Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our next adventure

Wow so a lot has been in the works over the last few months and it's exciting to finally get to share our next adventure.  God has been preparing the path for awhile now but we're excited to begin to walk on it beginning August 5th.  Here's the story:

Back in 2003, Pete felt God tell him that one day him and my brother in law Brandon would someday work together planting a church (they went to college together and were good friends even before they married sisters).  He had no clue when or where that would happen but felt like it was something that God had placed in his heart.  His dream.  His life ministry desire.  His calling.  When we were engaged and in the early days of our marriage we talked about it and what it would look like.  But at that point it was something in the future.  Brandon and Jamie (my sister) were in full time ministry in Bloomington, IL and Pete and I were in full time ministry here in Wichita.  We felt no leading to leave until God made it very clear that the time was right.

Brandon and Jamie had been talking about moving to Louisville, KY to start ministry at the church where my parents are at - Southeast Christian Church.  Brandon was in the middle of the interview process and it was definitely moving forward.  They had planned a trip out to San Diego to visit some friends and see what potential was out there.  When they arrived back home we heard the unexpected - they loved it.  I remember telling Jamie before they went out there that I couldn't see them moving all the way out there and how far away it was from family and everything we've always known.

After a couple more trips back to San Diego, it was confirmed.  God had called Brandon, Jamie, Elyse and their new baby to San Diego to plant a church.  Holy smokes.  Not only was this news crazy for our family knowing that they would be so far away from us, but even bigger thoughts started pouring into the conversations for Pete and I.  Is this it? Do we want to be apart of this?  Are we willing to uproot everything and move to the MOST expensive city in the US?  Do we want to be that far away from our family?  And most importantly, is this what God has for OUR family as well?  The wheels started spinning and we started praying immensely about what this decision would mean for us.  It was scary to think about it and what it would look like...but at the same time....beyond thrilling!

It was confirmed for us as well and we committed to help be apart of the launch of this new church.  Pete knew as soon as Brandon and Jamie said that's what they were doing that this was the fulfillment of what he heard God say to him years ago.  He knew that we would be moving to San Diego to plant a church but we still wanted to make sure that the time was right and it was a wise decision for our family.  Now to work out the details.

The church isn't set to launch until September of 2013 so we knew that we still had a good year left in Wichita before making the move.  That was okay at that point because I needed some time to adjust to the idea and the reality of what life would look like living in a box on the beach.  :)  As we started to talk through things Pete's schooling was one of the issues that we were trying to figure out.  He's about half way through his masters degree that he is going to Asbury Theological Seminary in KY.  Having to fly back for classes just didn't seem like a good idea and like it would be very expensive and leave me alone with the kids for some time.  As we were talking through the details, we decided that we were going to leave Wichita in January 2013 and move in with my parents for 5 months so Pete could go full time to school and get it out of the way.  Then we'd plan to move out to San Diego in May or June of 2013 and get settled before the launch of the church.

About a month or so ago, Pete was talking with his brother Ben and Ben was saying that we should seriously consider putting our house on the market now instead of in January because it just might not sell.  We could get a 6 month lease and then we'd at least not have the stress of trying to sell our house. If it hadn't sold by May we would be stuck and not be able to go out to San Diego.  We decided this was a good idea and met with 2 realtors.  After the 2nd one left, I had a break down and just the stress of showing our house with the 2 kids, the fact that we would barely make any money and the idea of moving 3 times was just exhausting to me.  On top of the fact that July is a very busy month for me with Thirty-One and I just didn't want to have to deal with all the packing and such.  I told Pete that we just needed to trust the Lord to sell our house in January and put it on the market after we leave.  That's what we decided to do.  Oh and we started praying we would sell it without a realtor as well so we'd at least have some money to walk away with.

Two weeks ago Pete came home from lunch and told me about this couple who he is marrying in September about how they were looking for a house.  He asked me if I thought he should say something to them.  I said go for it!  After a number of conversations and details worked out...they are buying our house...without a realtor!  Seriously, when that happened it was the biggest answer to prayer and burden lifted.  We couldn't believe it.  We drive in and out of our neighborhood every day and see these houses that have been for sale for months and here ours sold without a realtor in 1 day!  Talk about a God thing!!!!!  They needed to be in August 1 so we started looking for apartments.

After that was finalized, it only took a day for us to ask "Why are we waiting?"  We decided to see if Pete's classes would work out the same in the fall as in the spring semester and sure enough...they did.  Of course.  So after talking with my parents to see if surprise....we could move in with them in a MONTH rather than in January (haha) Pete told our Pastor and quit his job...AHH!

This is really happening!  So here we are, mid July and we're all of a sudden leaving Wichita much, much sooner than we anticipated!  It's crazy!!

The picture that I've had in my head for the last 6 months is that there have been so many puzzle pieces for this new adventure and they have been floating above our heads.  We knew they were there and had some place to fit in, but we just couldn't see how it was all going to come together in the end.  And then once our house sold and Pete's classes worked out and everything fell into place, I just feel like God took all the puzzle pieces and placed them in the right spot and laid out the complete puzzle in front of us.

There is NO DOUBT in my mind that this whole thing is a God thing.  Over the last many months I have been studying Exodus and just time and time (and time and time and time) again God has confirmed that this is the direction he has for our family.  As I've been processing and working through all the details for our move, God just last Thursday as I read the last chapter in Exodus gave me this verse: (40:36-38)

"In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; 37 but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels."

I truly believe that God has lifted his cloud in our lives and is moving it to San Diego.  If we were to stay here, we wouldn't be in God's will any longer.  So there is nothing that we can do other than to follow it.  And just like he promises at the end of that verse, that God will be with us throughout all our travels.  Yes, the process is tedious and very detailed with moving and storing stuff and buying houses and living with my parents and classes and travel with 2 kids....but as Exodus 3:12 and then again in 33:14 God tells Moses "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  God's presence is with us throughout this process and we are excited to see His provision in the details.

So there it is.  We're moving to San Diego.  Crazy.  Never in a million years thought that's where I'd "land" but quite honestly, it's not too shabby of a place to call home.  :)  (top 10 cities in the US to raise a family!)  The announcement was made at church this morning so the news is officially out.  Pray with us as the next few months are those of transition and uprooting and replanting in a brand new city.  We're excited to follow the cloud of God's Presence and praying for His presence to already begin to work in those of the lives that need Jesus there.