We want to let you all know about some changes that are happening around here. There are some major shifts taking place in our family…Mentally, spiritually and physically.
The basic news (for those of you who don’t want to invest in reading the rest of this post) can be boiled down to this: We are moving to the greater Seattle area later this summer so that I (Courtney) can pursue a masters degree in International Community Development at Northwest University. Some things are also staying the same – We will still be operating our photography and design businesses out of Seattle, so if you know anyone in the area who needs some photo or design work have them hit us up. We’ll also be making many trips back to CA for the weddings we already have booked for the summer and fall of 2015.
Ok…so how and why is this all happening? Let me start by saying that it’s been a very strange year that, in hindsight, feels a whole lot like a year of preparation.
God has been bringing Gary and I side by side through a journey of seeing what we HAVE been living for versus what we SHOULD be living for.
Over the last year, while being prompted by various books, Bible studies and relationships, we both started asking the same questions at the same time: What are we doing here? What is the point of our life? As Christians, we hear (and say) a lot of things about how we are supposed to live for “something greater than us”…and we heard and said those same things. But it didn’t actually effect how we lived very much.
Which is exactly what we are now trying to fix. We’ve felt called to a global mission of some kind for a very long time. It got put on hold for several years due to the children being so little and being in “survival” mode, but now that they are older we both feel newly awakened to our calling and prepared to take the first steps in that direction.
During the last six years of being a full-time mom and this current year of being a homeschooling mom, I have felt like a fish out of water. I love my children so very much and truly love being a mother. But I feel called and created to do my mothering in a different way than what I’ve been doing it. Not better. Not worse. Different. Parenting in a different way where I can also pursue the passions that I believe God is asking me to pursue.
I feel like I was created to work on behalf of marginalized and vulnerable people. I’m particularly passionate about gender equality and gender-based issues. The problem is that I’m not qualified for any of the positions that I would love to have. So step one is to become qualified to go and do the work I feel created to do. And thus…Grad school.
Gary has always had a wanderlust and also the need to do something significant. Adventures are great…but the idea of combining adventure with something eternally significant gets him so excited.
Here’s the loose plan so far:
Rent our house in Oceanside, move to Kirkland, WA sometime in July or August. The elementary schools are fabulous up there so Joelle will attend a school down the street. We are hoping to live in student housing for families which seems like a really great situation. My degree is a two year program so I will be finished in the spring of 2017. After that, we have no idea what we’ll do. We will go wherever the Lord calls us. If it’s back to San Diego, we’ll come back here. If it’s stateside, we’ll be stateside. If it’s overseas, we’ll go overseas. He hasn’t given us that information yet, so we are just taking one step at a time.
I feel like I’m making this sound like it was an easy process or like it was simple for us to come to these conclusions.
Let me clarify: It has not been easy. We came to these conclusions after facing a major financial crisis due to an accounting error (which has since been corrected), several major personal crisis (one day in January I felt so frustrated and powerless that I cried for 12 hours), an educational/parenting crisis (I now feel comfortable saying that I am not cut out to homeschool…and neither is Joelle), hours of confused conversation between Gary and I, lots of prayer, therapy (for me), many more tears of both sadness and excitement and endless amounts of wishing God would just drop a roadmap of the next 5 years into our lap.
We (although, I should mostly just say “I”), still have many fears about this impending change. What will all this change do to the kids? How on earth am I going to have time for freakin’ GRAD SCHOOL? What if it’s too much? What if Jo hates her new school? How are we going to afford all of this? Our girls are very close to their grandparents and the thought of moving them away from those relationships makes me super sad. But in the midst of all these worries, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what God has for us, so I know that He is in control of all of it.
Our life is about to change radically. We are expecting to learn many things, but mostly we are hoping to learn more and more how to live a life fully abandoned to the will of God. Each step made in full obedience to Him.
We are planning on blogging regularly about all of our experiences in an extremely transparent way so that others can see how beautifully messy life is in the midst of trying to live in a way that pleases God. Hopefully it will be an encouragement to other people whose lives are filled with messy real-life sort of things. If that’s you, we hope you’ll join us and maybe shoot some encouragement back every once and while. Lord knows we all need it.