Three years ago, we prepared to say goodbye. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.

How do you say goodbye to the people you love? How do you leave all that is familiar? How do you walk out of your home that holds so many precious memories for the very last time? How do you turn the key and walk away?

How do we do this?

Three years ago, my heart was breaking into a million tiny little pieces.

How do we do this?

Three years ago, we stood in our empty living room with our neighbors. And we gathered in a circle and prayed. We thanked God for the memories and the blessings and we prayed for the new beginnings. We asked Him to bless and protect the sweet young family who would be moving into the place we had called home for the past six years. We gathered together and we cried.

How do we do this?

Three years ago, our friends threw us the most thoughtful and touching going away party. While we were there, we ate amazing food and talked and laughed and dried our eyes. People stopped by to wish us well, to take pictures and sign books, and to put their thumbprints on a picture of our beloved state. More tears were shed as hugs were given and farewells were spoken.

How do we do this?

Three years ago, we squeezed into two cars, sandwiched between the items we had packed for our month stay in our temporary apartment. I followed behind my husband and the kids playing a mixed CD that a friend had gifted me that day. A compilation of songs she prepared for me for that moment, for that drive. As the rain poured down and I followed behind with the music blaring, the tears flowed heavy and hard, matching the rain being pushed away by my windshield wipers.

How do we do this?

Three years ago, as I followed my husband and kids, I noticed the rental van license plate carrying my family to our new home contained the letters AM, and with the Indiana above it – it read I AM. And I felt a peace wash over me as I thought of the Great I AM and remembered how long and hard we prayed before making the decision to move. And I knew He was with us. And I felt Him carrying us to our new destination.

Three years.

That’s how long we had from the time we found out about my husband’s company relocating until the time we moved. Three long years. The exact amount of time needed for my heart to change from I cannot go and I will not go to – Ok, Lord. I will go.

Three years ago, we took a leap of faith, let go of the familiar, and stepped into the unknown.

How do we do this?

One day at a time. One moment at a time. One step a time. Just like everything else. Just like we are doing now. We keep moving forward. This is what I learned.

And with each step. Each moment. Each day. I found new blessings. New joys. New things to be grateful for. New memories being made. New friendships developing. New places to explore.

I learned that friendships don’t go away just because you no longer live in the same town. And that just like your heart expands with each child, your heart expands with each friend. I found out how brave my family can be.

I found out some of the greatest adventures lie on the other side of deep pain and sorrow. I discovered the gifts that come from taking risks. I found out we can do hard things. And that our children can, too.

And that sometimes doing those hard things brings you even closer together as a family. I found out that a school that feels unfamiliar, and makes you deeply miss all that you left, will one day become a place filled with a sea of familiar faces.

I found neighbors who became friends. I found my sorrows and pain turn to joy as I experienced the gift of once again living by extended family.

I found out the place and people we left behind will always hold a special and irreplaceable spot in my heart and that distance doesn’t change the love you have for one another.

I found out how we do this. Like we do all hard things. With God. With faith. With hope. With tears. With family. With friends.

I found my heart expand.

I found a new place to call home.

I would love to here what you think. Please feel free to comment below.