Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heading South

You know how in life it is very common to think to yourself "once (insert milestone here) happens, life will slow down".  I am so guilty of always trying to obtain that "thing" that will bring me more contentment.  God knows this.  Chris is the same way.  And we are married so you know the big man is going to hit this one hard.

And so he has!

Early last year, when I was about to pop with Lydia, Chris and I started rehashing an idea that had come up earlier in our marriage and shoved to the back burner when we moved to Des Moines from Chicago- the idea of Chris working as a faculty member at an optometry school.

Here is some background for you.  While he was in residency, Chris also taught/over saw students in the clinic environment as well as instructed in some labs.  Since residency, Chris has written and published several papers and given a handful of lectures.  Needless to say he has a passion and a true gift for teaching.

So this idea of Chris working for a school started popping up again.  We prayed on it but maybe not with as much intention as we should have.  We would talk about it, drop it, talk about it, drop it.  Then last fall, we realized we were just scared.  We had become comfortable with our new little family of 3, our social life, our jobs...just about everything and the fear of picking up everything and moving was keeping us investing in God's will- whatever it may be.

But we knew full well the promise Jesus provided for us in John 12:25:

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

So with much more earnest prayer, Chris sent resumes out to a few schools.  We were praying and trusting that God would make it abundantly clear what his will was for us.

The next morning Chris heard back from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis.  They wanted to do a phone interview with him, having 1 spot open in the exact department Chris would want to work in- ocular disease.  The end of September, Chris had his phone interview and by the middle of October we were in Memphis for an in person interview.

It happened fast and it happened easily but that is not to say I believe that God makes his will known through the path of least resistance.  Throughout the bible we are able to see just how hard the path which follows God can be.  From Abraham to the disciples- we have examples how difficult it really can be to seek the Lord's will.  The road maybe rough, but it is the only one without end.  I am not saying I know what it feels like to be persecuted in the least.  But, I do know that this impending decision would be extremely hard on our hearts, no matter how much things just happened to fall into place- which is precisely what happened.

I knew in the my heart they would love Chris and would see a very intelligent and passionate person and I had no doubt Chris would get the job.  The hard part to me was working through the "What is right for a our family?" thoughts.  Chris and I had thrown around pro after con and con after pro about any part of the situation.  It was daunting.

We truly enjoyed our time in Memphis and actually liked the area more than we thought we would.  I am not going to lie, the things I had heard about Memphis were not overly flattering but I my assumptions were wrong.  Just like any larger city, there are parts to try to stay away from but we lived in Chicago so are used to this idea.  As we drove around the suburbs and took in some of the sights, it became more and more a place I could see us living.  And I will tell you what, Lydia loved it!  Yes, yes I know she is a baby so how could she love a certain city?  Well, in true southern fashion, we couldn't walk by someone without them wanting to talk to our little girl and Lydia, being the flirt she is, just took it in with that little bashful smile I love.

The night before Chris' interview we went out to eat with some of the faculty members and it meant a lot to me they wanted me and Lydia to come too.  Chris fit right in with them all.  The next day during his interview, I was texting my brothers telling them to tell me it is okay if we move to Memphis.  With some big brother teasing thrown in there, they supported us 100%- just like I knew they would.  This support was needed because when I picked up Chris from his interview (it lasted all day), I could see in his eyes he liked what he saw.  The doctor he had done most of his interviewing with, Dr Reich, asked me if I wanted a tour of the school as well.  This again, scored points with me as it was made apparent Dr Reich knew this would be big for Lydia and me as well.

My sweet little lunch date during Daddy's interview


Less than a week later Chris was officially offered the job after being told it would probably be a couple weeks. All the details we needed to be met financially and benefits wise were there.  But, we decided to throw out the pro and con list and really try to focus on what God was telling us.  We could go all day long on what is best for our family but in the end, God knows and we knew we could trust Him not only to guide us, but to make His ways known.

With it being laid on his heart to do so, Chris accepted.  And with his signature on the dotted line, we officially made the hardest decision of our life.

Chris could start at anytime really, but they needed him at the latest July 1st.  If we didn't sell our house by then, we would have either had to rent it out from 10 hours away or just pay the mortgage while we continued to keep it on the market.  Shamefully, this was a huge stressor.  And I say shamefully because I am not sure how many times God needs to prove himself to us before we will know we do not need to worry about these things.

Chris had started finishing the basement earlier last year and just as the carpet was being put in, we put it on the market by owner.  We are so thankful for this timing as we knew selling houses with finished basements usually go easier.  However, we put our house up around Thanksgiving, the worst possible time to actually sell a house.  But prayed every night for a fast sell and tried to focus on all the other ways God had shown us he was blessing this move.  But as our human nature took over, we were disheartened without much interest through Christmas.  We had a couple showings, but that was it.  Houses started popping up for sale all over our neighborhood (odd considering it was December) with nearly our exact price and these were not FSBO so were advertised much more.  In an attempt to push aside my fears, I told Chris "well, the bigger the challenge, the more glory God gets".

The day after Christmas, barely 6 weeks after putting our house up for sale a couple who had looked earlier in the month called to say they sold their house and wanted to come look again.  Within 24 hours we had an agreed upon offer.  Whoa...

We were so incredibly thankful for this answered prayer of a fast sell and know it was further confirmation we were making the right choice.

So this February, Chris, Lydia and I are making our way from the corn fields of Iowa to Memphis, Tennessee to see what the Lord has planned for us there.  I am amazed at the things he continues to teach us, but I think what I am already learning more is that my contentment, my joy, is not to be found in anything in the world- but in Him alone.

My inner dialogue throughout this process has sounded like this: "I just wanted to know if we are staying or going, then I will feel better;  I just want to have someone look at our house, then I will feel better; I just want to sell our house; then I will feel better; I just want to get over the inspection; then I will feel better;  I just want closing to be over; then I will feel better."

It. Never. Ends.

And it never will if I keep placing something as heavy as my contentment and peace in the hands of something as fragile as this life and its ever changing circumstances.  Praise the Lord, I can go to Christ to fulfill these needs- my rock and redeemer.

I say this has been the hardest decision of our life but at the same time it has been one of the easiest as God has faithfully shown us the way and has been so good in our doubts and fear.  Because we know our future is safe with Him, we are excited to see what is to come!
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
And just because...the only other picture I took while in Memphis.  But more to come!

3 comments:

  1. You all will surely be missed!! So thankful our paths crossed in this life! Love you all and I'm excited to keep posted on your journeys!

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  2. Wow what a big change! Found you through instagram and am excited to see where this path takes you!

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  3. Loved this blog post! It really hit home for me as I just made a big move from Iowa to Colorado and I could relate to most of those feelings you had! Good luck in Memphis :)

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