Downtown

September 30, 2007

Nate starts at the Chapel on Monday so we took advantage of grandma and headed downtown, no kids. We got an overpriced, swanky hotel room right off Michigan Ave.

We got up Saturday with no alarm clocks or kids. Thats a feeling I miss for sure. Don’t you just love hotel rooms that have the best curtains that keep out all form of light. We were on the 19th floor so had a great view of the city. Chicago is electrifying. (more than grease lightning) We had to get our starbucks fix. Which isn’t a problem in the city. There is literally one on every block. And they are all packed.

We met up with my bff growing up Kathy. She is the cool girl who lives in the city and works in one of the high rises and takes the L. We shopped on the Magnificent Mile. Ate at PF Changs and headed to get our tattoos. Yep you read it right. We all got tattoos. I’ll let that sink in a bit.

Nate has been wanting one since I’ve known him. I am going through a quarter life crisis and gave in. It hurt like crazy. I mean crazy. I had to go first so I couldn’t back out. I can guarantee I would have backed out had I gone last. I got the word “faith” written on my wrist. Afterwards I regretted it for the rest of the night. What in the world was I thinking. My mom is going to kill me. This is permanent. And visible. But after the initial anxiety attack, I actually like it. I have to right? The reason I got it was to remind me to have faith. Because I need reminding every day.

Nate got the Transit logo that he designed on his forearm. He got it to remind him of his calling. My friend got the word “trust.” Pictures to come later.

We walked around downtown and saw that at the Chicago Theater, Ryan Adams was playing. Nate is into him but it was sold out. Some guys were scalping tickets so we got some and watched the show. He’s pretty talented.

We are taking this time away to reflect and let go. Neither one of us is ready to let go of KC. We feel like the waves tossed back and forth. Its like the tattoo. We need to accept the decision we made and embrace it. Its hard though.


Water Towers

September 28, 2007

As I was driving from South Carolina to Illinois, I saw many water towers. One that caught my eye was the Williamstown water tower. Under the town name it said, “Gateway to Blue Grass.” You can guess it was in Kentucky. After this special water tower I got to thinking. Is there water in that tower? Is that what they are for? Is it like if there is a drought and its a reserve? How does it stay fresh and not stagnate if there is water in it? Do they change out the water every so often like a fish tank?

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person. But I really don’t know what a water tower is for and I wonder if my brain has thrown out this information or if I never learned it. These are things you think about when you are driving by yourself for 15 hours.


Arrival?

September 28, 2007

We packed everything we could possibly pack into one PODS. It ended up that we had more than could fit. So we packed up both of our vehicles. Still had stuff. So we rented a U-haul trailer for the rest. I have found that I loathe moving. I end up just giving stuff away. Leaving it with the house, on the curb. If you ever feel like you need something, anything, try moving out of a place to make you realize you have everything you could ever want.

I left my house, my dream house that was built just for me and cried. It was a blessing from God that we lived in that beautiful house. I will probably never live in a brand new house again. But for the time I did, I am grateful.

The stuff in the cars and trailer had to be emptied at my parents house in Naperville. They have graciously let us stay with them until our house sells or rents. They have a two bedroom ranch. Its small. And a good 1hr30min to the church. Nate and I are not thrilled with any of this. But at this point we can think of no other options. What do people do in these situations…houses not selling but needing to move. Do they have loads of cash sitting around for this type of occasion? Oh well. We are believing that it won’t be for long. Please oh please let it not be long.


Prayer

September 24, 2007

I’ve been reading a book by Phillip Yancy called “Prayer: Does it make a difference?” The title caught my eye because I have been really struggling with that very thought. I’m half way through the book and he brings some really good insights but still no concrete tangibles. I’m a Thomas if you haven’t learned by now. I need to touch the nail prints in His hands. Its a thorn for sure. Through our latest life journey, I’ve needed God to “show up” in a real way. He showed up in subtle ways. In loving ways that said He was there and He loved me. I should be happy with that. I should cling to that. But I don’t, I want more. I see this ugly side of me that He is trying to prune.

Its weird that after close to 3 decades of knowing Him, I still question him. I’m sure He gets annoyed with that. I think what prompts this today is that we are packing up our stuff tomorrow and heading to Chicagoland. I’m having a hard time because it feels like we should heading to KC. I’m grieving this dream that Nate and I had. The people, the church, the changed lives. I’m feeling guilty for seemingly taking the “easy road,” the “least sacrificial,” and the “less faith-needing.” I realize these are all just feelings but they don’t feel good nonetheless. It seems that when we tell most people about our change of plans…they let out a sigh of relief. Like “smart move.” I don’t know if I will ever feel like it was a smart move. Or even the right move. Or if thoughts of “what if” will ever go away. Which brings me back to prayer.

