Changes

So, we moved to North Carolina.  I feel like I should punctuate that with an exclamation point, because shouldn’t I be excited about this big change in my life?, but that feels a little false.  I could also punctuate it:

So, we moved to North Carolina?

Or:

So, we moved to North Carolina…

Perhaps the ellipses is the most accurate, because I don’t know what’s next!

We have been here about nine weeks, and a lot has happened during that time. So, upon several requests, I am bringing the blog back (at least for this update).  IMG_3840.JPGSome of this story is just David’s, but in short, he has been wrestling with his call for a while.  We both absolutely loved our church in Florida, but he was feeling restless.  When he was first approached about applying for a new position, I was in one of the hardest seasons I have ever been in and flat-out told him NO.  You cannot disrupt our life right now; it is hard enough.  I cannot cope with more.  If you are gone any more, if we have any fewer resources at our disposal, if I have to implement one more change, that will be the straw that breaks me.

Although I told him no, it began an almost two-year conversation about what a new call might look like.  What would make us leave the people we loved and the important work we both did in our community? What would be “worth it?” Every few months he would hear from a church wondering if he was interested in an interview.  We said no every time.  We both acknowledged that we would likely move at some point so that David could advance in his career track, but you don’t leave a job when things are going well (or so we thought).

Things got easier with the kids.  Last spring, I was offered an exciting job opportunity.  The position would require me to stay in our area for the next three years.  David told me that I should take it–then told me three days later over tacos and my tears,  “I don’t think I can commit to staying here that long.”

This timeline was new to me.

(I want to pause here and say that marriage is a growth opportunity.  It’s easy to say the vows; it’s harder to make choices that prioritize another person’s happiness over your own.  Deciding, ok, your fulfillment is more important than mine—I’ll figure it out is SCARY. Yet I believe it is what we are called to, and I believe that God will bless us when we are obedient.

There are, of course, more complex layers to this decision involving long-term finances and health insurance and childcare–and in some of those decisions, David has laid down some of his happiness for us.  So don’t interpret this as my martyr story.  Healthy, loving families sacrifice for one another; marriage generally works best if you do, too. Moving along…)

I didn’t commit to the job opportunity.  But the conversation had shifted something anyway.  I noticed that David began to say “when we move” instead of “if we move.”  Things were going well for him AND for me professionally and personally, and the kids were thriving, so I pretended I couldn’t hear him.

In November, David went on a weeklong retreat for pastors.  I sent him away somewhat rudely, telling him he needed to figure out why he was so restless.  I assumed they would tell him to try harder to have a positive attitude, or something.  Instead, the vocational coaches told him he was restless because he was ready for a senior pastor position.

He came home and had barely updated me on the retreat when two churches contacted him to set up interviews for a senior pastor position.  Two in one week.  And here is where I sort of lost my mind, because THIS WAS MOVING SO FAST, and when I said, “figure out your restlessness” I didn’t mean, “move our family in the next few months.”

Yet just eight weeks later, I found myself in a tiny rental car, driving towards a a small town in North Carolina.

Over a long weekend, I learned that this church wanted and needed my husband’s exact skill set.

I could see the opportunities in front of the church and the growing community; I could see how his gifts would allow this church to expand their ministry and share God’s love with more people.

But I was so comfortable in Florida. I was happy.  Life was running smoothly(ish)—finally. 

IMG_3404As I spoke, journaled, prayed them—these objections disturbed me.  I used to want to be a missionary in another country—and now I wouldn’t BE MISSIONAL because I was too comfortable? Since when was my comfort a good decision-making standard? And was my happiness truly contingent upon being in a 5-mile geographic radius, or was God big enough to fulfill me anywhere? Could I trust God to help me handle the transitions that would come with a big life change, or not?

Long story short, through lots of prayer (mine were mostly “DON’T DO THIS TO ME PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO ME CRAP I THINK YOU MIGHT WANT ME TO DO THIS”) and with the help of wise counsel and a good offer, we decided to take the job.  I still wasn’t totally jazzed, but the logical part of me saw how all of this was good, and I didn’t want to hold us back with my selfishness.

Mechanically, I got ready for the move.  But my heart wasn’t in it.

IMG_3063About a month later, just before we announced our move, I was perched on my kitchen bar stool, reading and journaling and doing my best to work through all this when I got to Romans 10:

For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

And for the first time, I could picture more than my comfortable life.

I pictured the small town, growing by the day.  I pictured the church–which has been ministering to the community since the 1700s.  I remembered the search committee’s description of the church: their sincere desire to share good news with their community, and their longing for someone to equip them to be the best messengers possible.

I realized that while I was begging NOT to be sent, they were begging TO be sent.

And then God hit me over the head with this thought (from my BSF lesson):

IMG_3070What if I stepped out—and something amazing happened in someone else’s life because of it? What if someone found Christ because I agreed to move? That would be worth it. 

And here, I found a vision that compelled me more than my comfort.  I still wasn’t (and honestly still am not) happy to leave my friends and community, and man, it has been a lot of work, but I feel purpose in this transition.  David is doing a great job.  The church is thrilled to have his leadership.  The community is responding.

We have a new house, in a wonderful school district.  I have six new friends’ names and numbers in my phone.  I even got here in time to plant a garden…and it’s growing!

IMG_4026I didn’t picture this.  I didn’t plan this.  But once again, I find myself “journeying with Him.”  Surrendering to the mystery of the journey.

Even enjoying the journey.

Maybe I’ll blog about the journey?

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10 thoughts on “Changes

  1. Sarah!
    I actually hopped on WordPress to start a new blog for my newest adventure and was so pleasantly surprised when your new post popped up.
    I loved reading your update about the move. Moving is never easy, especially when it happens so quickly as yours did.
    I hope you are settling in and finding your place and people in North Carolina. And that you can find the same level of comfort there that you had in Florida!

    I hope you’ll keep blogging. I’ve always loved reading about what’s going on in your life. You have a way with words. 🙂

  2. Sarah,
    Your authenticity in this update provides me with hope! It can be tough to trust and step out of your comfort zone, however, I have always found frat reward and lessons that I cherish. Good luck to you and your family throughout this change. Keep being you!

  3. I love your honesty about your process. I’m so glad you trusted God and took the risk. I’m praying for you to find a new comfort zone here. 😭

  4. Wow! I loved reading this . . . I have missed your blog. Thank you for your honesty and openness in sharing how God is growing you and using your growth to bless others, in ways you don’t even know about yet!

  5. I have refreshed your page for months, hoping for an update. But today, as always is the case – when I needed these EXACT words the most – they finally refreshed. Random? No. God? Oh, yes 🙌

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