This morning we stood before the congregation and announced the next steps for our family, including a move to Oregon in June. Pastor Brad broke the news before us, explaining that the couple kids fresh from UCLA four and a half years ago were continuing their adventure by moving to the mainland. It was surreal hearing him talk about when we first got here, and I pictured us all fresh and opinionated and a little bit cocky, like college kids are.
Can’t say we’re leaving the same, praise God. The two kids we’ve added to our family are only parts of our transformation over the past season.
I have been and will continue to process this move in its many layers for some time.
When Claire was born and I went back to work full time I started to panic a bit. The only thing I had control over was how clean my house was and when I let it go I began to unravel. Now that we have two walking finger food eaters who would really just like to play all day thankyouverymuch, our time and energy is being pushed and pulled and the house is never as clean as I’d like it to be. I began to notice my heart was divided at home. During “working hours” I felt guilty if I was parenting and if I was parenting I felt guilty for not working. Every. Day.
At the time, the church was also incredibly divided and unhealthy and was killing our souls one division after another. The combination of an unhealthy church and an unhealthy working situation caused JD and I to start praying. We knew something had to change and weren’t sure what that would look like. We looked at CA and HI first. In both places we didn’t feel a sense of calling, even though I think we wanted to. I’d sometimes morph an excitement about a place and “hope” that maybe just maybe we were being called to northern California or perhaps southern, and then maybe things will work out in Hawaii… somehow…
And then the call.
There’s always a call, or an email, or job opening that looks to be in bold print or a friend who knows someone who does this one thing… JD got a phone call from his Young Life leader in high school about some possibilities in JD’s hometown, Keizer, OR. To be super honest, we weren’t considering OR at this point, though it was beginning to creep into our minds because, well, nothing else was fitting and we have family there (for you Oregonians – JD just kept saying, “you just have to commit to that rain…”). In college I really wanted to live in the Northwest and was stoked to marry a boy who grew up in Oregon because that at least meant lots of visits. When we first job searched we looked in Oregon and Washington and ended up in Hawaii, which we called our “tropical northwest.” It is, in many ways. Just replace the gray skies with sunshine and place everyone in board shorts and sundresses and WA LA! Tropical northwest. Or something like that (my friend Megan is shaking her head in disagreement right now).
Long story a little bit longer:
Faith Baptist Church got healthy. People left, and whether or not you are a person who left or stayed, there is a notable difference at Faith and that difference is unity. There are people who left the church that we love dearly. Dearly. Don’t misunderstand me – they are not bad people who don’t love God. There just needed to be separation for unity and health to happen.
Faith got healthy but our situation got harder. I was popping in two movies a day and struggling to nurture my children while writing lessons, emailing, hanging out with teens, making calendars, planning events, studying, praying, and attending meetings. My wee ones were getting neglected and my heart broke.
I began praying about whether I should continue to work – at least right now – and as I prayed my heart swelled for my kiddos. In the middle of teaching 20 students an image of my girls popped in my mind and a sense of longing grew in me. I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss their tender hearts learning the alphabet and shapes and crawling into my lap when they’re scared. They are only babies for so long.
And so even though I had polished up my resume, I put it aside and let JD pursue job opportunities for himself. Three churches were pursuing him in his hometown, and one became a clear fit. We visited while in OR a few months ago and I cried the whole service because it was so beautiful and healing and the pastor was tender and honest and kissed our girls (so does our current pastor, btw – and this was before Faith underwent a split) and I sort of pleaded with God that if this wasn’t the church, that one like it would want us.
Just about a month ago or so JD accepted the job and we bought a plane ticket. There were lots of things that weren’t clear to us at that time, and to be honest, still aren’t. It’s only a part time job w/out benefits because it is a young church. There is conversation about some possibilities and partnerships, but for now, we only know of the one job. In the midst of uncertainty and fear and confusion, we both felt we were supposed to take two action steps: 1st – buy the one way tickets and 2nd – accept the job if/when offered. In that order.
We bought some tickets at an insanely affordable price for June 16. Movers come June 13. Job accepted. This is happening.
The weeks creep along slowly and with each day comes sadness for what we’re leaving as well as an increasing excitement for what lies ahead.
As I mentioned earlier, there are layers to this move. I hope to write about what we’re processing a bit on the blog and hopefully more in a Word document as part of a writing project I’ve given myself. Because, you see, even though I’m going to stay at home, I’ve got an itch that I need to scratch and it will require daily hours of discipline at my computer with the internet turned off when kiddos are sleeping. In my mind I picture a desk facing a rainy window with a vintage blue typewriter on its top and a vase with a single flower next to a cup of coffee, fingers posed on my laptop. I might never publish anything or even really finish it, but I want to write. There’s a lot swirling around and I never really grab hold of any of it unless I write it down. I know many people who are this way, and I am one of them.
If you are reading this and live in Hawaii, we love you. We’re sad to leave you. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you are reading this and live on the mainland, I hope we’ll get to connect soon, because we’ve missed you.