Thursday, June 2, 2011

Go West, Young Man

Closing day at the old house (I just realized Mia isn't too happy)

I think it all started about a year ago. There was this vague feeling of uncomfortableness. We couldn't quite place our finger on it, but both Mark and I couldn't get comfortable where we were. We talked so many nights until midnight or later trying to figure it out ourselves -- and praying over it -- but we would come away often more confused than we started. It was a general feeling of unease that followed us around and crept into our day to day lives. It was distracting. It was tiring. We thought at first it was related to our own crappy attitudes, but even after a concerted effort to change that... it remained.

Then God began slowly moving our friends away. One family at a time were called to other places to do other things. I felt called to leave the dance studio which was gut wrenching. We began to feel like an island. So in addition to this uneasy, uncomfortable, discontented feeling, we began to add the feeling of loneliness.

It was during this time that we also lost Pumpernickel.

There was really no doubt that God was calling us to grow closer to Him.

Sometime around summer of last year, we began to feel called somewhere else. Where that "else" was, we weren't quite sure. But we were certain it was something God wanted. We believed it was Pearland, TX -- a city about 30 minutes from where we lived and 30 minutes from where Mark worked in Houston. It made so much logical sense -- Mark's hour-long drive would be cut in half. There would be greater opportunities for me and the girls if we chose to dive into homeschooling (that's a whole other post!) and everything was just so close and convenient without moving too far from family. Brilliant! Sign us up! Let's sell this house!

But, no. It wasn't right. It felt awkward. Like we were trying to force ourselves into a round hole when we were clearly square pegs. We took a break from pursuing Pearland and began praying. And that's when a seed began being planted in my mind...

That seed grew sometime in the fall. We came to visit friends in Austin and take in a Longhorn football game (Hook Em!). And for the first time in a very long time I breathed a sigh. It felt comfortable. And right. But, made absolutely NO sense, whatsoever. The feeling continued to grow when we visited The Austin Stone to see a friend play in the worship band. Strangely... he wasn't playing that day. But at some point during the worship my heart did a flip-flop.

We were being called here. I was sure.

We began podcasting. And praying. And praying some more. Nothing made sense to be moving here. There weren't jobs in Mark's line of work. It was more expensive -- too expensive. Our family wasn't there. By this time I was also pregnant. But it remained a thought and desire in my mind and began to grow in Mark's as well.

At the end of 2010 a friend of ours posted a list of questions to consider as the new year was starting. Questions about being obedient. About who we were earnestly praying to accept the Gospel message. About truly being stretched and grown. And about praying for God to do something "impossible."

We started praying through these. And decided to take a praying trip to Austin to see where God was directing us.

The rest, as they say, is history. While we were in Austin, Matt Carter, the main preacher at The Stone, was talking about Heaven and Hell. He mentioned that we have a choice to make -- are we going to live full-out for Christ, being radically obedient... or feel content to sit around and play church. Truly, we have no idea how many more days we have left on this earth... why not make in impression for the Gospel today?

It hit us. Realistically, if we live to be 70, we have 40ish years left. As fast as these 30 have gone... I imagine the next 40 will be just as fast. Or faster. What were we doing wasting our time when we knew what God wanted?

So. That was the where. But the how? That was the problem.

But Mark's amazing company said he could work from home in Austin. And continue in the same job. With the same amount of money... including just enough of a bump that made living in Austin possible. God paved the way.

And so we got our house ready to sell. And did it ever sell. Now, we lived in a market that was slow. 6-12 months was about average for a house to be on the market. We put ours up on Monday, February 21. We had our first showing Wednesday, February 23. An offer on Thursday, February 24. And all negotiations were done on Monday, February 28.

You read that right. Our house sold in a week. Our God is the God of impossible.

God was gracious and gave us a long period before out closing date (especially because sweet Micah was having surgery to have her tonsils removed!). And so, April 16th was our moving date. We were headed west.

We had a pretty specific list of things we needed in a house here in Austin and a smaller budget for their very busy rental market. And God provided it amazingly. The house we ended up renting was one that had been on our list from the beginning, but included absolutely no pictures. Until the day we were on our way to find a house. And it was exactly what we needed. And even includes several things we wanted. God is good.

So we're here. We love our house. We're getting plugged in with old friends and meeting new ones. We're starting to see where God is leading us in the mission of reaching Austin -- one of the most unreached cities in America. And it's exciting. Scary, yes. Daunting at times. But that uneasy feeling that had plagued us...

Has been replaced by a peace. We can't wait to see what He'll do next.


Michelle Parker said...

Ok. I get it now. I wanted so much for Pearland to be the right fit but you fit squarely and snuggly in Austin and were obviously guided there. I'm so happy for you!

Thanks for sharing your blog. It is inspiring to see people take chances and to hear witness of the truth that God does deliver just what you need, even when you are sure what that is!

charlotteL said...


Sharon said...

wow! What a God story! So exciting!

g+j said...

What I like most about this post, is that I like to think of it as a prologue to a story. Can't wait to hear what happens next!!

Lisa Richards said...

I know how much your family in Angleton must miss you. Two of my kids now live in Texas! But we all have to go where God leads and it sounds like you two put a lot of thought and prayer into this decision. Austin needs you! God bless your family as you follow Him! :)
Cousin Lisa