When we first moved to North Carolina many people had asked us the same question “Why in the world would you move from New York to North Carolina? Who does that?” My answer has always been the same… “I love moving.” However, the truth is more complex. Change was always hard for me. I loved for things to remain the same. Until I married a soldier that is. During the first five years of our marriage we moved 5 times to 5 different states. Let that sink in. Can you imagine that? Just when we were about to set “roots” it was time to pick up and start over. I became a pro at moving. It was incredibly hard and yet full of real life lessons like, my home is wherever my husband is. This idea may be counter culture but has been the guiding force of our 19-year marriage. And now, my home is where they, my husband and son, are. Which is why moving without them has been difficult.
Rewriting Our Story
I love clean slates. Don’t you? Adena Friedman said it best: “Starting a new job can be nerve-racking, but it’s also exciting. You’re embarking on a new future, positioning yourself to write a fresh story.” Two weeks ago, I relocated for my career without my family. I’m in the middle of my very own fresh story and sometimes it’s hard.
Starting a fresh new story is full of new adventures like learning a new organization, trying new foods and almost coming to tears when you realize that Marshall’s is literally minutes from your new place. I am in awe of the many different families that I see in my new community. Families that look like our little crew and many that don’t. Although our new space isn’t the same style as our home in NC, I am very excited to decorate and transform our new house into a home. Daily I am leaning into what life in Florida will be like for our family. It’s exciting, new, and inevitably comes with a price.
I told a friend just the other day that I feel like every comfort I have had has been stripped from me. Its cathartic and chaotic. Leaving me feeling exposed, naked and vulnerable. I didn’t anticipate feeling that way. My connections, community and church feel as though they too have been stripped in a way. What I’m learning is that sometimes when God moves you into purpose you will be left feeling vulnerable. The same friend shared that when I am vulnerable “humility steps in and allows you to trust God with your whole life.” I have been in comfort for over 15 years. That comfort made me feel secure…safe. In the striding there are real losses. Walking into your purpose comes with a cost. Here are the top 3 “costs” I have experienced so far:
1.Connections- This is the first time in my adult life that I have relocated to a new city without my husband. As our son completes his end of year exams we have been forced to separate for a month’s time. It doesn’t seem too long until you are living it. Living it is hard. I also am no longer able to do life with my closest friends.
Prior to this stride I had convinced myself that I didn’t need new friends. This relocation forces me to engage with new people and be intentional about forming new connections. That isn’t always easy. Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., a psychologist and author, says the best way to find friends is to follow a passion — “and whether it’s golf, tennis, bridge or art, participate in your chosen activity regularly. That allows you to have contact with the same people over and over, and familiarity breeds friendship.” My husband and I have already started planning how we will get involved in local art groups and possibly local activist organizations. I agree with Dr. Levine, familiarity does breed friendship. I know that I need to be patient with the process.
2.Community- Over the last 15 years, I have lived in a small rural farming town. Traffic was great, community was close and if I’m being honest, life was peaceful. My piece Moving: Striding into Our Purpose should shed some light on why we made the decision to leave our comfort for the unknown. If I am being honest, relocation often is the opposite of peace. I do have peace in knowing that I have stepped out in purpose, however, finding a new doctor, getting to know new neighbors and connecting with our son’s new school doesn’t make me feel peaceful. I think what God is allowing me to see is that when it comes to community, my peace should be in knowing that he has a plan beyond what I can see. He knows who I need and when. While I wait I will be intentional about getting involved in my community even when it puts me out of my comfort zone. Living in a new neighborhood is something I am excited about experiencing. What I love about our new area is that it offers community meet ups and opportunities to connect. I think this will help us establish a sense of community when our world just got very big.
3.Church- Over the past 9 years The Cove Church has shaped my family’s spiritual growth. Our son has grown into a great leader and we owe that in part to our church. In a piece I wrote for the Foster Moms Blog I share how Spirituality Raises World Changers. This piece was relatively easy to write because of The Cove’s impact on my own son’s life. Last weekend I got to visit The Cove one last time and I freaking loved it. Finding a church to replace it was not one of the top new things I was looking forward to. I am lucky that I can still watch the service online. As I look forward to what another church can offer us, I am often asking myself which space is the best fit for us?Where will my son continue to grow into a world changer? Where will I find my new people? Knowing that Florida is where I am meant to be gives me comfort that the church I will belong to is here too. Finding a church can be stressful, however, the process of joining one can also be one of discovery and full of wonderful experiences. I embrace that.
Sometimes you outgrow your space, community and life in an area. That is when God moves you somewhere new. Our stride to a new area was primarily because we were living in a place where we were no longer fulfilling our purpose. Leaving North Carolina for Florida during a season when we were comfortable in our routines, connections, community and church has its losses. The gains are becoming more evident every day that I am here. We also know that being an example to our son during this time of transition is critical. I hope our son learns that change can be painful, but it can also bring beautiful new beginnings. Here’s to our new beautiful new beginnings.