**WARNING!*** THIS IS A LENGTHY POST, BUT IT'S FROM MY HEART ABOUT THE NEXT PHASE OF OUR LIVES SO GRAB A CUP OF JAVA, KICK BACK AND HANG OUT FOR A FEW :)
Okay. It's 4:40am and I'm awake. Sleep has been eluding me for the past 3 hours. I'm usually not one to stay in bed for more than an hour of sleeplessness, but I really gave it my best shot this time. After 3 hours, I decided I'd rather get up and face the day then continue attempting sleep.
I really like these early mornings, to be honest. I love the calm of a sleeping household, and the knowledge that I'm promised at least a couple of hours undisturbed. The coffee is brewing, and my soul is at peace. My mind, however, is racing.
I've been putting off writing this post for a few weeks now. Maybe I was in denial. Or maybe I was simply to lazy to take the time to write it down. Either way, the early morning and my tall cup of coffee have empowered me.
Here's a little background for those of you who may be newer here. I grew up in the northeast. New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. Not only am I a thoroughly east coast girl, I'm a true Yankee. Through and through. Bryan, although born in L.A., grew up in Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota. He's a mid-west boy all the way. We both went to college in Minneapolis at Bethany College of Missions. We lived in Minneapolis until this past October. Then we moved out here to Vermont to spend some time near my family.
Bryan and I have been in ministry for all but 7 months of our married life. That has also meant for us that we have lived in community for all but 7 months of our marriage. And for all but 11 months of our marriage, we have lived with other couples. That said, it's time for us to be on our own.
We have loved and cherished these past 2 months with my family. And, believe it or not, we loved community living before that. We have lived with two incredible couples (who were also our great friends), and also spent a month and a half with Bryan's family. But theres more to us wanting to be on our own than just needing our own space (which we do!)
When we were praying about this decision, I wrestled. Obviously, I wanted more time to be near my family. Especially with an international move in our near future (for those of you who don't know, my husband and I are preparing to go full time on the mission field as soon as we are fully funded--right now it looks like May or June will be when we can leave... see more at our website here!) But the more I began to think and pray, the more I realized that Bryan and I don't just want this time of living on our own, we desperately need it. We are looming on the edge of jumping into a much more involved form of ministry than we have ever done. We need a season set apart to build our family on the foundation of Christ. As I think about our marriage (will be 2 years in February!!) we are so young. And we were even younger when we got married (I was 18 and he was 22) Whenever we've had to make big decisions in the past, it seems like he gets on the phone with his parents, and I get on the phone with my parents and my sister. We need a season where we can grow closer as a couple (and as family!) to where we trust each other completely. Ministry has been so enriching to our lives, but it has also meant that we haven't had as much time simply for each other. Especially because the ministry we were doing was mentoring college students. Our lives were literally invaded. We had to fight to keep our marriage a priority. We desperately need a season to simply focus on US. US as a family, US as a couple, and US before God. Make sense?
So why Arizona? We have an opportunity to care take a house in Mesa. It's a blessing because obviously as we are raising support to go overseas, we do need to live relatively cheaply to be good stewards for the next season of our lives.
Do we know anyone in Arizona? Eek! No! Scary, right? We thought about this alot. Obviously it's hard to think about the fact of living out your last months in the States for a while in an unfamiliar place, but we realized that our marriage and our little family has to come first right now. We are doing what we believe God is leading us to do right now. It seems strange and even irrational to those around us, but we know that God will have His way in us! Praise Him!
We will be leaving next Sunday or Monday night (so about a week away!) We plan to road trip down there (which is fun because we've always wanted to take a cross country road trip!!) I am nervous about how Peyton will do with the long hours, but we spoke to her pediatrician and got some great advice for how to manage the jouney :)
We will get to stop in Ohio to stay with my beautiful sister Leigh and her husband Andy, and our gorgeous niece Norah Grace. Leigh & Andy are also our teammates for South Africa!!! Other than that we plan to just take our time, maybe stay in a hotel or two and just take a leisurely trip down there.
Please pray for me, readers! I'm a little scared, I have to admit. Going to a new place is always nerve-wracking, and especially to go to a place where you literally know NO ONE. But in a way, it's exciting to think that we will be starting fresh. It will be the first place for Bryan and I that's really ALL OUR OWN. I'm excited to make all those fun decisions with him, like what church to attend! I'm really excited to get plugged in with hopefully a Mom's Group and a ladies Bible study so that I can make friends quickly and surround myself with kindred spirits. Living in community for the past year and a half has made us appreciate the little things! We can't wait to do our own grocery shopping! To make our own decisions on which way to face the couch! To run our home the way that we want to instead of constantly adjusting to others! But God is good, and I don't regret any season of my life!
Of course, in the midst of all this looking ahead, there are goodbyes that will have to be said. (Wow, that rhymed!) I can't lie and say that I'm not very sad to have to leave my family and my wonderful friends here in Vermont. Goodbyes are NEVER easy. I hate them more and more the more I have to say them. I wake up at night and just cry about how difficult it will be to watch my parents say goodbye to Peyton, their granddaughter who loves them SO much. I hate it. I hate that the ones I love have to be so spread apart. Why does life have to separate us from the people we love? My only consolation is that I know that my loved ones will share eternity with me in the presence of our loving Savior who gave us that love for one another. Someday... Someday.... someday there will be no more goodbyes.
Let me know what you all think... I would so appreciate your prayers as I step forward into this season. I have fears, excitements, sadness and a whole slew of unknowns. Any prayer and/or encouragement would be so hugely appreciated.
Thanks for listening.... and thanks for enduring through this very long post... You are all close to my heart.