Last Updated on March 20, 2018

I lived in the same small Midwestern town throughout my entire childhood.  After having our first child, my husband and I decided we wanted to raise our children in the same hometown, close to grandparents.  We had both attended the same church that my parents brought me to as a newborn.  I knew everyone in the grocery store, the library and the post office.  My kids attended the same elementary school that both my husband and I attended, and some of the same teachers were still teaching the next generation of my classmates’ children.  We had roots- in our community, in our church, in our kids’ school.  We belonged.

Then God pulled us out of our comfortable haven and sent us 600 miles south.  A new town, a new state and a new culture.  I knew no one.  I was a transplant with wilting roots.  While these southerners were friendly, I couldn’t understand half of what they were saying in their slow drawl, bless their hearts.  And I talked too fast for them to understand me.  But I’m rather social, so we found a church as quickly as we could and jumped in serving and meeting families.

Six weeks after moving, I saw someone I had met at church in the Kroger parking lot.  It was the first time I had recognized a familiar face in public.  I humiliated my daughter as I ran over to Melody and gushed about how happy I was to see her at Kroger.  It was a big moment for me.  I’m sure as I walked away there was a ‘bless her heart’ tossed up in prayer for me.

This weekend at church was our Ladies’ Candlelight Dinner.  As I walked through the door I was met with a chorus of “Hi, Julia!”   Our table hostess introduced me and was able to share with the other ladies a description of who I was.  All at once, I was overwhelmed with the realization that I belonged.  I was loved.  I was surrounded by family.  More women in that room were friends than strangers.  Three years after moving, I had roots.  Thriving, growing, stretching roots.

I rarely leave the grocery store without greeting a familiar face, now.  The staff at my children’s school recognize me and my children.  Our Christmas cards have almost as many Arkansan addresses as Illinois.  It took awhile, but this is now home.  We miss our family and friends up north but look forward to returning to our home after a visit.  Settling in takes time and effort, trust and faith.  It requires leaving comfort zones and being the first person to reach out.  A move may be difficult, but a transplant can thrive with time!

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  1. Step Parenting with Grace says:

    A great reminder for me. We re-located from a town I dearly loved (In AR!) to a state that seems foreign to me (Louisiana). After six months here, my roots are slowly taking shape and will continue to grow, I know,but it has been a very hard move for me.Thank you for your encouraging words.

  2. Great wisdom in this post Julia! Having moved 7 times since married it so very true that patience and a willingness to reach out is key. This is true of all relationship building, so mom…if you are feeling lonely reach out to someone else – you might be the answer to her prayer!

  3. I also love running into new acquaintances a few months post-move. That makes me feel at home. We moved to the UK last February. That's so funny about trying to understand the drawl: we moved to Scotland after decade-plus in Atlanta, so we have new comprehension problems!

    In addition to the precious church God provided 2 blocks from our new home, I quickly joined a committee at school and just started talking to people anywhere and everywhere! I carried a little notebook with me everywhere so I could quickly record names & numbers (as well as details to help me remember who they were!) as well as tips and "places to go" that people suggested.

    While a good cry helps every once in a while, I focus on what I love about our new home and life here, and I encourage our girls to do the same. So blessed.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing your transplant story! We just learned this week that we may be relocating for my husband's possible new job. Although it is still within state, it is a long way from family and our church. I was chatting with some of my church friends about this topic yesterday, so it's good to hear from someone who has been there and thrived!

  5. I am sure it was great for all of you, but I still miss my oldest grand and my oldest great, as well as my daughter who gave me the grand and great. It just was a lot to adjust all at the same time. I am getting better, but still long for the leaf raking days, cookie making days, etc. Love you MORE!

  6. Thanks for your article! Having moved almost a year ago, I’m still in that in-between stage of not quite at home, not quite a newbie. Adding to the friction is that my husband is a pastor, so many of my relationships have to pass through that filter as well. Which is also why I would LOVE a chance to get away. Money is very tight right now, so winning one would be my only chance to go!