25 Jun 2015

When It’s OK to Be Sad

I have so many thing to tell you I don’t know where to begin.

Sometimes your head can be full of words but your body is full of aches and pains from a week and a half worth of packing boxes and moving. So while your head really, really wants to share all that you’re feeling during this transition, your body just wants to lie on the sofa and read a book while eating leftover take out.

My body has been the boss of me the last week or so.

Because you guys, moving is so much work.

You realize it that moment when you’re half dressed but can’t find a shirt. Have a bowl of cereal poured but can’t find a spoon. Have a mug ready, but can’t find the coffee.

That’s where we’ve been living the last week.  And if you’ve been following me over here on Instagram you know that the last week has been full of big feelings.

On the last day of school my sons got in the car and my older one held his hand tenderly to his chest and told me, “I’m just so sad.” And I looked over at him as we passed all the rows of waving teachers and friends and people and places that have been his whole world for the last seven years and I ached with him.

As I watched those blue eyes well up behind his glasses I wanted to reach over and swat away the pain and tell him that everything’s gonna be fine and he’ll find so many new friends, that one day he won’t even remember his sadness.

But today is not that day.

Today I reminded myself that crying honors the friendships that have been so dear to us.

So instead, I reached over and put my hand on top of his — right over his beautiful, strong, nine-year-old heart that feels everything so deeply and I let my own eyes spill over. And I told him that crying is good. Because crying means you’ve loved someone with your whole heart. You’ve let people into your life and your dreams and part of you will stay with them when you move and that means that part of your will have a rip in it.

Loving people means actually giving pieces of ourselves away.

And we’ve loved big in this neighborhood.

And kids love bigger than even we adults manage most of the time.

Kids aren’t stingy – they give away chunks of their hearts.

So we honored those holes on the last day of school and me and the kids had a good cry in the car and named the friends we’re going to miss.

I’m going to miss my friend Lisa so badly it deserves tears. Tears say, “I was loved and I loved you.” Tears testify to the deep, daily glory of ordinary, around-the-corner friendship. The kind of friendship that makes the ordinary extraordinary.

So we cried and then we all went out for ice cream. Because ice cream is its own special ministry too.

And then we moved.



And the moving was hard on our hearts but also on our backs and knees and shoulders and flabby thigh muscles. Moving is no joke, man.

And the day after we moved we had 4 couples over for dinner and the next morning Peter went out of town for 4 days. So yea, hence the couch and the inability between kids and boxes to find words to put down about the move.

But last night I stood out on our lawn and watched my children play with two cheap beach balls for whole minutes of squabble-free fun and I knew I was standing on the holy ground of answered prayers.



And I thought of all of you who might still be waiting for your answered prayers.

Hope can be a sort of terrifying thing can’t it?

For 10 years I have hoped and dreamed and prayed for a house with space for my kids to play and roam and explore and dig and plant and grow. So it flat out takes my breath away to see that hope realized. Because all the while we were living in tiny rental apartments and rundown rental houses God always knew last night would be coming.

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow He is always good and His timing is always perfect.

So if you’re still waiting – I wanted to just come here and let you know that I get it. I really do. The waiting. And the raging and wondering and doubting and feel frustrated and like God must be deaf. 

I get it and I don’t have easy answers but I can offer to sit here with you in the waiting and let you know I hear you. I see you. I ache with you. And I also believe that God has not forgotten you. Not for a minute. He just sees the whole picture and we only have one tiny frame to work with.

Waiting is not doing nothing. Waiting is some of the hardest most faithful work that we can be called to do. You are not alone. We will all spend years of our lives invested in waiting on God. It’s good to do it together, to name our waiting so that we can’t be sold the lie that we’re the only ones still waiting. We are not.

And even if your prayers have been answered – I think that it’s OK to grieve the transition even in the midst of giving thanks for it. It’s OK to ache for the friends or seasons or places or stories that are now going to change. It’s OK to miss it and name it and give thanks for it all at the same time.

I think we can be well and we can be sad at the same time.

And then, when we’re ready, we can come and share more about the beauty of white paint. 

Until then, I’m here between my boxes giving thanks for the glory of this place and space and new story. And also lying in bed at night with my kids as they whisper all the things they miss.

It’s both, and.



