Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community wherever You're Transplanted
by Carol G. Stratton
||Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
||March, 31 1082012
My forty-day devotional is for anyone facing a move. For the uprooted, disfranchized, unemployed and lonely, I have encouragement for you!
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Changing Zip Codes
“After twenty-two moves, Carol Stratton is a relocation expert with a heart for the newcomer. Carol’s warm and witty stories, based on personal experiences, offer hope and encouragement to anyone faced with a move.” — Florence Littauer, International Author and Speaker, Founder of
Section I: Preparing for the Move
Chains that don’t chafe…
Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
Philippians 1:12-14 NIV
Chains are chains for one reason—they keep one object tied to another. We understand their usefulness with inanimate objects whether it means securing bicycles to a hitching post or keeping a gate locked at night. But when we feel bound to our circumstances, imaginary chains become a point of frustration. Perhaps one spouse is tied to selling a house while the other has to move ahead to start a new job or a married couple has been called to the mission field and they need to sell their house to help fund their ministry. Maybe we feel imprisoned in an area we don’t like but because of situations with family and jobs, we are not free to leave.
When writing how his imprisonment had given him opportunities to share his faith, the Apostle Paul refused to fight his chains. History tells us that every four hours Paul was chained to a new prison guard and many became believers. The Bible tells us that as a result of what happened to Paul, the gospel was advanced.
Seeing our life chains as a way to anchor us to God, helps us stop chaffing against them. Those miserable, weighty iron links that seem to hold us down might be necessary to make us stop and do something we might not have done otherwise. When we are stuck in one place with few options, God often does his finest work. Being pinned to one place gives us time to think about our lives, to pray more, to communicate with others in our current community, and spend quality time worshipping our Lord.
God might even have a special project for us that we wouldn’t have seen while flitting around in our previous life. A few years ago my husband and I found ourselves unemployed while trying to sell our house. Fourteen months of showing a house in a down market seemed like an eternity when we wanted to move on, but I have a 70,000 word novel to show for my time of house arrest.
Are you bound to your present circumstances? God may have you anchored for a reason. Look around you. Is there someone God wants you to befriend in order to share the good news? Release from anxiety often comes when we respond to our current situation while looking for opportunities to make good out of it.
When we quit fighting our chains, we may find a greater purpose in wearing them.
A Fun and Encouraging Read
This devotional makes for a great read in short spurts while packing or unpacking for a move. Full of witty, personal stories, Changing Zip Codes tackles the gamut of emotions we experience during a move, from the first moments of preparing for a move to settling into a community and finally feeling "at home," --anticipation, uncertainty, disappointment in leaving a place we love, concern over making friends or easing the transition for children. Having just moved away from family and friends to a new state, I found Carol Stratton's book to be encouraging and inspiring.
A God Send
If you are moving, or know someone about to move, do not delay, buy this book now! The devotions inside are very encouraging, they speak to the core of a person whose life is in transition. All the possible issues you might face are addressed. There are funny stories and thoughtful messages throughout. Buy several copies and hand them out whenever somebody new moves into the neighborhood. Or suggest your church hand them out to families new in town. It's a ministry, it's a devotional, it's the perfect avenue to open up conversations with anyone you know in the moving process. The author must have many moves under her belt, for such a great understanding of what it's like to change zip codes.
I Love Life Here and Don't Want to Move There n'
Wow! I loved this book. Wish I had it 41 years ago when my husband and I embarked on the first of twelve pain-filled moves. I like digging my heels into my house, my community, my church, and especially my friends; and I don't like letting go. Change of any kind threatens me and changing zip codes is the worst threat of all.
Carol Stratton holds your hand and places it in the hands of God as she walks you through the moving process. She encourages the reader to see God's plan for the move and she gives practical helps to ease the pain of transition for the entire family.
With at least one more change of zip codes ahead of me before I reach the place of no zip codes, I gleaned much from Carol's advice. My attitude has changed as I look at another move as an exciting adventure on my life's journey, not as dreaded days of packing and unpacking every ounce of my emotions.
Thank you for this wonderful book, Carol. Please anyone about to move, read it. If you have a dear friend about to move, this would make a great going-away present. She'll love you for it.
Happy Packing! I can say that now that I've read, "Changing Zip Codes."
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