After 23 years in Minneapolis – years and a life that we have dearly loved - we are moving to Chicago. Not because my husband was offered a great career opportunity (which he was) but because we truly feel that God is calling us to Chicago. If we didn’t believe this to be true, we would have happily declined the offer and stayed here with the friends, family, house and life that we have built since 1995.
If you have been reading my blog, you know that in the last year God has gently but firmly shown me and then removed the idols in my life. Idols meaning things in my life that have at various points been more important than total obedience and surrender to God – my children, my career, my house/comfortable life.
Last fall our youngest left for college and I was suddenly faced with a day no longer framed by 17 years of car pools, play dates, student activities, and who got the car on Saturday night. The house was suddenly empty of our teenage daughters and their friends.
So, I filled the empty house, the silence and my sad heart by adding more nights of work to my 18-year career. And more activities and volunteer opportunities to my calendar. One of those activities was reading the book “Anything” by Jennie Allen while on a retreat. As a result, in March of this year, I started praying a prayer of total surrender to God.
60 days later I was retired from an 18-year career to pursue seminary and ministry full time. 60 days after that my husband was told that he was a lead candidate for a position in Chicago. 60 days after that we accepted. I think it will take longer than 60 days, however, to sell our 1927 bungalow in Minneapolis and find a new home in Chicago.
We received the job offer 2 hours before we left for the airport and a 2-week trip to England, Scotland & Wales. A trip that had been planned way before there was even a whisper of a possible job offer and move to Chicago. Honestly, I was so irritated by the timing, afraid that it would be a dark cloud hanging over our entire vacation.
Instead, it was a precious gift from God in his perfect timing. Because it turned out we needed the entire 2 weeks (just the two of us) to unplug and pray and walk and talk and WRESTLE with God over this decision. Again, in God’s perfect timing, we accepted the offer from London on a Friday night, were able to tell our oldest daughter face-to-face who was studying in Oxford on Saturday, and our youngest daughter who “happened” to be home in Minneapolis for fall break on Sunday.
We are at peace with our decision knowing that God goes before us and that he is clearly calling us to Chicago. I remind myself of this frequently especially when the tears come (as they did most of Saturday) and fear of the unknown grabs hold. I will dwell on his Word when I am overwhelmed with the details of getting this house ready for sale, going through 23 years of accumulation, and leaving all that is familiar and dear.
I will take one day at a time and keep repeating to myself the words of Deuteronomy 31:8 – “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” These are promises that I can count on all the way to Chicago and beyond.