God gave all men all earth to love,
But, since our hearts are small
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all
- Rudyard Kipling "Sussex"
Sometimes your heart and soul finds a home in a place and it doesn't let you go.
SoCal is our place, beloved over all. I've never understood a "theology of place" before leaving the place where our heart is at home. The moment we left, we felt it. These last 2 years have been so very difficult for Brian and I, and it's been incredibly hard for our kiddos. For lots of reasons, these last couple years have not been what we'd hoped for. And our souls have ached for SoCal. Every time I've flown into SoCal, there's been a visceral shift in my spirit as my plane has descended into LA/OC: HOME.
These last couple years have also been a gift. We've been able to spend meaningful, memorable time with family during special events and key life moments. We've been able to spread out in a home that's been a sanctuary, a refuge in what's felt like exile. We've been close to dear friends in Chicago and celebrated some important life-changing events with them. Brian's discovered another layer to his creativity in landscaping and design work. We've worked hard to cultivate #littlelights (check my Instagram for proof!) to battle our disappointment. I've gained a couple dear friends who are soul friends for life....they've practically kept me alive and sane! Our church has been a spiritual reset in our Church journey; I've served in incredibly simple yet profound ways that have deeply restored me.
In it all, we've fought to see where God is for us now and in the future. We've searched for the "what and why" in being here. We've engaged, lead, served, participated as best we can. We've never been victims. We've made conscious choices along the way to be healthy and honest in the midst of our perceived exile. It has been exhausting work, friends. We've fought for the little things. We've realized that a whole-hearted life cannot be built on little lights.
This last fall Brian and I began an intentional conversation about what a move to SoCal again would look like. What would that mean?? Those conversations lead us deeper into dreams, desires, and value articulation for what we are committed to in our family's future. True to form, Brian and I were exactly on the same page. Vision was coming back. Passion was resurfacing. Clarity came. Gazelle intensity was re-discovered.
The months rolled on and we got a surprise a month ago during the week leading up to Palm Sunday. I was preaching at our church and we got a horrific, unexpected tax bill. We freaked out. But that low allowed us the space to reveal that NOW was a perfect storm kind of time to sell our home here. "What the enemy intended for evil, God intended for good" burst into my thinking (Genesis 50:20). We explored the possibility for a couple weeks, talked with our kids, and sought some wise counsel. And then we pulled the trigger....
We are moving forward
- not back - to California!!!
WHAT WE TALKED WITH OUR KIDS ABOUT...
When this opportunity became a viable possibility, we decided to invite our kids along for the journey. We told them that while mommy and daddy would be making the best decision for our family, we wanted to share with them what we sensed God doing. So we told them. And we asked them to promise 3 things:
- We would pray together as a family about what God most wanted for our family.
- We would tell each other everything we are thinking and feeling about moving to California again. <This was huge because the move here was so.very.hard for them. This time, we wanted them to have an investment in this move.>
- We would keep this a family secret for now. <We didn't want them running to school the next day telling everyone, "WE ARE MOVING TO CALIFORNIA!" Nope....we wanted to invite them early on into the process. Asher was dying to tell our neighbor friend after preschool the next day (I HAVE A SECRET!! It sounds like "CA, CA, CA"), but we've kept it under wraps pretty well! ;0 >
WHAT'S ALL THIS MEAN!?!?
- May 22 - our house goes on the market. It's expected to be sold within a few days! The housing market here is unlike anything over the last 15-20 years!! Only God.
- Late June/Early July - We anticipate closing on our house.
- Early July - We will hopefully make the cross-country trip to the OC.
This means that we are choosing to move forward with our lives. We've been intentional to say that we're moving forward to CA. We're not moving back to CA. We are different. Our community is still there but they are different. Our kids are older. We are not moving out of nostalgia but out of a calling to a place.
Practically speaking...we need your help and prayers!!!
- I can do my work from anywhere, and I'll continue coaching, speaking, and writing from SoCal.
- Brian will look for a job after the kids get into school this fall. Connections? Job possibilities? Ideas? We are praying for work Brian loves in a place that's more than a paycheck.
- We are looking for housing! We'll rent for a couple years, so we'd love our community to partner with us in this search.
- There are a bazillion details (precisely) that need to be figured out -- from financial decisions, to what to do with our puppy, to how and what we'll move across the country, to renting a home that fits our needs and budget, to bringing closure to IN, to all the other itty bitty details involved with a family of five's cross country move.
We need help. And provision. And connection. We need blessing.
This move is SCARY because this move didn't go according to plan. We are moving because our hearts are in SoCal...even our kiddos' hearts. And that's enough. God's hand has lead us to this decision, but it's still a step of faith. All the details are NOT laid out yet, but we have what we need for today and the next step. Isn't that what faith is?!?!
All moves are hard. All transitions equate to some loss. And yet, we are committed to living by our values and in obedience. This move reflects them both. Never easy. Always demanding our next level. Forever expectant for God to do what only he can do! We are paying attention to our longings because we believe they are given to us by the God of the Universe and they are meant for good for us and the world.
Wrapping this story up until now...it's funny. In the midst of all this, Asher has been O B S E S S E D with Moana. In this sweet obsession, he's been singing this song on R E P E A T and it's become a bit of an anthem for us. It's felt like our littlest has been a bit of an affirmative prophet for us in moments of fear and trepidation. Take a listen. It's our heart...