One Year Later....Our Move to MA
Today marks one year since the kids and I (along with my MIL) stepped on a plane and moved our family across the country. Jordan had already driven our cars with his dad, closed on the house for us (anyone remember that nightmare?), and started getting the house painted and ready for our arrival. The season of our move was the most anxiety-filled time of my life. Jordan had no job, and we had just suffered through the wait of a house deal that threatened to fall apart. Saying goodbye to our family and friends felt like a million deaths. We had no idea what we were doing, and I kept asking myself “did we make a big mistake?” But God…
The day we moved, I remember feeling so much fear. We never flew with the kids before so I didn’t know how that would go (it went amazing). I honestly didn’t remember what the house looked like specifically and was super worried about moving into a house that old. I told myself there was plenty of time to be sad in the future, but for that day I would rejoice in what God was doing/about to do. In the end, there were moments of joy and moments of confusion. When we arrived it was raining, way colder than we anticipated, and it was really dark by the time we pulled into our driveway. The house felt smaller than I remembered. I couldn’t see our neighborhood in the darkness. I remember tucking Reaghan in and she expressed fear of falling asleep in a new place. I comforted and prayed with her and immediately needed my MIL to comfort and encourage me in the truth right after.
I’m not great with transition. Even the smallest change to plans or unmet expectation can effect me pretty deeply, so the process of moving was hard in many ways. I’d love to say I had a great attitude right away and was happy to dive into our “new life,” but I wasn’t. I cried hard through many services in our new church. I struggled to make basic conversation with people who were trying to help us or get to know our family. This year I have stumbled through relationships and conversations, I’ve feared for our safety, sometimes warranted, sometimes not, and I’ve felt more maxed out than ever before with the least amount of responsibilities on my plate. I’ve used my GPS way more than I ever have, and I’ve lived with a lot of anxiety. The first 6 months were really really hard. I would highly advise southerners to NOT move to the east coast during the winter. It was just a rough season of literal darkness, no friends, complete newness, and zero routine for our family.
One year later, the shock and pain associated with being “here and not there” has faded, but I still deal with its consequences as I remember relationships and daily happenings that are no longer a part of my story. I am finding myself settled into a routine, our home is stable and no big house projects are glaring at us every time we walk past a room. We are making friends and learning to trust our neighbors. We are meeting weekly as a church plant and in the beginning stages of full time ministry in New Bedford. And people have joined us! Others from Texas and RI/MA have said “yes!” to being a part of our church plant and laboring alongside us. It’s been the most encouraging thing.
Some observations on the past year:
We have done more fun activities as a family this year than ever before. Beach trips, community festivals, visits to farms, tons of hikes, lots of porch time and talking to neighbors almost daily. We used to sit in our house on a Saturday and wonder if we should do something or…? We love you, Denton, but there’s not much to explore. Jordan turned to me after we left the apple orchard earlier this month and said “it would be hard to move back to Dallas after this.” There is just so much natural beauty here that has awakened us to fun as a family like we never have had before.
It doesn’t quite feel like home but it definitely feels more comfortable. We’ve hit the point where we’ve been away from home long enough for our hearts to not ache for it, but not long enough to be over it. At the same time, we’ve been here long enough to really love it and not want to leave. It’s a weird feeling. I wouldn’t call Massachusetts home yet, but Texas isn’t our home anymore either. When we went back to Texas this past Spring, we missed MA and the friends we have here. Now, 6 months later, we feel more deeply connected to people that we couldn’t really imagine life without. God has been faithful in so many ways.
It doesn’t often (ever) feel awesome. Ministry and church planting doesn’t feel like a great adventure. It is everyday faithfulness. Whether we feel like it or not, we still show up for our people. It’s often dirty, uncomfortable, not our preference, and so on and so forth. Building a church from nothing takes a lot of hard work over a long period of time. It’s emotionally draining and physically taxing. It’s made us pray more and read our Bibles more. We often talk as a team how there are many people who idealize what we are doing. They think it sounds so romantic and magical. “I wish I could do that!” “You’re so brave!” “What an adventure!” No, no no. It’s wrought in sooo many tears, so much pain as you see sin you’ve never seen before come to the surface, and hard unseen work. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fruitful work, but it’s not very sexy or marketable. ;) The other side to that coin, though, is fruit. Sooo much good fruit. I’ve never felt closer to my husband, or to the Lord than I do in this season. God’s using Jordan and I in our individual spheres to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s totally undeserved, but people are hearing the gospel through us, and light is coming into the dark place.
My encouragement to you
If you are in a place in your life where the Lord is prompting you to do something, I would encourage you to obey. It may be small like taking a social media break or saying you’re sorry to a friend, or it may be big like a job change or moving for missions. If the fear of the unknown is what scares you, and you don’t know if God will be there for you on the other side, I assure you that He will. There are no “unknowns” to God. Have you thought deeply about that? He goes ahead of you. He went ahead of Joshua and Moses and David. And He will go ahead of you. He is the way maker. Don’t let fear stop you from saying yes to Him. Watch this video - it perfectly sums up our experience saying “yes” to being a part of this church plant. Mama Priscilla just says it way better than I ever could :)
Year one, in the books.