It seems like for over a year now, our family has been in transition. First, we walked through the slow process of pregnancy with Alisa. Nine months of surprises and unexpected complications brought us to a sweet ending at her birth. We brought home our sweet-smelling, pink baby girl with fuzzy blonde hair last November, and we began to adjust to life as a family of four. Those early months of her life were filled with joy over her life, grief over her diagnosis, and concern over her health. I have already stored up in my heart many treasured memories from that time.
Not too many months into her life, though, we felt God calling us to open our home to another foster child. We had placed our home as inactive throughout my pregnancy, so we did what was necessary to reopen our home again for fostering. Early in March, we received the call we had anticipated: a little two-year old boy needed a home, a family. We talked it over, prayed with our then 4-year old, and decided it was the right time to say “yes.” Our little buddy showed up smiling and barely talking that early spring night, and our new transition came as we began adjusting to life as a family of five.
We live in an older, larger two-story home, and I can honestly tell you that while I have thoroughly enjoyed our time here, we knew in early spring that we needed to find a smaller one-story home for our family. Suffice it to say, it is a lot of work keeping up with three young children in a two-story house, and I was tired! So without much of a plan, we put our home on the market, and thus began another season of transition. We went through the process of many showings, and pretty quickly, we secured a contract on our home. Unfortunately, the buyer backed out of that contract, and we began again the process of showing and waiting. Not too long after, though, we entered into a contingent contract with our buyer. Her home secured a contract fairly quickly, and our closing date was set for mid-June.
That season of transition was very crazy. In the midst of trying to decide if we should by or rent next, I was busy with many doctors, specialists, and therapy appointments for Alisa and our foster son. On top of that, packing with three young children underfoot is almost an impossible task! We finally settled on a home to rent until we found the home we wanted to buy, and our closing date approached. However, the day before our closing, just one hour before we were to sign the lease on our rental home, the couple who was to purchase our buyer’s home — so that she could then buy our home — breeched their contract and backed out completely! Everyone was baffled, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
There is an important detail to it all, though. That very same day we were to sign the lease, my husband had received a phone call that morning about a job opening in another city. We had no idea what to do, as we were selling our home the next day and signing a year lease on a rental home. Little did we know that later that day, the sell of our home would come to an abrupt halt. Little did we know that the great frustration and upheaval of all of our plans would actually bring about a greater transition and a sweeter plan than what we could have ever imagined.
Now, here we are today, a little over five weeks removed from that frustrating time when our home did not sell. Tomorrow, we will be loading all of our earthly possessions into a moving truck, and we will be relocating to a new city, a new job, a new season of life.
This last transition is a huge one. We are leaving what has been our home for the last 6.5 years. Trey and I moved here in March 2010. Just the two of us, we could still taste the freshness of our newlywed days. We moved into the parsonage on a Saturday, and it snowed heavily that night. We walked across the street the next morning with snow crunching under our feet, and we were warmly welcomed by our new church family. It was our first church together, Trey’s first full-time ministry job as a married man.
A lot can happen in 6.5 years. We purchased our first pets, our dogs Pete and Dapple. We became parents, falling pregnant later that year with our firstborn daughter, Kate. We then endured many years of unexplained infertility. We bought our first home. We became foster parents, and the footprints of many little lives who have entered our home are now stamped forever on our hearts. We became pregnant again to our second-born daughter, and then we became special-needs parents.
The years have been full. We have laughed; we have cried; we have danced; we have mourned. We have buried loved ones. We have seen friends come and go. We have made mistakes; we have mended relationships. We have faced lifelong strongholds, battling them out before the Lord, and we have seen Him work healing wonders in our hearts.
I look back, and in hindsight, I see now that some things I felt so huge were really not such big events in the grand scheme of things. I recall the many worries I carried, the fears and the doubts, and I realize that I often wasted energy and time on nothing at all.
I recall words I have said, and I know now that if I had a redo, I would not have spoken so many words. But I remember other instances, other moments with people, and I know I should have said more words. Life is not for regrets, though, so I have settled in my heart to leave those things behind. It will do no good to wish we had a redo. We will take the lessons and make them purposeful. We will learn from our mistakes. We will grow.
We leave behind us many treasured friendships, which will not end though distance grows more. We leave behind a church family that has loved us deeply and cared for us thoroughly. With gratitude, we praise God for the wisdom and investment those of our church have poured into us.
We close this chapter of our lives with joy and with sadness. Forever we are changed by our time here. In this transition, we thank the Lord for those of you we leave behind. Thank you for bearing with us while we’ve grown. Thank you for your grace when we have made mistakes, and thank you for your encouragement when we have needed it most. And because I couldn’t say it better, we will join the Apostle Paul in his words:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace…” —Philippians 1:3-7