While I was all but ignoring the subject of moving (God bless my husband for his patience!!), I started reading The Hole in Our Gospel and learning more and more about how much the Bible has to say about loving the poor. I got crazy fired-up about it (and happily distracted from thoughts of Colorado). What I was learning even got me motivated to start a little business venture with the purpose of helping working mothers in Uganda.
One morning after reading more of this great book, I was praying earnestly that God would show me how my little family could love the poor and serve others better and I got an answer that I was not looking for or expecting.
I asked God, "How can I live the whole gospel with my life? What do you want us to do??" And very clearly, in a inner voice I've never heard before (and I mentally talk to myself a lot), I heard the thought, "Go with your husband and I'll show you."
Whoa. I actually shook my head in a sort-of mental double take. I was like, "Um, excuse me? I wasn't even praying about Colorado - what's up with that answer??"
Now let me tell you, I am about the most skeptical Christian I know when it comes to stories about hearing from God. I've had too many bad experiences with people playing the "God told me" card for those words to hold much sway over me. So when I, of all people, am willing to say that I think this thought was God speaking to me, you know I'm not playing around (not to mention it was so not the answer I was hoping for).
After a little mental debate between me, myself and I, I finally forced myself to write what I had heard in my journal. In pen. Indebly. Because it would be too easy to pretend I didn't hear it and move on with my fingers-crossed-hopefully-not-moving-let's-just-not-talk-about-it existence. However, if it was God I had heard (and I was pretty sure by that point that it was) then ignoring His direction would be deliberate disobedience. So I wrote it down and set it aside. And then the pestering started...
God: You need to tell Devin what I told you.
Inner Me: Please no. Because then we'll definitely have to move...
God: Tell him.
Inner Me: ... But ...
Other Inner Me: Do it Jen. Tell him, tell him, tell him, tell him!!
(Other Inner Me is super annoying by the way. And very persistent.)
You get the idea. This went on for days until finally, one evening, I blurted out to Devin, "After we put the twins to bed, you need to make me tell you something that I don't want to tell you!!"
Poor Devin, I can only imagine the awful news he was imagining I might be about to drop on him.
When I finished telling Devin about my prayer and the answer I got, he looked completely awestruck. "Jen," he said in disbelief, "for the past week, I've been praying that I wouldn't make this decision based on my own reasons. I told God that I didn't want to be selfish and I wanted to do what was best for our family and if He wanted us to go, then He would have to speak through you or I was staying put."
From that point on, the decision seemed pretty clear. It was going to happen. We were going to move. The hard part was that there wasn't a "real" reason to uproot our family and move 800 miles away. We didn't have a job opportunity. We didn't have a ministry we were joining. It appeared on the surface level that we were making this decision on a casual whim. Which just wasn't the case. We simply felt like this was where God was guiding us and personally I felt that it was the right thing for me to do to trust my husband's leadership and go. But those reasons are really intangible and were really difficult to try and explain to our local loved ones. Those reasons are still difficult for even me to grasp at times.
As we shared the news with our families, I was surprised to discover that despite the answered prayers, despite feeling confident that this was the right decision, I still felt heartbroken at the thought of leaving. I guess I just expected that because I'd received direction from God, He would change my heart to feel all warm and fuzzy about the move. But that didn't happen. I still felt so sad. I still sobbed myself to sleep some nights. And then I got angry about it. I got mad that God was leading me to do something that hurt so badly and caused so much pain to those I loved.
After a couple days of telling God how mad I was at Him (I'm thankful He's so patient with my honesty), I started looking back at my journal entries and seeing how many specific prayers on the subject of Colorado that God had faithfully answered. I realized that had the warm fuzzies come, had the idea of moving been easy and not hurtful, then my faith would not have been stretched. I would not have depended on God so deeply for comfort and direction. Devin and I wouldn't have leaned on each other so much as we discussed such a huge change for our family's future.
This decision, the start of this journey, has been unbelievably hard. However - my faith has been incredibly strengthen through all this. My trust in my husband's leadership has been strengthen. And those things will only grow stronger as we work through the process of moving and settling into a new city, in a new part of the country. That in and of itself is a "real" reason worth pursuing. And I have to have faith that this reason is enough and that God will in time show us what He has for us to do. For now, perhaps he is just building our faith and our marriage in order to prepare us for the task He has created us for.
"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." - Ephesians 2:10 (emphasis mine)
Pray for us will you? Thank you friends.
P.S. I don't want to sound all gloom-and-doom. While I am sad about leaving, there are some really great things I am looking forward to about moving. Plus we've got some super-awesome family members in The Springs (hey there Shannon, Dustin, Shane and Gavin!) that will help make the move so much easier and fun. This is an emotional time for sure, but I feel so blessed at all God has done. And more and more frequently (slowly but surely) my anticipation is beginning to sooth my fears.