I always wonder who actually reads my blog and if anyone cares (I don't say that to have people tell me how much they love following me by the way), but I am reminded that this blog helps me keep up with life's events. I started journaling in the 8th grade and I have continued this practice nearly daily the past 12 years. This blog serves as another means to my journal entries.
Going with the title of this post, I hope readers will find my heart transparent. A lot of what I type are memories and life to share with family and friends. However, I also believe as a Christian, we need to be real with one another. I know I have been most comforted when other people have shared their stories with me, and as Pastor Mike used to say at PC3, "Live life together." With that said, I would like to share what the last 12 months has looked like for me.
In April of 2011 (1 short month after Jude's birth), Justin accepted a PhD position at Clemson University in near Greenville, SC. Though I was sad to say good bye to Auburn, as it has become a home to us, I was thankful to stay in the South and to become closer to family; a mere 1.5 hours from Justin's family and less than 3 hours from my own. My heart was filled with joy and excitement with the opportunity to move closer as we had expanded our family. I had begun interviews and we had gone house hunting with a realtor. We were moving to South Carolina. Then, 6 short weeks after this decision, Justin's professor told him plans had changed and it looked like we were needing to move to the research site, which was located in Arizona.
Oh, I was mad. I was bitter. I refused to go. I did not want to move to Arizona, 2000 miles away from everything I knew. Thankfully, I was offered a 3 jobs in AZ before I was ever offered anything in SC. We found a place to rent and things seemed to fall into place. Though my desire to move to AZ really ever changed, I knew I needed to be obedient to my husband and trust him to trust Him in the leading of our family.
In July, about 15 guys from our Sunday School classed met out our home on Dumas Dr. in Auburn to load up the Uhaul. Within an hour, our things were loaded and we were ready to officially move west. As I hugged our neighbors, Dr. Davis and his wife, as well as one of my best friend's Emily, I began to cry and my emotions took over. I'm pretty sure I cried all the way to the Mississippi state line.
3 days later we arrived at our new home. We were staying in a home that had the dirtiest carpet I'd ever seen and I refused to live there while my son learned to crawl. It smelled funny and the bathroom (the only bathroom) was so small, you could not open the cabinet under the sink all the way because it hit the toilet. However, when sitting in bed those first few weeks, crying and pleading with God to please make this season go by quickly, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the small things; a home, a job, a healthy son, and frequent flyer miles.
Over the next several months, a lot changed for me emotionally and spiritually. I know I had a group of women located all over the South (mostly in Auburn and in NC) praying over my heart and my marriage. There were days I could sense a peace and a certain hope and then I'd check my email to find a random email from a friend saying, "You're on my mind today. Praying for you." Talk about the power of those small prayers. Well, is any prayer really small? I was given the advice from a wise friend "Sometimes, when there is no one else, the only person to turn to is God."
Being a social being, thriving off of "girl time", I had to learn to find my time with God and with Justin enough, especially my time with God. I also began to relish in the small moments with Jude, that I think I would have taken more for granted if we were any where else. I embraced a lot of quiet walks and I can say that God has moved mountains in mine and Justin's marriage. There were more mean words spoken and irrational moments in this past year than I care to admit, but man how God's grace has covered us!
I have learned a lot about being content and have become much more grateful for the small things, like funding at my job, supportive parents, girl friends, and sweet tea. I am more aware of my many blessings! I just have to brag on God on a few of these:
1.) We bought a home, sold it in 7 months, and made a decent profit
2.) Sold Justin's work truck
3.) Sold my car in literally 3 minutes to upgrade to a small SUV (and still don't have a car payment)
4.) Found 2 wonderful Christian baby sitters for Jude
5.) Found a sweet, small church to grow in and be loved on
6.) a few Christian friends along the way to share in our journey in AZ
7.) Lots of visits from family and friends
Ok, onto the next step...around mid-January, we realized that Justin's position as a PhD student at Clemson was not working. There are several tiny details I won't delve into, but we knew that God was showing us another path. We quickly began praying about where we needed to go and even questioned, why move us here for such a short time? I watched my husband struggle with leading us and I was struggling with being submissive. Again, the Lord graciously covered us and allowed us to go to Him for strength.
As Justin began applying to other positions and jobs, we narrowed it down to 2: a PhD position at the University of Washington in Seattle or as a Biologist in Wilmington, NC. Ok y'all, to dreery timbucktoo or to my favorite place on Earth? We prayed specifically for God to open and close doors to and move in our hearts concerning this situation. After about 6 weeks, I had been offered a job at a school district in Seattle that is ranked in the top 25 systems in the nation and Justin has been turned down for the job in Wilmington. Door closed for him, one opened for me, in opposite places...God? We also took a visit to Seattle and I had prayed that God would either grant me peace or solidify me heart on not wanting to go. To my ever so fiesty spirit, my heart was overwhelmed with peace during that weekend. We met several Christians while there, saw the beauty of the city, and God definitely asked me gently, "Please trust me child."
Since that time, we've been making arrangements for yet another move. I hope that this short season in AZ has allowed me the opportunity to do some good in the lives of my students here and in the community. And, I also have faith that God will continue to be ever so faithful in the details of our lives as we move to Seattle. Over the last 7 months, I've seen my parents more than I ever did while living in Auburn. Though our plane tickets are now a huge part of our monthly budget, He is faithful to provide this for our family.
I don't know if I will ever have an answer to some of the "why's" and I don't think I'm owed that. God is good and He is sovereign. His faithfulness amazes me and I am so grateful to serve a mighty God who calls me His. Though I have had a very "dry" season in the last year, God has still produced much fruit and I am so thankful!
God works all things for good for those who love Him...Romans 8:28