Happy 2019! I’m not sure what your social media feed has looked like but mine has been filled with friends and family sharing their “top nine” pictures, memories and year highlights. Seeing the pictures and hearing the memories warms my heart. The new year is a wonderful time to reflect on what has been and look ahead to what is to come. Since the remainder of 2018 turned into an unintended writing sabbatical, I too will take a moment to reflect and share all that God has done.
God walked Nick and I through many adventures, challenges and changes in 2018. My last post detailed our journey into the unknown with stepping down from Nick’s youth pastor position unsure of where God would lead us next. Much has happened since this last post! Nick is now officially a college graduate! I honestly could not tell you who is more excited about this fact, Nick or myself. I am so proud of all of his hard work and commitment to finish and I am immeasurably grateful that his school season has come to an end. This was a highlight moment of the year for us both. Nick’s graduation not only brought the end of his school season but also to our time as youth pastors at our home church. Even when you are confident God is directing your steps, goodbyes are always difficult. We learned much during our time at The Intersection and we were anxious to see where God would lead us next.
After Nick’s graduation, we set out to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary! Our trip started off with an interview with a church in Issaquah, WA. This was actually our second in-person interview with this church. After our first interview earlier in May, Nick and I fell in love with the church. The culture and team they had developed aligned well with our ministry approach. We enjoyed the location of the church. We loved the honesty and vulnerability of the leadership team and their intentional and unapologetic approach to finding the person God had called to join their team as the new youth pastor. The second interview, for us, went very well and renewed all of our original feelings about the church. Nick and I left committed to being content with whatever God would do, but earnestly praying our next step would include joining the ministry team at I-90 Community Church.
After the interview, we celebrated our anniversary with my first ever Mariners Game and then headed to my favorite spot in the whole word, Charleston, Oregon. The Oregon Coast is my ultimate happy place and since my dad and grandma live there, I visit regularly. This was my first opportunity to introduce Nick to my special hideaway. We had an amazing time with my family, making new memories, relaxing on the beach, going deep sea fishing (side note, I actually caught a fish!), and eating enormous amounts of seafood. We spent much of the trip in prayer as well. Praying for God’s wisdom and direction with the post-interview process. That the right decision for the church would be made and that the right answer would be obvious to everyone. As it turned out, God’s next step for us graciously was joining the I-90 team. We headed home from our Oregon escapades to begin getting ready for our first big move!
Isn’t it amusing how much easier it is to trust God’s timing and to see his handiwork in hindsight? Looking back, I feel almost silly at how much I allowed worry and anxiety to take up precious brain space. Fears of Nick stepping down from his job without a place to go, anxiety of going a month without an income for either one of us, fear of change and the unknown all seem so small and silly now as I look back and see all the ways God met our needs (and showed me how not all my wants are needs).
God also at times, seems to have a sense of humor in his timing. Shortly after we returned home we began the long process of packing up our apartment. I have to give a shout out to my incredible friend Jessica, and amazing friends Nick and Megan, and to my wonderful mom, who helped us clean, pack, load vehicles, and constantly help us stay sane. It truly was a team effort getting us out of the apartment on time! We also had to make living arrangements for the two weeks we would be “homeless. In the midst of all of this, Nick and I found out that I was pregnant! My prayer had always been that I could have at least a year of getting used to being married before I added munchkins to the mix and evidently God took my prayers very literally. New job, new city, new church and new addition to the family on the way, apparently when Nick and I make changes, we like to go big and make them all at once! All the change has been hard, wonderful, and all those other mixed up emotions.
A few other 2018 highs included celebrating Nick’s brother wedding and adding a new sister to the family, fantastic new friendships, meeting my half-sister, and finding out we are having a boy! We feel so blessed by all that God has done for us this past year. Even in the midst of some of the hard moments, like telling our youth kids we were leaving, saying goodbye to incredible friends, missing family traditions, money shortage, moving drama and trying to get used to pregnancy, God has been so faithful. I would not trade the lessons learned or supernatural peace received for anything.
I know reflecting on 2018 stirs different emotions for each of you. For some, this past year brought memories filled with adventure and joy, for some heartbreak and pain, and for some uneventful and mundane. For me, 2018 was filled with wonderful and surprising highs, and scary and challenging lows. Whatever the previous year may have brought you, the new year awaits and Jesus awaits to journey it with you. You do not walk into the year alone. Trust the One who holds your future. May 2019 be a year of great blessing to you all!