Having trust as my word for 2020 is proving to be quite the anchor for a year of challenge and change. I thought I knew what God might be doing when He asked me to trust Him more, but I could not have anticipated how deeply I would need that trust.
On June 4, our family got word that my husband, Larry, is being transferred to Dallas. In one moment, our world was flipped upside-down. Having lived in Edmond, Oklahoma, for nearly 20 years, we’re now being asked to completely uproot and start over.
My reaction was utter shock—which is odd because we knew a move would be coming at some point.
Maybe the shock came from the timing. Perhaps it had more to do with how unprepared I actually was for a change of this magnitude. And, it might be wrapped around the fact that I’ve been wrestling with God about a stirring in my heart to step onto a new path.
Yes, shock. It does a number on your heart and mind. Sleep is hard to come by. A racing heart seems to be commonplace. And emotional energy is half of what it usually is.
But, with my new racing heart, I had adrenalin and physical energy. So my first response was to clean out cabinets and closets. Similarly, Larry kicked into high gear and started fixing and painting things we’d talked about for months. We worked like this for five days straight.
Till we hit a wall. Emotionally. Physically.
We realized we were not going to make our self-imposed deadline of getting our house on the market – a disappointing reality, for sure. But, our pace was all self-imposed, so we paused. We breathed. We rescheduled.
The pause was good. Healthy. Restful.
Then we realized there was much more work to be done than on the house.
Our three sons, for instance. Aged 26, 22, and 18, they’re technically—or legally—adults. After taking each of them to dinner the week after receiving our shocking news, Larry and I felt some of the weight lift from our shoulders. Each of our boys was ready to launch into the world. But with that relief, came surprise—none of them planned to move with us.
Hello, empty nest.
That’s about the time I launched into full-blown grief mode. Grieving the loss of home, church, job, friends…and family.
So. Much. Change. Kinda like ripping the band-aid off–we’re just gonna get it all over with in one big yank.
We’re nearing the four-week mark of our life-changing news. The heart-racing is minimal. The sleeping is improved though not yet normal. The boys’ plans have already changed. Maybe it’s more accurate to say, their plans are ever-changing. The house is on the market. And, we’ve been to the Dallas area to start looking for a new place to call home.
This is getting real.
I’m realizing that moving during a pandemic will hold its own kind of uniqueness. Job-hunting and church-searching will be greater challenges while we’re still social distancing. At least I can keep up the practice of Zooming with friends from afar. In some odd sort of way, this move will be just another form of sheltering-in-place. And, from recent experience, I know I can do that!
I’m realizing that God has gone before our family in this season of great change. Our oldest has a new job, and our recent college graduate is passionately pushing the edges of his own new reality to find a job in his field. Our youngest has been trained in culinary arts and has confidence of landing a job soon because restaurants are re-opening.
And, I’m realizing God has gone before me personally. In the months of isolation, I spent much time with God–in prayer, in study, in worship, and in reflecting on the past few years. I see now that He has been equipping me with skills and preparing my heart for this season of job-hunting and replanting. He has helped me become a more self-aware Enneagram 2, and He’s surrounded me with people who are incredible cheerleaders. In the midst of their own grief over our move, my friends are reaching out with words of encouragement that are building me up and helping me look forward. Instead of backward.
I’m incredibly grateful.
One more thing I’ve realized in the middle of all this “getting real” is that without this big move, I probably would’ve never stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. When Larry and I were talking about what kind of job I’ll be looking for in Dallas, I was surprised to hear myself say that I’m not looking for another position on a church staff. For the first time, I said it out loud: “God has been preparing me to move into something new–something that will involve my passions for ministering with women and writing.”
It’s a vague job description, I know. But the stirring and conviction are there, nonetheless. And I’m seeing that more than a change of location, this move is about a move of God.
So, trust. In the middle of all this change and all the unknowns, I can choose to trust God.
That He has plans that are for our good.
That He is going before us to make a way.
That He is going to teach us His ways and show us His paths.
I can trust that God is faithful and will keep His word. (In those moments I forget, please feel free to remind me).
Now, onward to see where this move will take us. Lord, I’m trusting You.
Still seeking…and packing, Shelley Johnson