{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    awww!!! BIG HUGS!!… and tears of joy…of pain…of JOY that God is awesome and we HAVE to have faith in HIM and let things be done in HIS time…man oh man what a hard lesson to learn….day after day..year after year…and I KNOW i still am learning this very hard lesson myself…day after day..year after year….:0 )

  2. 2

    Tears with you and for you. Only God can bring beauty from ashes and the in-betweens. <3 And I have a dear mama friend who needs to read these words today. Who is longing for her own house with a yard big enough for her five babies to play in and I’m going to share the hope you have spoken here with her. Thank you for being you Lisa-Jo. Thanking God for using you in my life and so many others. Enjoy that yard and that beautiful “new” dresser and those three kids and that awesome deck…after you rest a bit. ;) Much love, mb

    • 3
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Yes and amen and will do and how wonderful for your friend to have you as a friend to wait with her!

  3. 4

    Well, I’m bawling. Lol. God used you to speak right to my heart. I moved 6 years ago from everything I knew in Massachusetts to Louisiana. And this week has been hard(even after 6 years of being here). I just don’t fit in and haven’t been able to make any friends who get me and my silly sense of humor. All this time I’ve been telling myself “move on already!!!” But reading this helps me see that it’s ok to be sad and to be patient for God to answer my prayers and help my loneliness. It’s just hard. I’ve been waiting forever. Thanks for sharing this. Spoke right to my heart.

    • 5
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Yea, some waiting ebbs and flows, doesn’t it? I find homesickness to be like that – it can sneak up on you at the strangest most unexpected times. And I’ve learned to just let it. And to let myself grieve. Before I can pick up and keep leaning into the life that I have now. I also find that ice cream helps…

  4. 6

    I just love your heart and your words. So happy for you and your family

  5. 7

    Well I didn’t think I needed to hear this, but then I read it anyway instead of getting up and taking care of this house … The one I loved when we bought it, the one I thought we’d be in for years and years… But then God had another plan, called my husband to ministry 1.5 hours away. And long story short, I cried my tears, I broke up with my house in my heart, and put it on the market – TWO years ago! I feel displaced, always wondering when, and if, and why. Meanwhile we keep on commuting, straddling two communities, and unable to put our roots down in either.

    • 8
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Man that’s hard Sara. And there aren’t easy answers to living in between, are there? There is just the hope that God hasn’t forgotten us and that He IS the God of the in between – the God who gave up heaven to make His home on earth. But also the God who calls us home to Him in the heavenlies. That has always been a great comfort to me – that He is at home in our discomfort because He’s actually lived it. Thank God for a Savior who moved into the neighborhood and can truly relate.

  6. 9

    Oh, this was perfect today! I am crying with and for you.. moving is so hard. The good-byes to friends and favorite places and learning about your new home/neighborhood and making new friends. And how we hope… this was balm to my heart.

    Thank you!

  7. 10

    Lisa Jo, thank you so much for these words! I’m so happy for your family but can imagine how incredibly hard the moving is and the emotional work too. I always enjoy your words but I especially meant to thank you when you wrote about waiting on God regarding moving, etc. awhile back. It was just what I needed to hear and now again this was such a lovely breath of fresh air! :) Thank you! I’m all agreed that we can be sad and happy at the same time too! !

  8. 11

    Beautiful! We just watched the Inside Out movie and it is so similar to your story. Moving and goodbyes are so difficult and starting over is scary and hurts but it is also wonderful.
    Thank you for sharing and it IS okay to be sad, and the joy comes in the morning, but first can come the mourning. May you continue to enjoy squabble-free play times and I rejoice with you in your answered prayers!! (Ours is a home with 2 potties)
    Love and hugs,

  9. 12

    Life is always so full of changes and challenges. We can only look to the Savior to get us through those times. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I feel blessed by being a small part in reading about your move and enjoying the photos. May God bless you in the days ahead.

  10. 13

    This brought me to tears. I am and have been in a period of waiting for a year now. Waiting for my husband to slay the beast that is depression. Waiting for us to come to a season where we can just be happy. The waiting is so hard. But I know that God’s plan for us is still in motion & that He has GOOD planned for us. Thank you for reminding me that we are not alone in the waiting. I am so happy that your prayer was finally answered.

    • 14
      Lisa-Jo says:

      Yes yes yes – good pressed down and running over. He does. We are His beloved and He would never abandon us – may He keep you such close company in your waiting, Amanda.

  11. 15
    Melissa D says:

    “Crying means you’ve loved someone with your whole heart.”

    This echoes what my heart has been feeling all day today. It has been broken and aching, because yesterday came the news that someone who was greatly loved by a huge number of people had left us to go to Heaven. And I’ve been happy because I do believe that is where she is and we have all been praying that her transition would be a peaceful and pain-free one and it was and so THANK YOU GOD for answering that prayer with a Yes. And still. She is gone and we didn’t really want her to be gone. And it is hard, really really hard, in spite of the fact that it’s only been a day and her death was not a surprise.

