When You Really Just Want to Know What to Expect

lindsay letters

Recently, someone in this Nesting Place community contacted me to share that her family had to move AGAIN, too soon. She knew I’ve been there before, having to move before you are ready, feeling like you didn’t even fully unpack from the last move, wondering if you’ll remember your new zip code, worried that your children will be affected. And also just plain exhausted. Meanwhile feeling slightly guilty because you know there are worse things that can happen than moving again.

It was everything I could do not to ask her where she lived so I could show up at her house and help her start to pack.

I can still vividly remember all of those emotions. And now, six years after one of our most difficult realizations that we had to move (AGAIN), I can look back and see all the good that came from that move (and all the other moves) that I shook my fist at. I wanted to promise her that everything would be fine. And I believe it will be in the end.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not really hard right now.

And that doesn’t mean that her hard situation doesn’t count because it could be more difficult.


In the stillness, the waiting, the unknown, the difficult, the pain, the quiet, and the darkness– that’s where important things happen, much to my dismay.



These quotes are from a book about what happens when life seems dark and hard and broken. It’s a book about embracing the dark, not rushing it. Permission to travel through the darkness–that unknown, take your time and know that just because you can’t see doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening. And ultimately, it’s a book about hope.

“Sometimes the way TO is through.”

–Nancy Ortberg

bedside table

This is one of those bedside table books that you’ll want to read a little bit every night before you go to sleep.

read books

So dear friend, no matter what your hard thing is today, it counts. It’s hard and that doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. As Parker Palmer says. “We are all heartbroken.”

Maybe it’s time to give yourself some time?

tested faith


  1. Shannon Spakes says

    Thank you for sharing this! This is something we all need from time to time and I know someone who could use it now.

  2. Wendy Davis says

    My heart is broken. I sit here in tears reading your post. I move AGAIN in 20 days to a place I don’t want to live, leaving my son who is a senior in high school, 12 hours now away from my daughter who is in college, and becoming an empty nester to early. Thank you for your timely article. Would appreciate a prayer for me and my family… Thank you so much, sweet sister!

    • I am praying for you right now, Wendy. “May the Lord of peace himself always give you his peace no matter what happens. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

    • Wendy, that is the worst. I’m so sorry you have to deal with that and miss your kids so much.


  3. Dee Goehring says

    Love this post, thank you! Also, love the verse print with deer at top- would you mind sharing where you got this one?

  4. Michelle Faile says

    Where did the scripture print with the deer on it come from? I love it!

  5. Yes, yes. You’re speaking truth, dear Nester.

    I’m emerging from 6 months of good-byes and packing and moving and transitions and the sudden deaths of my dad and my littlest grandson.

    It’s hard stuff, all these changes and grief colliding all over the place.

    And sometimes we’ve just gotta say that this is what is most true about me right about now … and I’m going to give myself great big helpings of grace and remind myself again that God’s going to get me through.

    And He does.

  6. This: “And that doesn’t mean that her hard situation doesn’t count because it could be more difficult.” I needed that today

    • I need that too–that’s probably the hardest thing for me to be okay with personally, that even sometimes good things can be hard situations and overwhelming–like having a new baby and things like that.

  7. I’m currently sitting in my therapist’s waiting room reading this. So lovely. So perfectly timed and true.

  8. I stopped highlighting lines in books because it made it so hard to go back and read the words around them. I make a mark in the margin instead, which forces me to read the good parts in their contexts. Sometimes they strike me in a new way when I go back to them later, because I have to search for their meaning again.

  9. “And that doesn’t mean that her hard situation doesn’t count because it could be more difficult.”
    I needed this today. I’ve had worse “hard things”, but that doesn’t mean today’s isn’t legitimate.

  10. Thank you for sharing this! I will be purchasing this book this week. I love the idea of using washi tape to mark the pages with words that we need to read more than once!

  11. I want this on a poster:

    Everything will be fine. And I believe it will be in the end.
    But that doesn’t mean it’s not really hard right now.
    And that doesn’t mean that this hard situation doesn’t count because it could be worse or more difficult.

    That is brilliant. It is perfect for me – my husband has a new cancer diagnosis – but it is often perfect for my young daughters. My wisdom from age teaches me that the myriad tragedies of fifth grade are not devastating in the long run – but they are certainly devastating to her where she is now, and her pain is no less valid in the moment. All mamas, take heed! I hate when parents don’t treat melodrama with respect. After all, my ability to deal with this cancer situation was founded in the lessons I learned in how to handle “tragedy” when I was young. You just have to remember to look back with the benefit of hindsight – and tell yourself (or your kids) later – that it could have been worse. I truly believe that we benefit by looking for God in the midst of each day’s individual issues, but I believe His heart hurts over the “I forgot to wear my hat on spirit day” sadness just as much as it hurts over our cancer worries.

    • this is so good, thank you for sharing Paige

    • Paige, I want a poster like that, too!!! I’m 64 and have been through a lot of what I call “hard spots” (starting at age 9)…. and yes, when I’m in that spot, others may not consider it hard compared to what they are going through, but it’s MY hard spot….and nonetheless difficult. My pastor said in his message on Sunday that when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place….put “The Rock” (God) between you and the hard place! I have to remind myself quite often that God has a plan for my life, and what He allows in my life (although unpleasant and hard) is only intended for my benefit and to conform me more to His likeness.
      Nester, thanks for this post…..I think I definitely want to read this book. The washi tape idea is cute; I like to use the Post-It 1/2 inch flags to mark things in books and magazines.

  12. Thank you for this post. I needed it so much today. I recently had a seismic shift occur in a relationship with someone I have known for 30+ years. I am heartbroken.

  13. Thank you, precious friend! xoxo

  14. I feel like you wrote this just for me – not because of the house/moving thing but other stuff. Thanks, Nester!

  15. Bonnie Jean Morrison says

    I am just praying that we don’t have to move… yet… I want to move more than I can tell you. To be safe from domestic violence… but we can barely make ends meet now and I do not know how I can afford to relocate and start all over with literally nothing. Please pray for me and my family. Moving is emotional and hard for oh so many reasons… when you want to go and when you don’t. I just want a little more time (and money) to prepare.

  16. This is my first visit to your blog. I found it by way of pinterest, but probably more of divine intervention. I really needed what you shared. I’ve been praying for a move in the near future, & feeling guilty because of my “first world problems”. Hope I can find the book you referenced. Your blog is wonderful, Thank You & GOD Bless !

  17. I’m sorry to say something negative, but I literally just came back from a mom’s group in which Nancy (Ortberg) taught. I’m about to cry because we thought we finally found a good church in Silicon Valley, but she dropped an “F” bomb, and used the “S-H” word all in the same teaching. I haven’t read the book, but could never receive from her again because of today.

    • Tess – I’m sorry to hear that! It’s hard to think that you’ve found a place to belong and then have it ripped away. There are lots of great churches in the Silicon Valley. Let me know if you’d like suggestions- I grew up and now live there.
      And I hope that you can read this post and that it gives you hope.

  18. I made a fool of myself.

  19. Take my word .

  20. Courage is putting one foot in front of the other when all you can see is a faint outline of the future, great motivation!

  21. Thank you for this post. I needed it so much today. I recently had a seismic shift occur in a relationship with someone I have known for 30+ years. I am heartbroken

  22. I made a fool of myself.

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