Yeah, I meant to post this months ago. Yes…MONTHS. Ago. Oh well, here is the long and short of our move back to Iowa!…
If you see us on Facebook or Twitter, then you probably know that we are, within a few days, moving back to the Great Midwest. We’ve had quite a few questions about the who, what, why and when, so I thought I’d fill you in a bit on the crazy turn our lives have taken, a story, I believe that only God could write.
One morning, back in March, Nathan’s phone rang early in the morning and it was someone we knew from Cornerstone in Iowa. We weren’t up yet so Nathan didn’t answer it, but mentioned that it was from Mike. I jokingly said “He’s probably calling to offer you a job”. Nathan shrugged my statement off because we both KNEW that Cornerstone wouldn’t be calling about a job. Later that day we discovered that he was, in fact, calling about a job and we soon found ourselves flying back to Iowa for Nathan to candidate for a position at our old stomping grounds.
We had been in California for a little over three years. It probably isn’t that surprising to hear me say, if you know me at all, that these past three years have been difficult for us, for a number of reasons that aren’t particularly blogworthy. Suffice it to say, however, that God had completely deconstructed almost every facet of our lives that was familiar and was rebuilding us. I would talk to friends and family from home, see people’s lives online and weep for the simplicity and sweetness that seemed to encompass their lives compared to the difficulty we were facing. By Christmas 2011, we returned to California from Iowa and for the first time, I felt legitimately surrendered to the life God had provided us here, even with all of it’s difficulty. And bonus! I was excited about the possibilities that life in California had provided us. Life here had changed us and we were beginning to feel better suited for ministry here.
So when that phone call came in March I felt a bit deflated and protective over our life here. These three and a half years had been fought for with blood, sweat and tears. We had worked hard in our marriage, faith, jobs and friendships to get where we were. After returning from Nathan’s interview we talked it over, prayed and lost sleep considering the possibilities. In the end, we couldn’t escape the incredible opportunity that lay before Nathan and God opening that door for us was undeniable. With two weeks we had someone to cover our lease, saving us thousands and thousands of dollars. We made the crazy decision to buy a house that we’d never seen, but was purchased on the confidence of our realtor and parents who had seen it.
As we spent our last night in our apartment, I laid in bed thinking about all that we’d been through these last three years. Three years is barely a blip on the time scale. Barely enough time to call a place home. I remembered how we left Iowa the day after our wedding, to cross 1,800 miles of landscape to reach California. How we didn’t even make it 100 miles before we had to pull over because we were both weeping over what were leaving and what we were heading into. I remember having no idea how to communicate with my husband, now the only person and friend I had within a couple thousand miles, that I was sad, or why I was sad or why I was struggling. I remembered difficult days with Nathan’s job and not knowing how to handle the situation or how to encourage him. I remembered not being able to see God working and changing us on a day-to-day basis and feeling like we were failing at every turn.
With this move has come incredible clarity and understanding of what our Father was doing in us and I’m sure we’ll process that for years to come. We came to California with a 3-day old marriage and few belongings. We leave California in a few days with a 24 foot truck FILLED with all of our belongings, a sweet and gregarious baby boy, a marriage that has weathered storms that at times I believed would sink us, and a faith that has endured, and with friendships that have become like family. I’ve seen my husband grow and develop in character in ways that I never imagined. I’ve learned that sometimes the strength of our faith isn’t measured in how great you are at following every letter of the law, but simply that it has endured and held you fast when the waves continued to roll in and press you against the rock. That if you were still standing by morning, though tattered and bruised, that God could still look at you and be pleased. I don’t leave California with any amazing spiritual or theological revelations, but I leave seeing that He has provided for our every need, that He alone can change your heart and cause you to love a place and a people that in many ways do not feel like your own, and that Jesus is a strong tie to our heart strings. He is not some cute little god we put in our pocket to make us feel better, but He is mighty, consistent, and gracious to all who call on Him.