Over the past year we have been weighing the decision of whether or not to move to the east coast for my husband's job (you can read more about it here). There were a variety of reasons why the decision was such a lengthy process, much beyond our control. But after talking, praying, waiting, and then more talking, we finally had to come to a decision by the beginning of May.
While we were actively participating in the decision making process, we both felt like we were dragging our feet when it came down to making a final decision. The weekend before my husband had to give an answer, I was already heading off for a weekend away at a women's retreat with our church. While I would have liked to have been home for us to overthink and debate our move decision even more, I was already committed to being away. So we decided that we needed to sit down and pray and then go our separate ways for the weekend to clear our hearts and heads. We would then come together, when I came home, to make our final decision.
Long story short, I was a hot mess all weekend. Sleeping in a camp bed while pregnant, eating off my normal schedule with food prepared by someone else, and trying to hold myself together for the sake of spending time with other women while holding this life changing decision to myself - made for a very uncomfortable and emotional few days.
It has been quite a few years since I have been to any type of retreat or camp, but the flooding of memories of those summers years ago all started coming back. There is something about being away in the wilderness that forces me to stop and acknowledge how the Lord is trying to speak to me. I sat in the back of each teaching session to put my swollen feet up but instead it ended up being a safe place for the tears to stream as I was overwhelmingly moved and challenged by trusting God with our future. Each song and message were such clear reminders that it was time for me to let go of control and relinquish my trust to the Lord.
The message for the weekend was surrounded around the story of Ruth and how she chose to die to self in order to bring life to others. The speaker touched upon what to do when your world gets turned upside down and the concept of suffering as a loss of a dream. And that it is through suffering that we are forced to rely on God.
While I would not necessarily consider some of these things as dreams, I had a lot of assumptions of what life would be like once we had our first child. We have both sets of grandparents within ten minutes of our home and I have thought about raising our child while continuing to care for my nephews. Though having our first child would come with it's own challenges, there were aspects that seemed so easy knowing we had so much family support right there with us.
Moving across the country would take this all away. Sure our family would still be supportive, but in a very different and distant way. Never would I have thought of being so far away from our family. Besides joking that one day we would move to Paris, I was pretty set in staying right where we are (even in this very house) for the rest of our lives.
So I began to see that a lot of my heartache that I was feeling about moving was mourning a life that I, for so many years, felt so sure about. Sure there were aspects of adventure and how bonding this time could be for our new family of three. But honestly I was so afraid of having to do this new job of parenting alone that I was choosing to trust in my own will instead of God's.
As I thought about the past six and a half years of marriage, I was reminded of the dreams I have been able to live out. Being at home while Brent has provided for our family has allowed me to pursue creative endeavors like blogging and photography. It gave me the opportunity to leave my job of substitute teaching to watch my nephews. I have had the time to really figure out and understand my passions and purpose I believe I have as a woman. And all of these things were given to me by a husband who gave me the gift of time.
And so just like in Ruth's story, God shines when people give up their life for someone else. While Brent has allowed my dreams to come true all these years, it was time for me to give up some of my needs and step into an uncertain future so that he might have the opportunity to live out his dreams instead.
So on the final night of our retreat, I dragged my camping chair, a box of tissues, and my journal down to the pond to spend some quiet time alone. I sobbed like a baby and came to some conclusions.
It was time for me to do this for Brent. I needed to be brave for his sake. To show him love through this decision and to let go of some of my dreams so he can have his. It was okay to grieve. But I needed to grieve and move on. The only thing at this point that was keeping us from moving was me. I needed to step out in faith in obeying God's call for us to move even though I didn't want to.
I desire that my husband has the opportunity to become the man that God created him to be and I know this move is a big part of that. I thought of our son and how I needed to be brave for his sake as well. That through his parent's actions he could learn what it looks like to walk in faith.
Obedience is action and I could no longer be passive. My unwillingness to trust God's plan was standing in the way of our family to step out in faith. This move is an opportunity for our family to refocus and to lay the foundation of the values our family holds. To prepare the legacy that begins with us and our son as we focus to put God first, our family second, and everything else third.
Besides that, through this entire process Brent and I have gained so much more depth in our marriage by being forced to make this decision together. If we never had to go through this, there are aspects of our marriage that we may never know. Our relationship is already different because of it and I believe that our relationship will only continue to grow by taking this leap together.
And so as you can imagine, when I came home I was willing to make the move. I shared my heart with Brent and all that came through our time away and he was in complete agreement. And so the next day, he went to work and accepted the offer.
Originally the plan was to move in April but because the process was so drawn out, we didn't even commit to the move until May. With the baby being due in early July, our move date will instead be sometime in the fall. While having to endure this decision making process for so long has been hard, we are grateful that time was stalled just enough where we could go through this entire pregnancy and the birth of our son in our hometown with our family around. I know it will be hard to leave but I am grateful for the time and memories we get to have with our family during this time.
My husband's job is a program move - they are taking his program and the existing jobs and moving it to their location in Virginia. This is a great opportunity for his career and we hope a wonderful experience for our family. His role is to help move and get the program running in Virginia, with intentions that we would eventually move back to Sacramento in a few years. Obviously we do not know how this move will change our future and what we call home, but for the time being we are choosing to keep our home in Sacramento and rent it out with plans that we would eventually move back to be close to our family.
There are a lot of uncertainties that come in the next few months - having our first child and then moving across the country only months later. I'll admit that sometimes I just want to stop time and live in the right now where it is just Brent and I in our familiar little home. But luckily I am not the one in control of time and our baby boy will be here before we know it. We will be making a new home for our family in Virginia and life will play out in surprisingly beautiful ways.
"Walking by faith means being willing not to know, never to know why or how things happen the way they do, and to be willing to release my tight hold on the big finish I thought would come."
-Emily Freeman, Simply Tuesday
God doesn't expect me to make perfect decisions. But instead to simply walk in faith. There are so many pros and cons to leaving versus staying yet only one act of obedience. We choose to pray and obey. And so we go, knowing that what is ahead, is right where we are supposed to be.