This year. This last year was…trying… to say the least. It was simultaneously the hardest and also most rewarding year I’ve lived.
2017 started in high hopes for me. Josh was finishing up his last semester at Talbot, I was making new mom friends and we were starting out our search for a new job for Josh. We LOVED our ministry in Long Beach so much, but knew that God was calling us to something new. We had always hoped that once Josh finished his Masters, we would be free to move closer to my family. It was perfect timing to move back home because now we had a kid. It made sense. I had been praying ceaselessly that God would open doors for Josh to find a ministry job on the Central Coast and I just knew He would. My faith was unwavering. The interview process started out promising the first few months of the year, but quickly fell through.
Josh started applying to other cities and states that were NOT the Central Coast and I was confused why he would even do that because that wasn’t the plan. This caused a great divide in our marriage. It was our first big disagreement out of the 5 years that we had been together. It was hard. My heart turned bitter towards him and in turn towards God. I couldn’t fathom why things were not falling into place like I was so sure they would.
From March to June, my soul was in a fury and my only comfort was my daughter. If it wasn’t for that sweet little thing, I don’t know what I would have done. God’s timing was impeccable when it came to placing Selah in our lives. The turmoil and confusion that I felt when it came to our future was only neutralized by the tender love of my child.
During these months of disagreeing with Josh and not accepting God’s will for me, I was not able to talk to anyone about it because this whole search process was on the DL. If you are involved in church leadership, you know just how important it is to keep these things under wraps. The bitterness felt like it was eating away at my soul. One day, I literally BURST into tears at my MOMS group at church. I straight up choked my way through ugly tears as I spilled the beans about what had been going on the past several months. It was mortifying to be so vulnerable but I also felt so relieved to have my secrets exposed.
After being comforted and encouraged by this wonderful group of women, I then began to process and accept that moving away just MIGHT be God’s plan for us. I tried to come to a place of reconciliation with Josh and we tried to get on the same page. I really wish I could say that this was easy, but when you are dealing with 2 sinful selfish people that feel pulled in opposite directions, it’s anything but easy to come to an understanding.
In May, Josh accepted an interview with a church in San Jose. So he took a flight out there for a quick 2 day trip. When I picked him up from the airport, I didn’t even ask how the trip went because I didn’t want to know. He calmly told me that he thinks it would be a great option for us. I didn’t really listen and he asked if I would be willing to check it out with him and I promptly said no. I know I know…wife of the year over here. He told me that he would have to tell them in a few days if he wanted to continue in the interview process and we left it at that. The morning he was supposed to tell them he wouldn’t be continuing with them, God changed my heart and nudged me just to try. So when Josh picked up the phone to tell them no, I told him to wait. I told him I’d like to check it out.
The rest of the year seemed to rush by. After taking a couple trips to San Jose, Josh was officially offered the job as the Associate Pastor of Student Ministries and the course of our future was decided. We had the heartbreaking task of telling all of our students and loved ones at the church that we would be leaving in August…and boy was that rough. Josh went to Haiti with the students for a couple of weeks while I went to my parents house to try and process that we were actually moving. At this time, you’d think that I’d have accepted it by now, having heard clearly from God to go, but nope, I was still wrestling with Him about it and scared out of my mind. We had to move out of our 1 bedroom apartment the day that we left on our last trip to Hume with our students. We had an amazing week up in the mountains with our students and it was a lovely way to end our ministry with them and pass off the baton to the next leaders. We had no place to live at this point, so when we got back to LB from Hume, we stayed at the house that our friend was housesitting for a couple of nights, had our goodbye/Selah’s first birthday party and made our way north.
We stayed with my parents for a week and then made our way to a hotel in SJ where we lived for a couple of weeks. We searched tirelessly for somewhere to live and were quickly discouraged by how expensive and competitive the Bay Area market is. Whenever we made contact with a property to check it out, we would always drive by before the appointed time and gather what info we could about it to see if it was a viable option for us. We kept running into the same groups of people at all these open houses because everyone and their mother is trying to find a 3 bed 2 bath in a decent neighborhood over here! We finally stumbled upon a place on Zillow that we decided to drive by and see before the open house, I snuck in the backyard and looked through the windows and liked what I saw. We decided to apply for it before we officially got to see the property and I’m so glad we did! When we showed up to the open house the following day, there were 5 couples there who were wanting to apply, but since we already did, we got the place!
Our house has been one of the biggest blessings of our move. We’ve always lived in small studios and apartments that had awkward connections, but this, this was a life changer! Having a separate room for Selah, AND a guestroom, AND a backyard….pinch me! We LOVE our house that we rent and we LOVE having people over! My family has visited more times in the past few months than they have visited us over the last 5 years when we were in LB!
This is where I start to see God’s providence. I thought I would absolutely hate the Bay Area, but I’ve actually become quite smitten with it. I love all the nature trails, golden hills and changing leaves. I love our house, our neighborhood and the brand new park that is right down the street. I love the surrounding cities. I love our new ministry and how welcoming the students have been. The highschoolers have quickly reminded me why I love doing ministry so much. Making connections has been slow and steady, but we are indeed making friends. Right when I was starting to feel hopeless about not fitting in, a group of fantastic ladies from the church threw me a birthday party! That’s never happened!
Now here we are at the end of a hard, tumultuous and transforming year. I can honestly say that I’ve never loved and trusted my husband more and that I’ve never felt so humbled and tender towards my God. God has brought us through this crazy year of following His lead. He had to shed our selfish layers by forcing us to lay aside our pride and deepest desires in order that we could truly follow His leading. He knows what is best for us and I can clearly see how bringing us here to San Jose is where we are supposed to be at this point in our lives.
I started 2017 with high hopes and expectations. None of the things I thought would happen did. I am now ending 2017 with different hopes and expectations, but this time, I have open hands.
The following photos are our last family pic in Long Beach and our first family pic in our new home in San Jose