Thursday, November 17, 2016

To Seattle

Its been several months ago now, we were sitting around our kitchen table, playing games and having conversations with friends. Our Pastor, Tim, and his wife, Ashley, had come over for dinner and game night with their kiddos, and we were enjoying our fellowship. We have a loosely established rule for our fun times spent together, we don't talk church. I can't really think of a time that we have gotten together that Tim and I have actually followed this rule, but its there nonetheless. One of the reasons for our inability to spend an evening together and not start discussing the church is because of a deep, passionate love that we both share for our church. On this particular night, we were talking about things that we were hoping to see happen with the church in the next year or two. It was as we were having this discussion that Tim told us about a pastor that is the father of some friends. This pastor was going to be heading to Seattle to plant a new church. We spent a little while that evening just talking about the job to be undertaken, and the amazing impact a Christ-exalting church could have in downtown Seattle. It was an exciting and interesting thought.

The week that followed was filled with more of the same in my life, growing disillusionment over an inability to find advancement in my career, a desire to find a calling, and a desire to not waste my life (thanks John Piper). I found myself daydreaming about the thought of working with this church in Seattle. I kept it to myself, it was too crazy of a thought to share. My wife and I had been discussing for the last year thoughts of moving, going into missions work, my going to Seminary, or trying to find something. We had a strong sense that the stonewall I was running into professionally was to prevent me from getting into a position that would inhibit the work that God was preparing my family for. Even with these talks, it was one thing to play around with the idea of it, it was another to blurt out one day that I thought God was presenting us with an opportunity.

Then, one day, I got a call from Tim. We talked about a couple of things, and then he said something along these lines, "I can't tell you what you're supposed to do, or that I heard God say this, but I can't get this thought out of my head, what if your family is supposed to go to Seattle?" I was floored. The creeping sense I had been having about Seattle was being confirmed in the heart of someone else. If my mind couldn't get away from it, and the thought was gripping someone else, then it needed to be brought to light and discussed with my wife. I got off of the phone and found my wife working on dinner. She asked me what Time wanted, and I told her that we had discussed a couple of things, and also he asked if we would consider the possibility of moving to Seattle. I wasn't sure what to expect from springing this news on her, but she turned to me very calmly and said that that would be something to be thinking and praying about, but that we probably really could.

The pastor that is planting the church visited our church that next Sunday, He sat down in front of us, turned, and politely said hi before turning to our daughter and having a quick exchange with her. There was something comforting about this, seeing how easily my kids could interact with him. By the end of the service, it was clear to us, we needed to sit down and work through how we could get from where we were to making a decision on moving. As we sat that night, discussing between the two of us, my wife and I took turns discussing our fears, our encouragements, and everything in between. But two things started to become clear,
1) All of our "reasons" not to go were not legitimate reasons, they were excuses to not trust God.
2) We wanted to go

This all came through over the last couple of months. We have been working through telling family the news, and discussing it with friends, mentors, etc. But this much is known, we are moving to Seattle. We are getting rid of most everything we own, selling our house, taking with us only what will fit in the back of our car, and we are headed to the Pacific Northwest to help in any way we can with the planting of a new church in Downtown Seattle. Our house will be on the market in mid-January, I'll be signing on with a nursing agency to find work, and we will leave.

It is an overwhelmingly emotional process, but it is good. We are sad to leave our families, our home, our friends, our church, but we cling to the promise Jesus gives his disciples in  Mark 10:29-30 and Matthew 19:29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life."

Pray for us.