This is a little out of sorts because, well, I’m out of sorts. I wrote most of this a week ago, but I couldn’t organize it, and now a week later I still can’t make up or down of it and I really just need you all to know that everything is changing.
Dean and I are most likely moving to Annapolis.
The very small amount of control I had is gone once again. But I am determined to hold onto the promises God gave me and the truth of His word. “He settles the childless woman in her home a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!”
Let me back up. Dean got a new job; it’s a great job! It’s actually a huge blessing to us right now, but this blessing comes with a lot of loss. There are amazing new opportunities, but in order to have those opportunities we must say goodbye to a lot of people and places we love.
You see, this job most likely requires us to move to Annapolis. It’s not far, but it’s just far enough that we have to change everything: doctors, church, doctors, doctors, therapist, and more doctors. We will be leaving our family, church, and friends. We can obviously still see our family and friends, but it will look a little different. And we also have to redo some of our adoption paperwork, inspections, and photo books. It’s not the end of the world by any means; it’s just an exhausting extension to this journey I thought was under control.
I know it sounds naive, but I honestly thought we would be matched by now. I thought that if any one saw our book they would instantly choose us and want us to be a special part of their family. It’s not a cocky thing, it’s a confidence in God’s promise to us, it’s an assurance of the call Christ gave us. But my expectations have once again led me astray and I am forced to reevaluate them.
Dean’s job switch can pretty much carry over into our home study seamlessly, but the home is a different monster. When we move we will be pulled out of the waiting pool until we can get our new home inspected. Depending on the house we get, this could be a while. Dean and I have found a lot of joy in buying our first house that was in need of a lot of love and fixing it up. This might be something we decide to do again.
We have poured our hearts and bodies into this house and made it our home. It pains me to leave. It pains me to paint our bold and bright walls neutral colors. It pains me to take our pictures down from our family wall and remove all the “save the dates” from our fridge. Of course we can bring all these things to our new home, but our last several weeks/months will be without them and it just won’t seem like home anymore.
I spent some time raging at God. I was excited for Dean and proud of him too, but I was sad for the loss of my beloved home, yard, and support system. I was angry that once again I was waiting to wait for a baby. I felt like I was so close to being a mom and now I had to take a step backwards. It’s a small step, but at this point any step that isn’t forward towards mother hood is agony. Dean went to New York for work and I spent several days crying and raging at God.
Most of my time was spent in the “Nursery”. Right now it’s set up as our office and craft room, but when I painted it 3 years ago it was with the hopes of one day decorating the room for a baby. I found a nursery online that I liked and I painted my room the same. I would spend hours in that room praying for our darling children that would someday rest their tired eyes within the confines of that room. Their freshly bathed naked bodies would waddle down the hall from the bathroom to that nursery with me and Dean “chasing” them and lifting them up, kissing their cheeks, and blowing raspberries on their bellies before clothing them in their snuggly footy pajamas. That room would be the place I would rock my child back to sleep after a midnight feeding. That room would be filled with books and toys and lots and lots of joyous prayers of thanks. But now that room will always remain a ghost of what could have been; a dream never fully realized. When I painted that room I was scared to paint it as a nursery when we knew we were struggling to get pregnant. My conclusion was, “I trust you God, I trust that you will fulfill the promise you gave me two years ago. I trust that you are settling me in my home to be a happy mother of children, so I will paint this room with expectation and hope (that was 3 years ago).” What I didn’t realize was that this was not the home God would be settling me in. And at first, I was angry with him for doing this to me, for breaking my heart once more. I still find myself in that place every couple days.
But I’m starting to see a new side to it. As I prayed this morning I stared at my lime green walls dreading the day that I would have to paint them gray (to appeal to more than 5% of buyers) and I started thinking, “This house is a gift, not just to me and Dean but handed down from me and Dean. When I paint these walls I will paint them not with resentment and anger, but excitement for the family who will make this their home. I will paint these walls gray as a symbol of the love I will be sharing with the next family. I want the next family to love this house as I did, I want them to walk in and see what Dean and I see. Dean and I were able to see past the hideous forest green carpet and mauve walls, we were able to envision the house without an obtrusive wall blocking the dining area from the living area, and with hardwoods all throughout. Dean and I were blessed to see the potential. I want the next owner to walk in and say, “This is the place for my family; this will be our next home.” If that means painting the walls gray, then I will do that for them. If that means fixing the mailbox and the doorbell, I will gladly do that too. I will do it without fear of getting a return in our asking price, I will do it without fear of being taken advantage of, and I will do it out of love for my home, out of love for the next owners. Maybe their kids will be rocked to sleep in that nursery. Although the teals of our nursery will be covered up with gray, the prayers prayed in there will remain. The love poured into that room is baked into the walls. The cries comforted there, although mine and not a babies, will be forever a part of that room whether known or not. Whoever lives here will be blessed and that is worth praising God.
But more goes into this. I mean, we are moving. Dean and I have both heard God call us to be missionaries in Annapolis. Missionaries in the sense that we will proclaim God’s unfailing love and sacrifice, wherever it is we find ourselves. Yesterday, in church, I went up to the altar for prayer. I have fears and doubts, how will we leave all these people? I knelt down, people laid hands on my back and shoulders and the tears began to flow. Those same tears have fallen every single Sunday for the past month. I can’t hold them back, I am so overcome with love, and I am overwhelmed with support and friendship. I can’t stand to leave this. Even with snot dangling from my running nose and tears dripping off my chin, my church family hugged me and reassured me, mourned with me, and prayed with me.
I don’t want to leave, and yet, I’m excited to follow God’s call. I can’t wait to see what’s out there, but I’m scared of what I’ll be missing out on. I want to share what I learned at my church with everyone, but I don’t want to lose it.
The other week I watched as our teens walked up to communion. The teens on the left side of the church and the teen on the right side were in the communion line at the same time. It was just teens. The teens that I have watched grow up, the teens that I have lead, the teens that have lead me, the teens that I have sung with, played with, cried with, worked with, been pranked by, etc. They all stood in line to commune with God and the saints and they were poking each other, smiling, and waving to each other, and I lost it. I could not stop crying, it was so beautiful- how could we leave this?
It was after church that day that I prayed, “Lord, I don’t want this. I don’t want to move. I want Dean to be happy and love his job, but I don’t want him to get this job, I don’t want to leave. Lord, if you don’t want this shut it down. But Jesus, if this is what you want; if this is really what you want, please change my heart. Transform me, because I don’t want this. I can’t force myself to pretend to want it; I need you to straight up change my heart if this is your will. Amen.”
Dean got the job, and although I was sad, something started to change. There was a glimmer of excitement. It quickly faded, but then the next day there it was again. And then a week later while in church I heard God say, “Liz, I am calling you and Dean to Annapolis to share what you have learned here at Redeemer. You will be missionaries there.” And in the car on the way home Dean said, “In church today, I heard God say He was calling us to be missionaries in Annapolis.” That was the first time we both heard a call from God at the same time! And from that moment on I have felt at peace, although sad for what we will be leaving behind, I am at peace, I am excited, and I’m so glad Dean follows God instead of me.
But, there will surely be more sadness…I haven’t even started thinking about moving away from my family. It’s not even that far, but it’s not right down the road either.