husband, with my 2 year old and with my 4 year old– such an important thing that has LONG term benefits to say the least. It’s hard work, and not always perfect or even close to it, but so worth it. I’ve learned it’s less about place and more about the love you have within your family; the rest will come. Thank you for sharing your experiences about taking a leap of faith and living to tell about it!
Your writing has helped me navigate motherhood on more than one occasion. Much love to you and you family.
Well, it’s been FIVE long years since our move to a different state and area of the country. I’m still waiting. For something. For anything!
Thank you Rachel for sharing your gift and talent for writing. Thank you for the hope you share with others.
Working FROM rest is always better for the spirit and soul than resting from work. Many blessings to you and your family during your season of rest:)
Wishing you many “sunset moments” during this time. Relax, reflect & simply BE. Enjoy!!!
I sat with uncertainty and change for a year and a half as I found out I was going to be made redundant after my Maternity leave (which is a year in Canada). During this time off with my children I struggled with trying to ‘fix it’ and make it better. In the end I found that I spent so much energy not enjoying those moments but worrying about what would come and how I could make it better. After a lot of expended energy I surrendered and sat with what would be. I managed to find a job with a fantastic company and am happier at work than I have been in years. While the transition back to work and into a new company has been challenging and has required me to sit and be patient and relearn the lesson of just being, it feels as though things can and will be better. Thanks for the reminder that sometimes the best thing is to just be.
Enjoy your time and know that while you will be missed you are filling your cup so you are able to inspire us all. Thank you for your words and insights.
Thanks so much for this wonderful post!!! As my kids get older, I’ve had to learn (and re-learn) that it isn’t necessary to fix everything that seeems to be wrong in their lives. Sometimes the fix doesn’t fix it.
thank you for this very timely post! Our lives have been a flurry with a recent move back in March, my husband’s lay off in Feb and recent return to work a few days ago, and me picking up full time hours to make up the difference while he’s been off. The move was beneficial but unexpected, and it really threw me for a tail spin! I didn’t expect to have so much grief . My husband stayed home with our nearly 2yo son while he was off and while I worked more. I didn’t expect to have so much resentment in missing out on time with our son! We are settling in to our new home and hubby is back to work now, so life seems to be calming down. However, a bunch of family drama has now errupted to keep things chaotic. I can not control what my family members do, but I can definitely control how I respond to the drama! Thank you for the reminder that it is okay to hurry up and wait/relax.
I would love to know a bit more about your daughters homemade summer camp? What a great idea.
Becca F. says
Perfect read for my ever breaking heart. We move in two weeks…just one state over but 11 hours away. My three daughters remember very little else other than our lives here in the home we built and the lives we built….for the last ten years we have lived here in a peaceful little town…my oldest has friends she has been like sisters with for ten years. My husbands relocation is prompting our move and it is absolutely necessary but I feel my heart break again every day when I think about how hard this will be for our girls. Their pain is my pain. It’s so hard to to see the happy days to come when they have made new friends and adjusted to a new school in a city literally 200k people bigger than we are used to. My instinct is to dive head first into local activities and summer camps to get them acquainted but maybe it would do us all some good to slow down and let the dust settle. Thank you again for your enlightening and inspiring words that I so needed to hear!
Really lovely and so true. Many times doing nothing is the way. In fact, I’ve been studying the Tao philosophy, which is known as “The Way.” The basic tenet is doing nothing till you feel the next step. Many times my brain is whirring away when the real answer lies in waiting and being quiet. Hard to master in our driven, frenetic society, but well worth it.
I’m a newly single mom with a 4 year old and 18 month old. I moved back home to Florida to be near family during this difficult transition and have found it to be a lot more lonely than I expected. Thank you for the words of hope. We are 7 months in and waiting patiently our many blanks to be filled.
Kendra Berry says
I have been missing your post. Hoping everything is good and that you will post soon.
That was lovely Rachel. Beautiful post, thanks for sharing, I have just sent it to my wife.
As a mother and a nurse, my natural inclination is to “fix”. My soul is uneasy when I am called to wait, sit, and be patient. The biggest step I have taken in my faith is waiting for His timing to reveal itself. Beautiful post…as always!
I tend to steer clear of articles with titles like this lately. Not because I don’t like them, but because I’m not a “normal” mama any more, and, honestly, these things usually apply to the typical, yet very very difficult, tasks of parenting children. Tasks that I still deal with, but are honestly the least of my concerns most days.
You see, my baby boy died, and I’m not only trying to parent an extremely active 2yo, but grieve the baby boy I’ll never get to raise. Our transition period seems quite different to the typical parenting experiences. In fact, talking with other parents who live with this, it DOESN’T end, and we will always be left with the “should have beens” (because we didn’t just loose a baby, we lost the toddler, the child, the grown man he should have been) (though the pain subsides a bit with time).
But oh, yes, how gathering hope, strength, and resilience still apply! Oh how I LOVED reading those words! How I NEED to hear those words! How well silence and waiting and patience DO teach the heart what it truly needs.
Rachel Stafford says
I am so sorry for your loss, Joy. My heart goes out to you, dear one.
The Mad Mammy says
Hi Rachel, beautiful words – as always. I wish I had the same level of faith as you. This is something I constantly struggle with. One part of me says to trust and let things unfold and then another part of me says to see how I can make things happen, what do I need to DO. After so many moves in recent years to different countries I can identify with your feelings around your recent move. I admire your decision to hold off with taking action and just waiting for the natural order of things to unfold and am delighted for you that things have worked out so well. I’m currently living in Australia and am feeling the holes in my life very strongly – and they simply are not being filled and I don’t think after three years they ever will be. That’s ok, I want to move on from here anyway and I made that decision over a year ago. I’m a restless soul looking for a place to find peace and praying for the faith to sustain me until such a time as I find it……. One day at a time, I suppose, I’d best just take it all one day at a time.
I first read this in our old home and I am re-reading it now in our new one, in a new state. I am looking at hideous wallpaper and feeling like this is not my home but I am glad to take a deep breath and remember to give it time. I am supposed to be here. My kids are supposed to be here. We will find our place. Thank you for this reminder!
This article continues to help.
We moved this past spring and it has been a lot of sitting with grief of children missing friends and trying to figure out “who they are” in this new space, school, community. Trying to help them do this has been a difficult balance of sitting quietly with them, encouraging them and even pushing them and trusting when to know which to do.
I’m impatient to make this home feel like our safe space and fearful that the busyness of life will continue to get in the way of that happening – some days don’t allow for energy for sorting, cleaning, painting, etc.
So I’ll use the energy when I have it and when I don’t, I hope I’m at least just “being” with my children and that’ll have to be good enough. I know that’s all they want.
Thank you for creating space for reflection here.
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