    So thank you for reminding us that it is okay to be sad, even when prayers are answered with a yes. Because sometimes saying Yes to one thing means saying No to another and it is okay for us to be sad when that happens.

    • 16
      Lisa-Jo says:

      So much amen here. I don’t think we were ever designed for permanent goodbyes – death was not and is not God’s plan for us and thank God truly that He sent His son to permanently defeat it – so that one day we’re guaranteed there will be no more goodbyes. Just sitting here quietly with you today and feeling your grief – I so get how heavy it is to carry.

  12. 17

    I’m moving in two weeks, and even though it’s been the longing of my heart for eight years now, I’m still very sad to be leaving the life I’ve built here. Thank you for putting into words the feelings I’ve been trying to reconcile for many weeks. <3 Blessings on you and your family as you begin to settle into this new space and grieve the things you had to leave behind.

  13. 18

    Oh my! This is exactly how it was for us when we moved to Virginia last summer. Our kids were 10 and 13 – such tender ages, and I really didn’t want them to be sad but sometimes sad just means that you LOVED. We have done pretty well here making friends, finding a church, etc., and just a couple of weeks ago we moved again to a larger home nearer to our church family, which meant more goodbyes. But these goodbyes were not as painful as the ones in SC because we’re still close enough to visit. And on July 4th one of the friends I had to say goodbye to in SC is coming here to visit and I just cannot wait! Thank you for the reminder that sadness is sometimes necessary.

    • 19

      Thank you for this. My very best friend (excluding my husband) moved away today. It was definately the right choice for them, but we (and our husbands and kids) are broken-hearted. There are many tears up and down the east coast today. Thank you for reminding me that it’s okay to be sad.

  14. 20

    Gah – I love you so! Can I say what a treasure you are to us – and how we are rejoicing – and yes, weeping a little too, with you and your family. Both/and. Amen! (And I can’t even talk about how big your Littles are getting! Make it stop, already!) xoxo

    • 21
      Lisa-Jo says:

      I know, right? TOO BIG! Also, thank you for how you love so so well. You are a generous woman of God, Karrilee, who pours her words and her encouragement into so many and I am so, so grateful that you are one of my virtual neighbors! :)

  15. 22

    What a wonderful post! And I’m so glad you’ve found joy and blessings and celebration in the midst of the aches. It’s an ache I know well… We’ve moved over 10 times, across three countries. :)

    Welcome Home!

  16. 23

    we just moved into a newer house (this time a rental for us because we outgrew the house we own and have to rent it out)… and i can totally relate to everything you said! moving is so hard on every level, even when it is an answer to prayer!

  17. 24

    Thank you for this post – it spoke to my heart today! We just moved our 11 and 8 year-old children across the country from Colorado to Missouri. While it has brought many blessings for our family, it has also caused us to shed many tears. Bittersweet through and through. No doubt, moving is HARD work for the body and heart!

  18. 25

    Love this post. We can be sad and be well at the same time…. yes, so much yes!! And the line about crying gives our friendships honor. (pretty sure i just paraphrased that). My oldest was 6 when we moved away from everythinh she knew. It was a harder transition than I anticipated, but the move was the right thing for our family. And this one is the right one for your family. Blessings as you unpack boxes and feelings. :)

  19. 26

    So many thoughts and feelings and hopes and prayers wrapped up in these two short sentences:

    1) I am SO HAPPY for you, and praying for you all!

    2) thank you for this needed, truth-filled encouragement. ❤️

  20. 27

    “So if you’re still waiting – I wanted to just come here and let you know that I get it. I really do. The waiting. And the raging and wondering and doubting and feel frustrated and like God must be deaf.”

    Thank you for the words. It’s nice to read your story and encourage me to be patient in my waiting.

  21. 28

    Oh, MAN. Reading this put a HUGE lump in my throat. Growing up as an Air Force brat, we moved…a LOT. Like 16 times before I graduated from High School. I remember the sick feeling in my stomach as we left the familiar and moved to some place new and strange. As hard as it was, always being the “new kid,” it did not compare to what you just described in your post…seeing the sadness in your KIDS’ eyes; knowing the pain they feel in their hearts as they leave behind everything and everyone they’ve known. That was a million times harder. Bless your hearts! You are such a good mom to validate their sadness, and not just push it aside. Hang in there!


  1. […] When It’s OK to Be Sad […]

  2. […] staggering to me how easily it’s become home. Despite the ache of goodbye, this new place has opened it’s arms and its neighborhood and its beautiful front doors and […]

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