Michigan · Moving

After you say yes.

Four months ago, we packed up our house in Colorado to move across the country to Michigan. Dave drove a car here with our (drugged) cat and a baby swing and my succulent plant. I flew here with a three-month-old.

Looking back, I can’t believe we did it. I was barely over the hump of crying on my couch while breastfeeding and we moved across the country. Before we moved, I wrote a blog post about saying yes to God, even if it’s hard. I guess this is a follow up to that.

I think the first thing that happens in a big life transition is that the honeymoon period is mostly thrilling. The first day in Michigan, the house we wanted was listed for sale and we bought it. I filled my days with fun new things like the farmer’s market and trying different coffee shops. I felt like we were on an extended lake vacation and we would just pop back into our Colorado lives soon.

Culture shock is a real thing even when you’re just moving to a different state. It is crazy to me how states can be so different from each other depending on what part of the country you live in. This is hard for someone who likes to blend in rather than stick out because I don’t want people to perceive that I am different than them. But, different is good and it is part of my story. I’m learning to love Midwestern casseroles and trying my best to pronounce all the Dutch street names.

There’s grieving in big life changes. Even when you feel called to make that change in your life, it doesn’t mean that it’s automatically better right away. That’s ok. It’s a grieving process, leaving behind the things you love. There were many sleepless nights when my heart ached for the things I couldn’t have like coffee dates with my best friends and time with Ruthie’s cousins. It was (still is) a hard realization that life is moving on in Colorado without me.

Finally, hope. As always. God never leaves us without this. I realize that I listed these things in an order, but the reality is that you can feel all three at the same time: grieving, shock, and hope. It’s bittersweet. And it’s so, so good. There’s usually still an empty seat across from me at the coffee shop, but someday that seat will be filled more often than not.

We’ve driven back and forth between Illinois and Michigan a few times now since my family lives in the Chicago area and every time we drive back into Michigan, I feel a fierce love for my new state. The definition of home is completely redefined for me. Home is Dave, home is Ruthie, home is wherever God goes before me.


Faith · Michigan

Moving // Saying Yes to God

Pretty much the definition of a homebody is me. At the end of the day sometimes, I realize I haven’t left my house the whole day and my first thought it “what a great day.” Don’t worry, I’m not a total hermit and it’s actually pretty rare for me to have a day without leaving the house. But the point is that I love home. I like safe, comfortable, the familiar, my couch. I like how I’ve been living within a fifteen mile radius of Boulder for over ten years and I know how to get anywhere without Google Maps. I love my pediatrician, local coffee shops, grocery store, and the midwife who delivered Ruthie. I love the family we have here and how I’m part of their lives. I love our church community and friends who feel more like family than anything else. I could go on and on about my life for all things Colorado. I had the next ten years of my life all planned out here, all the way down to what school Ruthie would go to and who her friends would be.

When Dave and I were dating, we even told each other that we would never leave Colorado. They say “never say never,” but I meant it. And now we’re leaving. In less than 24 hours a moving truck is coming to pack up all of our things and my comfortable rug of the familiar is going to be swept up from underneath my feet. All my great ten year life plans are abruptly coming to an end. I’m moving to a place where we will have no friends and will definitely have to rely on Google Maps. However, as I’ve had to learn the hard way this summer, saying yes to God trumps all the great plans you had for yourself.

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I thought I knew what this verse meant, but the real meaning of didn’t start to hit me until last year when one of my favorite people spoke at a Perspectives class. She was talking about world missions, but her talk was applicable to almost every other area of life.

The question she was answering in her talk was “What are my next steps?” To me, next steps have always meant a plan. Of course I have to have a plan for my life! It feels safer to have a plan. It feels safer to know what my job will be, what house I will be living in, what school Ruthie will go to. I make plans so that I look like I have everything in control, when really deep down the plans are just a mask to cover up the fear I feel when I start to lose control.

The speaker listed five things you can do to take the next steps in your life. The last of these five things was plan. She said, “Many people want to begin here and just want the ‘game plan’ but the strategy is the least important. We don’t need to know what God’s plan is, He will give us enough information to lead us to the next step.”

Hearing this rocked my world. Could I honestly trust God enough for me to stop worrying about what was next in my life? Could I hand over all my plans to Him and just see where He leads me?

I first put this into practice by not planning out when we are going to have our second child. At this time the Perspectives class, I was pregnant with Ruthie and I was actively trying not to plan when I was going to have the next baby. That’s how much of a planner I am. I had to stop saying things to myself life “Ok, I’m going to have Ruthie in May and then the next baby in two years and then the third child…” Because the truth is all of those things were my plans are not God’s. I know when I would like to have my next baby, but I hold loosely to that idea now. Dave and I will continue to pray about it and see where God leads us.

Anyways, this whole letting my plans go thing started to seem easy with small things and harder with big things. Moving across the country seems like a very big thing right now. When Dave felt God calling us to move to Michigan six weeks ago, I weeped as I pictured all the plans for my life crashing down in front of me.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21

I’ve been reminded in the past few weeks, as I cry on my drive home from the grocery store because I’m looking at the mountains or feel such a huge loss saying goodbye to my coworkers, that these things that I’ve carefully planned out and placed on a pedestal are such temporary things. Jobs change, people move, and things don’t stay the same. Buildings are torn down and new ones are built. Some day our first house might not even be here anymore. It’s ok to be sad about saying goodbye to things, but it’s not ok to place these things before God. It’s so much easier said than done and this verse comforts me:

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

The crazy thing about that talk at Perspectives all those months ago was that the speaker was planning on doing a completely different speech. Then as she was laying in bed the night before the class, God told her to talk about something different. So in a few hours she completely changed the whole agenda for her three hour speech. And if she hadn’t changed the agenda, I would have never felt convicted about not planning out my life. I’m so glad she trust God when He told her to change her plan at the last minute. And like her, I’m changing mine.

So we’re moving. We’re doing it. We aren’t doing it because it fits into my ten year plan, but it fits into God’s, and that’s what matters.