Since we married in 1977, we’ve lived in twelve different homes within six states. We know experientially that this nation is comprised of a conglomeration of very different and yet unified states. Each state does everything uniquely, from when/if there are 4th of July fireworks displays to school registration, from providers of parks-and-recreation type activities to the titles of all the important state departments.

This delighted our children in the 1990s when we moved to Nebraska and discovered that from July 1st to the 4th there was freedom to shoot fireworks practically anywhere – including bottle rocket fights with neighbors on the library lawn. One still bears a scar.

Unfortunately, there is no United States Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). And, no state publishes all the documents and hoops required to get a new license after a relocation. I’m guessing this is because each state was organized by bureaucrats of good will who know of local concerns about which newcomers have no idea. They then assume that these are common standards and that every other state surely also has these norms.

However, there is no consensus, no standardized national norm. Even if a state provides a fairly thorough list of all documents, we’ve still been surprised to discover that they don’t take whatever form of payment we’ve brought – cash, check, or credit card. A word to the wise – take all three.

So in an attempt to utilize my husband’s relocation leave, we headed to the DMV (Department of Public Safety here) with trepidation. You know where this is going.

After our nearly two-hour wait in a room increasingly packed with humanity, we learned that we lacked all the needed documents. Of course. The first attempt was a fail. We missed the mark. At our separate stations, we were each told different requirements and needed items. When we return, we’ll meet the requirements for both, just to be safe, but now he’ll have to squeeze it into a work day.

Afterward, we crawled into our car, despondent and ready to be cranky with one another, but we burst into laughter instead. If you’ve never relocated across state lines, you’ve missed out on the hilarity of these random requirements expected from new residents. It’s like an initiation ritual: Odd documents (A letter from the bank verifying our new address wasn’t adequate – it had to be a bank statement). Conflicting information (car registration required at one station but not at another). Excruciatingly long waits in city offices.

We pulled out into traffic and this song came on the radio, reminding us that these types of events are the norm here and that life’s final relocation has only one requirement:

We only need to be in Jesus Christ.

Because we all miss the mark every single day, God works on our hearts. He changes our minds and turns us to walk through life alongside his Son, making us able to trust in him and to believe that he is exactly who he says he is – the one and only begotten Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that he rose from the dead. When we place our faith in Jesus and yield to his transforming love, we’re in.

No forgotten or random documents needed, no conflicting requirements, no form of payment rejected, no identification record found inadequate. Jesus did it all for us – paid for our sins, established our identity as members of his family, made us citizens in his kingdom, and granted us the right to enter.

We’re in.

We’re not home yet, but we will be one day. No moving trucks. No relocation firm. No mold in the attic. No unpacking of mysterious boxes filled with random miscellany, some drawers simply dumped in for fun. No registration requirements.

Rejoicing in the fact that this most important detail has been secured, that this glorious home-going awaits us one day, and that state requirements are often ludicrous, we stopped by the nearest Sonic and celebrated, jubilant as we soothed ourselves with thoughts of God’s gift of his Son and with our favorite treats.

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