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Apr 17 2010

Transplant Shock

Posted by Mugs @ 6:33 pm in Devotional Print This Post Print This Post

By Mugs Manry

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5 (NIV)

Each time I move, I spend all my energy on the preparation, relocation, and resettlement. Once the move is complete, I collapse and grieve my prior settled life. Thereafter, my thoughts turn towards how well I understood my old location and did not wish to leave it. During this time of grief, I always feel displaced and separated from my new location.

My experience mirrors a plant that is pulled up, roots and all, from its established place to be replanted somewhere else. It takes awhile for the plant to overcome the shock of the move, and for a time the transplant looks sickly and weak. Its roots must get established in the new place so the plant can bloom again.

I once asked God to reveal to me how to thwart my transplant shock. He brought to mind a picture of a potted plant that can be carried from place to place without such upheaval. If my roots are planted in Him, He will nourish me both during the move and throughout the time I live in the new location.

Keeping my roots planted in Him is my first task in overcoming transplant shock. Yet, my challenge does not end there. The United States military, in an attempt to make the transition to another country easier, establishes the familiar for its members and their families. Stores, restaurants and houses are built, and those assigned to this new place can choose to never leave this Little America.

I am tempted when we move with the military, not to venture outside the gate. I can refuse to interact with the culture surrounding me, and instead spend my time holding on to all I miss from back home. This environment inside the gate is a safe and secure hot-house. Unfortunately, if I choose never to leave it, I will forfeit a new and enriching opportunity which God has provided.

Additionally, I must overcome two thoughts that unsettle me each time I move. The first thought is “everything looks odd.” I have lived in varied landscapes and am occasionally overwhelmed by the jarring differences. Growing up in northern Minnesota surrounded by pine trees, I always had shade, but no view. Years later, I arrived in Colorado to live on the plains with a view of the mountains. How beautiful it was. Yet, I could not help thinking, “Can someone please get me a tree?” The landscape was markedly different from my usual scenery and it left me feeling completely exposed.

Furthermore, my customs and my behavioral traits were shaped by the culture in which I was raised. In a new location, I am unsettled by the cultural differences in attitudes, values, and practices. “Everyone acts odd,” I think. This jarring cultural difference was once aptly described by my mother-in-law when, in her slow southern drawl, she told my husband, “We love Mugs…but she’s a Yankee.” Another culture gives me perspective through its alternate view, but it takes effort in my thoughts and actions to change my own limited perspective.

Admittedly, the hot-house may be a safe place to reside, but we do not grow as strong in its comforts as we would grow in adversity. The Lord will grow new and unexpected things in us when we engage in a new location and culture. He will nourish us when we are rooted in Him, and He will help us overcome the fear of venturing outside the gate. He will broaden our perspective as we begin to see life through His perspective.

Dear Lord, This new place is a unique part of Your creation. Please fit me into it. My eyes tell me everything looks different and my mind tells me everyone acts different, but the Holy Spirit tells me there is a new way to grow here. Grow in me a love for this place and this people so I may love them as You do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:

Introduce yourself to others and participate in culturally different activities. Be willing to ask questions to find out why something is done differently. Alter a set pattern of behavior (stores frequented, transportation used, recreation practiced) to expand your understanding of the multiple ways to accomplish a task.


Do you spend the majority of your time with those geographically near you?

What is hindering you from engaging in this new place?

To whom can you show God’s love?

Power Verses:

Genesis 12:1 (NIV) “The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’”

Psalm 1:3 (NIV) “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

3 Responses to “Transplant Shock”

  1. Tina says:

    I really needed to read this. I have noticed that since my move to Rayville, I have developed that “hot house” mentality you spoke of. It has been easier to just stay to myself than to venture outside my comfort zone. I have maintained my equilibrium by telling myself that my stay in Rayville is just temporary, so I always feel like my life is on hold, just waiting for the time that I can move on. I am ashamed of myself! Growing up in the military taught me better than this!

  2. Autumn (your favorite niece ;P) says:

    We have just recently moved to Cloutierville to my Nee’s old house it my not be as long of a move and it may not be as much of a change’but it is still a small shock of not being able to just walk next door or down the road to see my friends or not being able to throw our trash in the garbage can outside but instead having to bring them to the dump. This may not be as drastic of a move,but it is still a change. I have only moved once maybe twice before this,but i was to young to remember;so please keep us in your prayers that we may be able to get used to this new location. :heart:

  3. Mugs says:

    Autumn…we are praying for you to adjust well to your move. I hope you will enjoy the new found space.

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