It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. And I’ve been struggling for days over what to write. I’ve decided I’m not going to write about the Zimmerman trial, even though it has been weighing heavily on my heart. For a thoughtful response you can see these entries: http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/07/why-im-encouraged-after-trayvon-martin.html OR http://brandonjobrien.com/?p=870
I’m not going to write about my usually happy toddler who is being terrorized by molars and is therefore turning the terror on innocent bystanders.
I’m not even going to write about how annoyed I get over complete strangers who read my husband’s blog and then feel the need to comment, not about the post, but about dear husband’s integrity. No, I wont write about that.
And I wont bore you with the weather. (though it is stinkin’ hot. Seriously).
Instead I thought I’d talk about our move. I know, you’re probably thinking those other topics sound far more interesting (except for the weather, that one’s never interesting). But I promise I’ll make this worth it. Seriously.
It would probably surprise you to know that this move to Conway was first suggested by me. This past Christmas we were here visiting family. After a lovely visit with dear friends to their church, I felt an overwhelming sense that this was not only a place we could afford to live, but was a place we could flourish. That, perhaps, this was the place God had been preparing us for. I know, it surprised me, too. So we talked in the car as we drove to each family stop. We talked when we got back and by mid-January we had made the decision.
You see, we had been feeling for quite some time that God was preparing us to leave Wheaton. We loved our 7 1/2 years there, but we just couldn’t shake that this was not permanent. But, when you’re husband’s a freelancer, it’s not a job that takes him to another city. It’s a family decision.
So in mid-January I told my pastor of our decision and we prepared to leave. We knew it would take quite a bit of coordination to make this move possible, so we gave ourselves 6 months to get all the details squared away. In February I told the rest of the staff. In March we announced it to the church. People were more gracious and encouraging than we could have asked for and most definitely more than we deserved. They generously expressed their sadness at our leaving, and their hope for what this next stage might bring.
We began to get more and more excited about what would come next. And we became more and more sad at what we were leaving behind. Bitter. Sweet. We had been blessed by a church family that welcomed us and enfolded us almost immediately. I had served on staff for 6 years and we had been members for just over 7. Brandon had been a deacon for the last several years. This family had walked with us through an incredibly hard four years as we waited for our first child. They had cried with us as we shared of our infertility. They rejoiced with us when we moved forward with adoption. They even got frustrated along with us as the process took longer than any of us expected. They wept with us at each close call that didn’t bring our baby. And they came around us with the great joy when we welcomed our James David home. Every time I dress him or see him play with his toys I am reminded of the generosity of this community. Friends, we are truly, truly blessed.
But God was calling us on. So, just over a week ago we packed up our belongings (again with the help of our community), we said goodbye to dear friends and we drove 13 hours to Conway.
Brandon was in the truck with the cat. I was in the car with the toddler. We joked beforehand that it was a toss up over whose trip would prove most difficult. Well, friends, I definitely won that battle. But we made it.
And it’s all sort of surreal. I have had my freakout moments over how much I miss our dear friends. It’s kind of hard to go from constant contact (text, email, phone calls) to almost nothing. I didn’t handle it so well.
After over 3 weeks of frequent babysitters and a house increasingly full of boxes, Jamie was struggling to adjust. We had lots of tears, tantrums and just plain crankiness.
And that’s the hard. But you want to know the good? We were greeted at our temporary apartment by family who helped unload those things we needed immediately. Then the next day a group met Brandon at the storage place to unload our entire truck. They were done within 30 minutes. Several came over to the apartment to help me unpack a few things. We had lunch with dear friends who now live just over an hour away. And we had dinner that night with new friends.
Within a week of being here we had met a whole host of people and Brandon has even spoken briefly at an evening Worship service. We have had dinner with another family and have several more appointments this week with new and old friends.
We are overwhelmed by God’s great provision. I’m still adjusting. Brandon is still adjusting. Jamie is still teething. But God is also still faithful. We are not only making it but we are thriving.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions. We don’t know yet exactly what our lives will look like long term. We’re looking for a long term place to live (and have a few encouraging leads) and we’re figuring out how this balance of life, ministry, publishing and academics really works. And I still have a class to plan for.
And, on our good days, we’re loving it. But, as much as we felt God leading us to this new place, we still miss the old. But, honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We know that it is such a blessing to have loved a community so deeply. I don’t think I would want to leave any other way.
And with that, I will make you this promise: I will blog at least once a week. You may not need it. But I do.
And now to change a dirty diaper.