9 months and 22 days ago, I received a text that significantly altered the trajectory of my life. My husband had been impacted by a massive corporate reorganization, commonly and politely referred to by corporate peeps as a “reorg.” He wanted me to know the WHY behind WHY he was coming home in the middle of what would’ve otherwise been a normal winter workday.
My hubby had made it safely through reorgs before. Not this time. This time it impacted us. Our whole family. Every single one of us.
From day one, I had a hunch this turn of events would lead us well outside of our comfort zone. Given my husband’s career trajectory and the kind of position he was looking for, I knew we could very well be moving out of state at the end of this journey. I left my 14 1/2 year career in speech-language therapy three years ago to pursue writing and photography, so it didn’t escape me that we were now prime candidates for moving anywhere in the country.
Fully aware of all the possibilities, I began praying a simple, but dangerous prayer.
Bring us where you want us.
As my husband searched and searched, met for coffees, drinks and dinners, pounded out resume after resume, interview after interview, I prayed.
Bring us where you want us.
I didn’t know what that prayer would bring. I didn’t know where that prayer would lead. I didn’t know how God would respond. I didn’t know if God wanted us right where we were, comfortable in Minneapolis near family and friends, or whether He was going to bring us to Missouri, Mississippi, or Missoula, Montana. Heck, I could’ve been going to New York or LA for all I knew. Perhaps we’d been missing something and God was giving us a chance to pursue that ONE crazy dream we both actually agreed on? When I prayed “Bring us where you want us,” I didn’t know if I was out of my mind or if I was actually onto something. I didn’t know if I’d be happy I prayed this prayer, or if I’d find myself regretting it for a lifetime. All I knew was that we didn’t ask to be impacted by this corporate reorganization, but we were. As far as I was concerned, it HAD to be God. This had to be God’s plan. The only thing I wanted at the end of this was for God to bring us where He wanted us.
We casually agreed to open the search up nationwide right away. But after a few months with no success with what we’d tried, we broke out Google Maps and analyzed exactly WHERE and WHAT big cities we’d like to live in if it was up to us. We wanted to be more targeted in our approach. The list was fairly short, but everywhere across the board of this great United States of America. Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Colorado Springs, Orlando, Los Angeles, Nashville and Seattle to name a few. If we HAD to move and the right position became available, THESE were the places we’d like to move.
Four months into the job search, it became crystal clear that the Lord was going to be bringing us to one of our top destinations. NASHVILLE! We were psyched, out of our minds psyched and excited that THIS could be the opportunity, THIS could be the place! It made perfect sense. In my mind, our callings were perfectly uniting for the first time in nearly 19 years of marriage. My hubby would land this AWE-SOME job. I would be in the center of an incredible creative community, arguably the most wholesome and welcoming creative community in the United States, primed to move my photography and writing to the next level. I’ve always been a southern girl at heart, and who wouldn’t LOVE to live and raise their kids in Nashville? Oh. My. Goodness. We. were. ready. Bring us where you want us, God. Bring us where you want us.
I prayed and I prayed. We cashed in our frequent flyer miles and bought me a plane ticket to Nashville so I could accompany my hubby when he went for two days of interviews. Did I mention this was going to be AWE-SOME? It was, indeed, awesome. I fell in love, absolutely IN LOVE with Nashville. Two days was all it took. I looked at homes, found an AWE-SOME, safe and beautiful neighborhood tucked on the edge of city and country. Mamas and daddies came out to greet me and offered sweet tea while the kids rode bikes and scooters down the streets. I kept on praying up and down, every minute my little mind could remember. And my husband assured me that his interviews went AWE-SOME. Everything was AWE-SOME. We were ready, ready to go, ready to go where God wanted us. NASHVILLE. But just over a week later, our world came crashing down. Nashville was a no. They offered the AWE-SOME job to the other final candidate.
It took us two months to recover from that Nashville experience. We loved Nashville. We adored it. My husband had a hard time, of course, but I had an even harder time letting go. Why would we feel SO called to go to Nashville, like this was SO right, like this was the perfect place for ALL OF US, only to find out we were SO wrong? I’d envisioned myself there easily. My heart beat more easily, felt it had found a home in Nashville. Why, God?! Why did you bring us all this way for nothing? What was the point? Why NOT Nashville?
Those two months of grieving were long. And hard. I wasn’t recovering quick, and nothing was feeling hopeful. I began wondering if I’d need to dash my writing and photography dreams to return to full-time work as a speech-language pathologist to provide financially for our family. I doubted, I mean REALLY, SIGNIFICANTLY doubted everything I ever believed about my call to write and photograph. I wondered if it was all a sham, a pipe dream, that I wasn’t really hearing from God after all, that I was going to end up right back where I was 5 years ago, teaching kids how to speak in sentences and say their sounds more clearly. It was all good and I know I was making a difference doing speech therapy, but I spent three long and hard years discerning the call to transition to writing and photography. This just didn’t make any sense. Why is this never ending? WHERE are you going to bring us, God? And WHEN? Can’t we please get an answer? Sooner rather than later so we have clarity about where, why, how and when?
