Book Review: After the Boxes are Unpacked {by Susan Miller}

Can't recommend this book enough!!!! -- read more on“I had to choose to move forward. Notice I always use the word choose. It is my choice to be open or closed to change and to what God is teaching me through it. I realized it was time to take the focus off myself, embrace where I now lived, and invest in new relationships. It was time to come full circle by being content in my circumstances and choosing to move to a place of peace, joy, hope and trust, with God as my focus.” — Susan Miller


The sheer amount of wisdom in this book is so large that it actually took me a long time to get through! It couldn’t have arrived in my life at a better time — I had recently moved with my family from South America back to the USA and then, while reading it, we moved for my husband’s job to another state.

Unless you have moved yourself, it’s pretty hard to understand the challenges one goes through in transitions like this — be it from another continent or just over the state line. After the Boxes Are Unpacked is an extremely comprehensive book written mostly for the “mover” but it would definitely benefit those movers if “receivers” read it, too. If you know someone who has moved to your area — a new neighbor, a new co-worker or a new church member — this book could give you an intimate understanding of what they are going through and how you can help in their transition.

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

The author, Susan Miller, has decades of experience full of moves and, later, ministering to those who have moved. Her book is overflowing with true, relatable stories and savvy suggestions and tips. Steeped in biblical scripture, After the Boxes Are Unpacked successfully empathizes with the reader, providing encouragement and nudges for getting through transitions more quickly with the right heart.

Separated into three sections (Let Go, Start Over and Move Forward), Miller dives into every possible aspect of moves. It’s directed toward women, which was my only disappointment in the book — I was hoping it would be a good book for my husband, too, but that wasn’t a big deal. Some of the main topics she covers include:

  • How to manage the emotional stress of leaving family & friends
  • How to support your spouse through a relocation
  • How to build new relationships in a new city
  • How to help children adjust to new surroundings and make friends
  • How to find a new church home
  • How to navigate financial challenges related to moving
  • How to discover God’s will for you and your family in a new city

“Being uprooted by any life change can leave you feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom. You can either stay there or see God as the rock and foundation upon which to rebuild your life.” — Susan

“But we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” (Romans 8:25, TLB)

The ends of each chapter were my favorite parts. Called Unpack Your Survival Box, these sections provided practical lists. The lists gave ideas for connecting better with one’s new community, suggestions for making the reader’s new house a home and relative Bible verses packed with encouragement.

This book truly is a treasure. I have already shared it with multiple “moving friends” and pray it impacted them as much as it did for me. It’s one I will surely reference from time to time as it was impossible to absorb all the wisdom the first time through.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:17)

Have you read it? If you’ve moved or have a new transition in your future, I can’t recommend it enough!

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale House Publishers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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