The phrase in my headline is exactly how we felt — and possibly do still feel — regarding our move.
Despite the new opportunities that came with a new, exciting and challenging job in Seattle, we left so much behind. Our college students, who we love and adore — who had become our family. Our church family. Our friends. Our co-workers. Our kids’ friends and schools. Memories from having roots in an area for six years. Stability. Support.
Now, we’re in a completely “foreign” land.
After having a supportive church family, we’re struggling to find our place. Part of this is due to Ian’s ministerial track and his desire, our need, to plug in somewhere. There is a Nazarene church just a few blocks from our house, and we have gone there a couple times. But there currently is no need for a leaders. It’s a small church with two staff pastors. Ian met with the district superintendent a couple weeks ago, and he suggested Ian look at a small church where he could serve as a “bivocational” pastor. We drove an hour to get there. Couldn’t tip our hand to reveal we were there to scope out an opportunity. And in reality, we can’t lead a church that we have to drive an hour (at best) to get to. There simply is no way to diligently serve the people in that regard. So we declined.
We’re still seeking connections here. Our coworkers live in different areas, so none are close to where we are (a disadvantage of a big metropolitan area). Thank God my husband and I are best friends, and can rely on each other.
Our kids feel at odds in their new school, and are struggling to fit into a group of kids that has established friendships.
Our schedule is amazing. Perhaps that’s not quite the word I’m looking for, so let me describe it. Ian and I get up at 4:45 a.m. to get him out the door by about 5:50 a.m. I’m on the clock for work at 6:30 a.m., while I wait for our kids to get up and get ready for the day. The four of us leave the house about 7:55 a.m.; they walk and I drive to Seattle. I arrive in the office about 8:30 a.m. We all do our thing: work and school. If we’re lucky, Ian leaves work at 3:45 p.m., I leave work at 4:30 p.m., and we both arrive in Bellevue (hopefully by 5:30 p.m.!). Pick up kids. Come home, make dinner, do some activity, and get the kids to bed by 7:30 p.m. Work on homework or whatever else we have to do, and crash by 8:45 p.m., only to repeat.
I look at this life and wonder, what did we do? We have so much to be thankful for, but I struggle with the dichotomy between where we were and where we are. Two different lives.
It reminds me of another place in our lives: the fall of 2002. I had learned just a couple months previously that I was expecting twins. We couldn’t stay in California due to the high costs, so we made the decision to pack up and move ” back home” to Spokane. And when we arrived, we were in a similar situation to where we now find ourselves. That was one of the most difficult periods of my life. There were nights that Ian and I just hung on to each other and cried. Here, in 2011, I wouldn’t quite say I’ve hit that wall. But I’m asking God a lot of questions such as why, for what, and what next?
This summer, we led our college kids through a video series about being in the great unknown. It featured an explorer on his quest to cross Antarctica unsupported. Through howling winds, freezing temperatures and loneliness, he also cried out to God. And the answer he received is an answer I’ve had running through my head this entire adventure:
I have brought you to this place for a reason.
And we know God is good. So I turn to His promises. Isaiah 55:8-15. Jeremiah 29:11. We don’t yet know what God has in store for us. We don’t know if this is His long-term plan, or a stepping stone. But we can rely on Him to fulfill His purpose for us.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I’m reading a book on contentment. In that book is a tea cup analogy. God has designed us each as a very special cup. Some of us are dainty and beautiful tea cups. Some are rugged and sturdy. Some are chipped around the edges. But regardless of what kind of cup He has designed us to be, God fills our cup with our portion — what He determines as best for us. The words of the section ring so true:
“Every cup — whether dainty china or rough-hewn pottery — has a handle. God has placed our portion in our cup. We either choose to grasp is by the handle and life it to Him, saying, ‘I accept my portion; I accept this cup,’ or we choose to smash our cup to pieces, saying, ‘God, I refuse my portion. This cup is not the right size for me and I don’t like what you’ve put in it. I’ll control my life myself.'”
Contentment is accepting God’s sovereign control over all of life’s circumstances. And today, I relinquish control knowing that I certainly have no idea and no way to get through it other than by relying on God.
Today’s list of thankfulness:
- A great evening with my children.
- Flu shots.
- Seeing the stars above the city’s skyline.
- Heat, which we generally take for granted.
- A new, exciting and challenging job for me.
- A great job for Ian that allows him to interact with coworkers daily and be challenged.
- A break from the insanity of our schedules last year, which does give us time as family every single day.