Let’s just pretend we’re speed dating and share bullet points over these fish tacos, I told my aunt. Ready. Go. Tell me EVERYTHING.
She shared about her new home and the freedom she feels being in a rural space with her daughter, Annie.
I’m good, she smiled. I’m good. You, she leaned forward. There’s a lot going on. Go.
Bullet point lunches may be the new ticket item to efficiency and depth.
So out it poured.
We’re having a mid-life awakening. For the last few years, Bry and I have felt stirred to step out of 13 years of church ministry. Once we started paying attention to that, we stood back and began asking more questions, layer by layer. ‘Do we want to live in Orange County? Do we feel alive here? Can we afford it? What do we want for our boys five years from now? What would it look like to live congruently and do life with our neighbors, and the families we grab pizza and beer after Friday night football games with, and rub shoulders with at Trader Joe’s, and worship alongside at the church up the street? What if everything overlapped so that it’s one and the same?’
In these stirrings, consistent themes surfaced: We desire a smaller church community, an affordable, slower-paced area to raise kids, seasons without tons of snow, rolling green hills, a place we can breathe. And there’s nothing more freeing and solidifying than coming to a moment in time where we listen to these stirrings and follow them to the end. This last year has been one of deepening our faith roots and paying attention. Often God uses seasons to draw us out or cement us deeper.
We’re choosing to step out.
By is done working at the church at the end of March and we have no idea what the future holds.
I rambled off the fears that tempt to keep me up and how my chest threatens to hammer first thing every morning. Yet, there’s this quiet peace that draws us to depend on His voice day after day.
What will we do financially? Should we let the boys finish school until the end of June and a find a Band-Aid job in the interim? Or, should we pack up our home and step into the unknown. Should we head for Nashville without a job and just follow the stirring we’ve had since last summer?
Do you want to end up there? she asked.
Totally. I told her about our Nashville trip in January, about the moment we woke up to their first snowfall and most of the town had shut down but we traipsed through downtown Franklin in our coats and beanies, popping into a few shop and stores and felt an overwhelming sense of home.
But it seems foolish and scary to go without a job or tons of money and pull the boys out of school and just drive into a new town and say, ‘We’re here. Lets make it home, and be friends, and start working.’ Clearly – I sipped mango ice tea– we’re having a mid-life awakening.
Well from where I sit, I say you go. Because everything that’s in your way is a layer of comfort.
She went on.
Your family is here.
You know the area.
You can make it work.
But I sense there’s a reason you felt this stirring from the beginning. Take advantage of this time and get out there. Because if you stay until the boys are done at the end of June, you’ll find yourself in the exact same spot.
And then the tears came.
I feel embarrassed for this season. I feel like we should have this nest of money built up cushy under us. I feel like we should have our ducks in a row and our 401-K life perfectly planned out.
And then she shared this story: There was a man who called his bank to check on his savings account and the banker told him he was starting at all zeros where his life savings should have been.
‘There must be a mistake,’ he yelled into the phone. ‘That’s our entire life savings. How can it be gone?’ The banker looked again, checked and double-checked with his manager but they came to the same horrible understanding. There was no money in their savings account.
The man’s wife interrupted. ‘What about the trust fund?’
‘What trust fund?’ he bellowed into her face. ‘We don’t have a trust fund.’
‘What about the TRUST fund? The Trust’ – she opened her eyes wide- ‘fund.’
He saw it. Trust. He’d forgotten to trust regardless of finances.
Do I trust when our family is facing the unknown and have no idea what we’ll do for jobs or where we’ll find a home? Do we trust that this season of surrender is inviting us to grow our roots deep in dependence on God’s protection more than our answers?
We are going from this space rooted deep in the trust that He doesn’t start something to abandon us. He didn’t plan a whisper years ago about doing ministry beyond church walls to lead us astray. He sees us and wants the best for us.
He wants the same for you.
And that doesn’t mean we’re going to be all damn cozy all the time.
For our family, faith means stepping into the uncomfortable, even though staying here is safer than going there.
Faith means trusting He’s bigger than staying close to family and dear friends or finding odd jobs to sustain us when we feel stirred toward rolling green hills and new and healing in a pocket that is beyond orange county. And as much as we want to grab our favorite people and say, “Come with us,” there’s freedom in trusting they are choosing where their family should be and we are doing the same for ours.
Stepping into the unknown may mean faith is being asked of us before a job offer, or home, or any of it makes sense.
Call this our mid-life awakening. We are scared. We are surrendered. We are hopeful.
We are trusting that at the end of the day our circumstances are life accessories and none of it matters apart from deep rooted faith.