Blessings Amidst Adversity

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog, quite a while. It’s partly been due to the fact that we’ve been busy with the move. The other factor has been that a big move like this is a lot to adjust to, and I needed to give myself some time to settle in and get some perspective before I wrote about it. So, we have now been in Albuquerque for two months, and we really do love it here. Our church is amazing and so supportive. Everyone has been so welcoming. They have not only welcomed us to the church and the city, but they have welcomed us into their homes and their families.

The church and our family has done everything they can to make this move as easy as possible, and we appreciate it more than we could ever express. However, a move twenty hours away from everything and everyone you know is just not easy, no matter how much support you have. Here is what I have learned, though, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it’s not good, or that you’re not in the center of God’s will. So, I’m going to tell you about some of the difficulties and the joys Adam and I have journeyed through in the past few months. I’m going to seek to be as transparent as possible for a couple of reasons. One, I’m pretty sure that Adam and I are not the only ones to ever be called away from our family and friends to minister, and a huge reason I write this blog is so that people can find a kindred-ness within these words. When people read this, I want them to know that they’re not the only ones going through whatever I’m writing about. Also, even if you’re not the one moving far away, I’m sure you know someone who has, and maybe these words will give you a better idea of what that’s like and how to minister to that person. Finally, when I first started this blog I said that, “I believe that if we were all more transparent with each other we would ease the unnecessary shame and guilt that we so often inflict on ourselves,” and I want to stay true that. Even though we are thrilled to be here and know, without a doubt, that we are in the center of God’s will here, the move was difficult, and I want to be sure I accurately depict the entirety of the journey God has taken us on.

I was so excited about moving out West. After all, we had been waiting on this and praying about it for years. So, when it came time to get rid of a significant portion of our belongings (we moved from our house into a significantly smaller apartment), I didn’t hesitate. I held tight to what a dear mentor and friend had taught me – memories are not in the stuff, memories are with the people. Stuff is just…stuff. So, I posted item after item on Facebook, and it was all rather freeing. Until I got to a set of dishes that I just loved. As I went to post them on Facebook, I broke down. I called my mom crying and she graciously offered to keep them until we got a house. I think that was the first “reality check” moment for me. Other than that, it was actually really nice to be able to give some of the things that we valued to our family and friends, sharing memories related to those items throughout the giving/selling process. Sometimes, even if we knew we were blessing others and were happy about it, the memories were shared with tears and statements like “promise me you’ll take good care of it”.  There was a curio cabinet that my grandmother had given me, and I just couldn’t decide whether to keep it or not. When I finally decided to sell it, a friend of mine was so excited about it that I began to feel happy about her buying it even though my heart broke a little at the idea of selling it. She text me a picture of it all set up and full of precious items to her, and it blessed my heart. So, for the most part, it was good, and even therapeutic, to purge ourselves of so much of our stuff.

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This is one of the dishes in the set. It’s was just too pretty to get rid of…I guess some stuff isn’t just stuff.

As far as that goes, things were going well. Then Satan started to attack. Not only did we have moments where we thought, “are we seriously doing this?, what if we fail?, what if we’re miserable?, what if we don’t fit?, this is crazy!” But, things started to pile up. We had SO MUCH work to do on our house! We had lived in it for 8 plus years, and there was just the typical wear and tear that had to be fixed before we could put it on the market. Not to mention packing and cleaning. Then, one day I was driving to work (one of my last days to drive to work), and as I slowed down on the exit ramp my car clanked to a stop, refusing to move again. So, I broke down crying and called my boss who prayed with me and told me to just get there when I could and not to worry about it. We took my car to a shop and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. So, a few days later while Adam was visiting his family, I was out running some errands in my car. On my way back home, less than half a mile from my house, my car clanked to a stop again, only this time it also smelled like something was burning. I call my dad, sobbing, and he talked me through getting it back home. Then I called one of my dearest friends who dropped everything to come over and bubble wrap with me because I just couldn’t be alone. I later found out the transmission had gone out. So, in the midst of everything else we had to deal with getting my car worked on.

I tell this story, not to complain, but to demonstrate that even though (or maybe specifically because) we knew we were doing exactly what God wanted us to do, things didn’t just fall into place. It was stressful, there was more work than what we could do alone, people we thought would be there for us just weren’t, and there were a lot of tears shed (of course, I cry at commercials and EVERY SINGLE episode of The Voice, so I guess that’s relative). However, because of this adversity we were able to experience blessings we otherwise would not have. We have some dear friends who spent two years in China. We had lost touch with them and had reunited with them a few months prior to our decision to move. However, our friendship was solidified and strengthened through this process. They knew what it was like to pack up and leave your home. They could relate to us in a way that no one else in our lives could, and that was (and remains) such a blessing. As I said before, we had too much work and too little time, so we asked a friend from a former church to clean our house after we moved everything out. Her and her family are precious to us and we were able to reconnect with them, a connection we are still maintaining today. Our realtor was able to get a handyman to help us with some of the home repairs, so we could prioritize time with our families.

Within all this was, not only tremendous blessing, but a huge lesson for us, it’s okay, even in ministry to ask for help. You see, the term “minister” literally means to serve. So, in ministry your life centers around helping others. That’s, literally, the point of your job. So, when life became too much for us to handle on our own, and we were the ones in need of the help, it was a bit of a different situation for us. Honestly, it was quite humbling, but also really good to see how many people were willing to, and even eager, to help us as soon as we were willing to ask. There was one day where we had three different families at our house, all wanting to help. We had one family cleaning, one family helping us move stuff, and one family helping us pack stuff. At one point, I stepped back and couldn’t help but cry at the love that was being showered upon us by so many.

So, all our stuff was packed, sold, or given away. Next came the good-byes and the travel. However, this blog is already longer than I intended, so that will have to be a story for a later time. I have a feeling this will be more of a blog series anyways. After all, we’re only two months in, so I’m sure there’s more to write that we haven’t even experienced yet.