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We Put Down Roots. Then Everything Around Us Shifted.


We must find new ways to live faithfully in places that have changed.

If you’ve moved lately (or have tried to), you’ll know that there’s a shortage of available properties pushing prices to an all-time high. Many would-be buyers, including first-time buyers, have been priced out of the market and stuck in places they’d rather not be—and, in some cases, places they no longer recognize.
It’s been nine years now since my husband and I bought our first home. After a decade of moving from place to place, we returned to his native Virginia to minister in a rural community. We were drawn by both providence and desire, and the home we bought came to represent these things for us.
We quickly made it our own, replacing the orange carpet in the basement and updating the wood-grained paneling. We planted fruit trees and put in gardens. Then, fences and hedgerows. We renovated bathrooms and again replaced the flooring when the drains failed and the basement flooded, all while sinking our roots deeper and deeper into the surrounding community.
Then the earthquakes hit.
Not literally earthquakes, but interpersonal and vocational ones. After eight years, we transitioned out of the ministry that had brought us here. Our children moved on from the elementary school that sits a stone’s throw from our house, and we found ourselves feeling displaced despite living at the same address.
Soon enough, our private tremors were encircled by global ones. COVID-19 hit, and we, along with our neighbors, found ourselves locked in our homes. Schools and churches closed and the library, too—our points of shared community were lost. Of course, we checked on each other, but, at first, we didn’t know whether our presence was more threat than benefit.
“I fell …

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