Mercy, this post… I have attempted to write it in my mind for weeks now- mentally placing word patterns in such a way as to properly communicate all in my heart as well as the facts as we know them. Needless to say it has been a challenging process, and I’ve allowed my inadequacies with the words along with some fear, mixed up with a lot of busyness, keep me silent…Shortcomings and all, however, it is time to speak – so please bear with me as I try to fill you in on some major happenings in our family.
Friends, what I’m trying to say is:
We are MOVING TO KNOXVILLE!!!
Phew! Okay – so that about sums it up, talk to y’all later! 😉
There is my feeble attempt to make short and sweet what has been a deeply personal journey and weighted decision. So, YES, we are moving- away from this town, these hills of Wondergrove, these people and places we adore. We are exceedingly joyful and excited while simultaneously grieving- the very essence of bittersweet.
Please know my heart is to sit and look you each in the eyes and share the whole story. I am a whole story kind of girl – for better or worse – I’m wired for the start, middle and finish. And yet recently, the Lord keeps taking me back to the passage in Luke 2, when all the miraculous events around the birth of Jesus were taking place, it says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Now I’m not sure if Mary was ever a whole story girl, but at some point she understood there were lines being written, revelations, treasures unearthed, just for her. And she held them near and pondered. In a similar way there are pages to this chapter being written in the life of my family I can’t wait to share and then there are those passages – the answers to prayers I’ve never spoken aloud, the connecting of dots I never imagined possible – I need to keep close and a little quiet for now. That said, I hope this offers some explanation and context.
Some of our dear friends have been preparing for a couple of years now for the strong possibility of God calling them from our haven here in Williamson County, TN to plant and pastor a church elsewhere. We have prayed with and for them, waited in the seasons of unknowns alongside them and over time caught passion for their vision and heart for Jesus and for people. Rob and I both grew to care deeply for these families. In many ways, they have become our own family. Eventually the decision was made, they were setting out to plant an extension of our home church here in Franklin- Grace Chapel was going to Knoxville!
Then, several months ago we began feeling the nudge to prayerfully consider joining our friends on their great adventure. “Consider” sounds so much more dignified than how it actually went down, but again I’ll spare you the unabridged version. For every prompt to “go,” there were ten retorts of “How?” “Why?” “Are you kidding, God?” and “No, but for real, God, you can’t be serious?!” I am nothing if not reverent…So we did all we knew to do – we prayed. We prayed for vision, we prayed for peace in the staying or peace for the going, and maybe most of all we prayed for Rob and I to be unified in whichever path God was calling us to. For those of you who are married, you know what a bold prayer that can be in times of big decision – especially when the unity is sought between two vastly different people. While not all the answers came immediately, we knew we were to keep taking the next step, and then the next, and so on. In October we took a short trip as a family to visit the area our friends were looking to move to, and again we prayed. We waited on God. On one hand I have had a strong peace and sense this is what we are to do from the start of the “considering,” but then my practical side would jump in and pounce doubt all over innate faith. I mean – neither one of us is nor has ever been on staff at a church or in full-time ministry, Rob has a solid long-standing career with a company that has been so so good to us. Our kids, they aren’t babies – this decision will dramatically impact their lives. And let’s face it – we aren’t 22 anymore, aren’t we a bit old to be starting over? The risk, the sacrifice great; the cliff we were standing on the edge of, steep and scary. Even still – the peace to keep pressing in remained. In the end, and together, we locked arms and said, “Yes!” thereby catapulting ourselves from cliff to free fall, trusting God to provide the parachute. And provide He has and continues to – Vision for our role in supporting our friends, vision for our kids’ education, vision for our marriage. He is after all the Pro when it comes to Vision – and seeing things as God sees is our great PROVISION, even in the spiraling of unknowns.
A short bit on the details: Our timeline is still being finalized, as job and housing factors are ironed out. We will most likely be listing our house in January…Yeah…saying goodbye to Wondergrove is something I can’t really talk about right now – without lots of tears, anyway. What a gift to have called this place our own for the past few years, and to have shared it with so many of you. From there our departure will be set around the sale of the house. There really is no way to know the timing beyond listing it, so we just continue to take the next step and pray. We are embarking on this adventure with two other families, one has already sold their home here and is moving to Knoxville the weekend of MLK Jr. Day. The other family is listing their house January 1st, and will be moving as soon as it sells. Many of you reading this already know those details and have been actively praying for their families as they transition. Thank you for that. And for those just learning this news – your love and prayers are so appreciated. Truly. The goodbyes weigh heavy, and in the Joy of the going out, there is a breaking of hearts in the turning away. If you are inclined, we would love to have you follow our collective journey via the church’s new blog: http://gracechapelknoxville.net/ .
When Jesus called His first disciples – told them to basically drop their nets and follow him – I’m thinking they looked pretty crazy. I imagine their families thought it irresponsible and risky. Their friends may have been hurt by the sudden exit, as if Peter, Andrew, James and John answering Jesus’ call somehow diminished the history and bonds of brotherhood. Even when a decision makes sense in human terms, the reality of one friend choosing a path leading away from another, well it stings. I myself have felt that sting more than once. And I can only guess the decision of these pioneering disciples to leave and take up after Jesus made little to no sense to those around them. I also wonder what was going through the disciples’ minds and hearts as they set out on the unexpected adventure. Was Peter second-guessing, did James fight back tears at the very thought of those he was going to miss, did Andrew struggle with the sacrifice of his fishing career, did John have moments of ache for the familiar? Imagining them all – resolute and exhilarated by the call, yet also wrestling with the surrender of so much they held dear – I find strength in their story, camaraderie with men on pages of history, hope for the call and love for the One calling: “Come, follow Me.”
Going back to my nature to offer the entirety of the tale… If I am going to be completely transparent, part of me wants to give the whole story in hopes it will somehow meet your approval. As if me giving you all the twists and turns, all the moments of unknown and wait and prayer and consideration and more prayer, will validate our decisions – will remove doubts of our competency. I wish I could say in all honesty, the rejection and opinion of others doesn’t matter to me, but, well, I can’t. I know this is not a decision that makes sense in the peripheral, and so there may be some who think we are absolute loons, and well…that is just going to have to be okay. Because while it may sting, and I may try to explain my way to man’s approval far too often…we have decided to follow Jesus- no turning back.
With all our Love,