“Sometimes…I wander about in this house that Nathan and I renewed, that is now aged and worn by our life in it. How many steps, wearing the thresholds? I look at it all again. Sometimes it fills to the brim with sorrow, which signifies the joy that has been here, and the love. It is entirely a gift.” Wendell Berry Hannah Coulter
First of all, I need to apologize if I know you in person and this is the first you are hearing of our news. Although there was a great amount of thought put into it, once the ball started rolling, it rolled fast.
But our journey involves a little bit of a story.
I like to think it starts this July, when we found ourselves in California with my family, enjoying a little vacation.
Bea was a brand new babe and we were soaking up all of the family time we had as the thick of summer was upon us. As much joy as we had, something felt off. Our future was uncertain. It had been a whole year since our summer of disappointment, but our job luck had not turned around for the better. Behind closed doors, we lamented that N had not had any job interviews up until this point. A year prior, he’d already had about half a dozen under him. It was July, time was running out for things to change, even though we felt as though we were more than ready for them to.
One of the things I enjoy about our family vacations is that we always read a book before our trip, chosen each time by a different member of the family. This time my dad had chosen The Pursuit of God. (Tozer). One sunny afternoon we were sitting outside discussing it and my dad suggested that we share prayer requests and subsequently pray over each other. N and I shared what was on our heart: for God to open doors, to show us the next step (whatever it was we were READY to follow, we just needed Him to show us). They prayed and my dad ended by saying that he felt we were on the brink of a big change. I felt it too. I prayed for clarity.
Not long after we returned home, N received a call for an interview. The first one all summer! We were reserved but allowed ourselves some excitement. He got the call on a Monday and scheduled an interview for that Friday. On the Thursday night before, they called to tell him they were cancelling the interview: they’d already chosen their candidate.
Well that was quite strange, but laughable because it seemed to fit right in with all of the previous job interview experiences he’d had thus far. The doors always closed but for reasons always unpredictable and sometimes just bizarre! Another week would go by before he would get another interview lined up. The strange thing about this next one was that before he even had the chance to interview for it, he was offered a job at another location!
Yep, it happened that fast. We were over the moon excited! The next job, the next direction, a step into our future. We finally had a clear picture of where to go next. The only hang-up about this job was the commute. It was at least an hour drive one way. In fact, he almost didn’t apply for it, but at the last minute changed his mind because he had some strong connections there.
We knew the commute would be daunting, but we were determined to make it work. “We can do anything for a year.”, we told ourselves. At the end of a year we would reevaluate.
God had begun preparing my heart for the next change long before I even realized it. At some point that summer, we had discussed moving out of state in order for N to pursue his doctorate in another location. In thinking about an out of state move, I began to process what I would have to leave behind. I grieved over the loss of our church, our small group, my play group, my friends, N’s family here, MG’s school, MOPS, book club, the ease of our location, heck, even the hospital where Bea was born. I grieved and then made peace with each loss. Some were easy, others more difficult. Included in these thoughts were all of the things I would sell or give away before that move and I began readying my house for a giant purge.
It was in that way that God prepared me for a not-as-grand-but-still-big change that was coming. I had made peace with leaving those things behind so when God began stirring our hearts again, I was already on the other side of this process rather than starting from the very beginning.
As it turns out, an hour commute is pretty brutal. Especially when you leave in the early dark and don’t get home until 5:30-6. The initial start up was a rude awakening for all of us and we all felt the effects, even MG & Bea. So while we gritted our teeth and determined to bear it, I also continued searching for our next house. I tried everything to find something that would put us just a little bit closer to his job but still allow us to stay a part of the communities we’ve been involved with. However, whether it was time, money, or location, something was always hindering us.
Then like a fresh wind of change, my parents suggested something new. Why not sell our house and rent (temporarily) near N’s job until we know where we are going to end up long term. The plan felt right for so many reasons: we would be free of the burden of a house, we would save money, we would be free to make an offer on our next house when the timing was absolutely right and we’d know exactly how much money we had to work with. AND most importantly, we’d get our family back.
A few searches was all it took to land us on our next home. It is perfect for us in so many ways. The best one being that is in an area that is familiar and dear to us. It is a much, much shorter commute to work, and still not far enough away from our communities that we have to close all doors permanently.
And after 3 years without, I even have a little art studio. That is probably my favorite part.
Not long after finding this house, we put our house up for sale and within 48 hours we received an offer that we
couldn’t didn’t want to refuse.
So we are (temporarily) moving. Into a rental, into a lovely little community not too terribly far away from “home”.
It may be a little unconventional. We may be a little crazy. But we are so excited.
This next little adventure of ours will involve: some paring down, some simplifying and living with less, a shared “sister” room, a time to re-live some memories and create new ones, a chance to live burden (mortgage) free for a few months, the ability to step away and decide what we truly want AND need in our next house. A moment of clarity.
Our life there already feels peaceful in so many little ways. I cannot wait for it to fully begin.
N accepted this job offer on July 22, the day I wrote this post. I could sense it then. That this would be a year that would stretch and grow us, that we were about to walk down a new and uncharted, but wildly exciting path. But if you had told me then, a mere three months ago, what we’d actually be doing, I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU! Funny how God works sometimes :).
As you can tell, the story cannot possibly end here. For now, we will be living life in our rental for the forseeable next few months, but my realtor.com app has still been getting quite the workout as I try to figure out where to land my family permanently. Some days I chose a suburban tradamer with walk-in closets and a master suite. Other days, I chose a re-habbed 1890’s farm house on 2.5 acres. For now, that is possibly one of the more fun parts of this journey: not knowing how it ends.
But you can be sure I will fill you in when I know. Stay tuned,