That’s when I fell far from God. I kept waiting. I kept doing my part to help my husband, our family and our household stay afloat. But I stopped believing. I stopped trusting that God had a good plan for us. I questioned the goodness of God. I stopped praying to a God I wasn’t so sure about anymore. Maybe I’d gotten this Christian thing all wrong. Maybe I’d been “hearing God” and “following Jesus” when actually I was just a crazy person making up things in my head to make myself feel better. Maybe God wasn’t who I thought He was after all? Why all the PRAYER that’s bringing us NOWHERE?
The hard and honest truth through all of this was that I stopped praying Bring us where you want us.
Months passed. More resumes. More meetings. More interviews. More waiting. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Then, seven months into the job search, THREE new leads rose to the surface. One in Minneapolis, another four hours from home, and another in Seattle.
One middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about all the “what ifs,” God granted me a fresh perspective, a new way of thinking about those three job opportunities for my husband. The Minneapolis job was the safe job. The job four hours away was the prestigious job. And the job in Seattle was the edgy, out of our comfort zone, just-right job. I knew right then and there that God was telling me that the Seattle job was “it,” but I didn’t want to trust my gut, I didn’t want to trust the Holy Spirit’s promptings because, well, there were still all of those trust issues between me and God.
Could one of these three be it? Who knew? The timelines were totally off. There was no way all three YES or NO answers were going to come in at the same time. How would we know WHERE we were supposed to go? What if my husband was offered the job in safe and comfortable Minneapolis, the only state our kids have lived in, the place where we have a home, friends and family? Shouldn’t we stay even if it was a super safe job? But what if he was offered the prestigious job, the job nobody would say no to? How could we deny that? And what if he was offered the Seattle job, far away but super cool and edgy and it seemed like a perfect fit? But it would be far away from family and friends and we’d have to move away from everything we’ve ever known?
What if God wants to bring us to new places, new spaces, new territories we’ve never explored?
That’s when I remembered that prayer.
Bring us where you want us.
Bring us where you want us, Lord.
It started to make sense again. In my heart, my grief over Nashville was never going to fully subside, but I’d come to accept we were NOT going to be moving to Nashville right now, so I might as well start wrapping my mind around something else again.
Bring us where you want us.
Bring ME where you want ME, Lord.
Not just my husband.
Bring ME where you want ME.
After all the Nashville heartache, we decided I wouldn’t join my husband for his interview trip to Seattle. I haven’t ever been to Seattle, but I decided that if my husband was offered the job, I would TRUST that God wanted us in Seattle and that I would move there without having been there, because that’s where God wanted me.
But then there was that prestigious job, the one that was four hours away from home. It made sense for me to GO and be there while my husband had three days of interviews. After all, I hadn’t been to that city for 19 years. Wouldn’t it would be good for me to check it out again in case I was weeks away from living there? I drove around, dined and did photo editing at a local deli. I tried to envision myself there, our kids there, our life there. I wasn’t sure where God would bring us, but I was trying to TRUST that He had a plan.
Sure enough, after a Minneapolis interview, a four-hours away interview, and a Seattle interview, the stars aligned. It was kind of crazy, really. Those three final jobs – safe, prestigious, and just-right – all came together in the end. With the timing of those final three interviews, there’s no human way we should have heard answers all within the same week. But by the grace of God, we got our YESes and NOs within a few days of each other. NO to the Minneapolis job. YES to the Seattle job. And literally minutes after my husband got his YES to Seattle, he got another call with a NO on the prestigious job.
We’d been praying for clarity. Others prayed for clarity for us. CLARITY was a word that popped up often those last months and days. CLARITY as to where God wanted us.
CLARITY resonated with me. We needed clarity. Our kids needed clarity. Our families needed clarity. I wanted clarity. I had to trust that God would provide CLARITY as to WHERE we were supposed to go, WHERE we were supposed to land at the end of this incredibly long journey.
Seattle. We finally have clarity. Complete clarity.
Today, Seattle’s where I’m heading. To meet my husband who started his new and TOTALLY AWE-SOME job two weeks ago. To get a lay of the land. After all, I’ve never stepped foot in the state of Washington. I’ve never stepped foot in Seattle. I’ve never been there once in my entire 41 1/2 years of life. I’t’s time to see it to believe it. It’s time to see where God’s bringing me.
Bring me where you want me.
Bring us where you want us.