For new readers, this oddly titled post (a Simpson’s quote, which possibly only my brother and sister will properly appreciate) is my annual tradition. Check out last year’s if you’d like!
2011 wasn’t our greatest year — the brightest light being the birth of our third child — and we were determined that 2012 would look different. Less pain and disappointment, and more of that adventurous spirit we hope to raise our children with. It turned out that 2011′s tough times would prepare us for 2012 in ways we couldn’t have predicted.
We started 2012 in a very good place to spend a cold Ontario winter month: in Florida — with some visits to old friends along the way. We had an inkling even then that our month in a different home was a foreshadowing of things to come: the idea of a relocation had been tossed around at work, and subsequently at home, for a few months now. We rented a house in Florida for a vacation, a reclamation of a mostly lost summer, and to exercise the freedom that my job at the time offered. But we also did it to see how the kids would handle doing life in a different place. It turns out we can handle it just fine.
When we returned, it was to a project that seemed to perfectly fit the experiences God had provided for us in the past, and we were pleased to dig in with a little church planting team and learn some more from the other wonderful church leaders God had connected us with. These felt like final things, though — like culminations of relationships and education that rightly closed out a season. And as things with my accident were settled financially, we began to feel even more like we were poised for something… we just didn’t know what. We began preparing the house, and our other responsibilities for whatever that thing was, all the while trusting God — and trying to follow Him day-by-day.
It was May by the time the next step became clear. Although we had assumed an eventual move with my then-employer, organizational changes and diminishing opportunity opened us up to looking elsewhere. I secured a job that I now know is a very tough one to get, and with the suddenness of a starting gun at a race, we were off across the continent… where God had clearly gone before us, providing the paperwork exactly when it was needed (and not a moment before!) and a beautiful new home (nearly twice the size of what we were leaving, with a mortgage payment in the same neighborhood!)
While it cost us a month of togetherness, by August we were whole again, planning school for the kids, finding a new church home, and exploring the beautiful part of the world where God had led us. I have been delinquent in blogging about the mountains, the trees, the lakes — the beauty which surrounds us, but I need to be clear that this place is wonderful. We discovered last weekend that while there is rarely snow at our house, just 30 minutes up the highway into Snoqualmie Pass they have 10 feet of wonderful fluffy stuff; enough to comfortably coat perfect ski and tubing hills in a winter theme park of fun. In the warmer months we’ve been here, we’ve ridden the ferry to a nearby island, hiked through the forest to a waterfall, and picnicked at the foot of a mountain.
We’re excited too to have family relatively close. After years of rarely seeing my brother and sister, we’re now within a days drive of each other, and got to spend a fun Thanksgiving weekend exploring Seattle and hanging out with them. The in-laws cottage in BC should provide some fun summer get-togethers, and the annual visit home with my parents should be a lot easier now as well.
It hasn’t been as easy as maybe I’m making it sound. There was, and still is, the loneliness of being somewhere new and missing your friends and family, the stress of managing finances in two different countries, the risk of starting a new job, and the uncertainty of leaving what is comfortable. But as we make new friends, and learn new things, and see God’s world from different angles, I hope everyone reading can understand that we will always be strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Hebrews 11:13). The only home we desire is in heaven… but while we’re here, we want to see everything we can, steward wisely the blessings God gives us, share what we have with others, and raise our children to know obedience, and the glory and wonder of God’s creative power.
I’ll wrap up 2012 with my favorite quote I learned this year…
The important thing is this: to be ready at any moment to sacrifice what you are for what you could become.
Are you ready?