I’m hoping to find more of a peace with God through this journey. Peace that although it seems as if He is letting us wander around with no clear direction, He is not. Peace that although it seems like He doesn’t care either way, that He does. Peace that although it seems like my prayers are being ignored, they aren’t.

Yancy says :

Prayer does not change God, but changes him who prays? Perhaps that is why Abraham, Moses, Jacob and the others found themselves wrestling so fiercely: the apparent struggle against God was developing in them Godlike qualities that God wanted all along. What feels like defeat at the time may emerge as an enduring victory. Jacob the cheat walked cockily on two good legs; Israel limped into history as the father of nations. The real value of persistent prayer is not so much that we get what we want as that we become the person we should be.


Lasts again

September 22, 2007

I worked my last day at the Summerville Starbucks. It was a doozey. Is that how you spell doozey? Anyway, it was crazy. As I’ve said before, our store is the busiest in our region. I was there on the first day this store opened so I feel attached. But I am really glad to be moving on. Since there is a Starbucks every 5 miles in the Chicagoland, I will find a store wherever we land. Probably in Naperville first and then hopefully sooner than later in the Northwest Suburbs.

I’m hoping that the frappuccinos will be ordered less due to the cold weather. How I hate those frappuccinos! 😦


Children’s Museum

September 22, 2007

I had the day off so we decided to take the kids away from all of the packing and decision-making and have some fun. We went the the Children’s Museum in downtown Charleston. Its a place that kids can just go wild. They both had such a great time. We had a great time watching them have a great time. A great time was had by all.
She has no hair but she's a dollIn the CastleWater fun
We were going to spend this day at the beach but it was raining so this was a great option. We went to lunch at Basils our favorite Thai food resturant.
Basil
We came home and got to packing. And deep cleaning. We are showing the house tomorrow so if you read this…ask the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills to bring us a miracle! 🙂

We are putting our stuff in PODS on Monday and heading North Tuesday or Wednesday. We are pretty much homeless at this point. If we don’t get a contract or a renter we will live with my parents. (in their two bedroom, tiny home that is about 1hr and 45 mins away from the Chapel)

Nate and I will be taking next weekend off and spending a few days downtown Chicago. We are thinking of getting tattoos. Nate has always wanted one and it has taken him almost 12 years of convincing me. This has been such a trying time that it calls for something drastic….like a tattoo. I want to get it on my wrist and I want it to just say “Faith.” I want to be reminded every day to have faith. Sometimes I forget to. What are your thoughts on this?


Our Decision

September 21, 2007

Well, if you have been waiting on pins and needles for me to explain what big decisions we have made in the last week….here goes.

If you are new to this site, we have been on a journey to plant a church in Kansas City, MO with a group of awesome people. We resigned our position, put our house up for sale and began sending out support letters. We took a huge step of faith, got out of the boat, chased some lions…you get the picture. The past few months have been agonizing. Steps of faith are great, but there really are some things you need to consider when you have children…like how will we live. We prayed, fasted and waited. Thankfully some faithful friends and family committed to supporting us. We needed more in order to pull this thing off. “Leads” kept falling through. I would have been able to transfer with Starbucks bringing in a minimum wage salary. Nate was looking for work because the support was needing to be supplemented. Nothing panned out. When Nate found a job, He would have worked a 40 hr work week and I would have worked the opposite 40 hours in order for our kids to be taken care off. That left little time to do much with the church planting thing. Nate really wanted to be apart of everything regarding the plant and we couldn’t see how it was going to work. How would he go to meetings with the kids or with a job. How would he have time to do all of the creative elements? It felt so forced.

By now you can sense the past tense. Well a week before Nate’s last day at faith, we got a call from a church in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago called the Chapel. They were looking for a video producer for their 5 campuses they have. Nate wasn’t interested. He has a pastoral calling and didn’t want to be a video producer. But we had been praying for provision and had to see what this was all about. They flew us up to interview us. And the whole time we wrestled with why this was happening. We prayed for God to give us wisdom. The Chapel is a great church. They are a multi-site church that is growing and vibrant. They are in need of a video guy right now but spoke at length with Nate and I about moving within the church to other roles that will be needed as they open other campuses such as a campus pastor or getting involved in a young adult campus.

We went home having not made a decision. We asked for a week to decide. Again, we prayed, fasted and asked for clarity. What we wanted…was to go to Kansas City and help plant a church to affect the Northand for Christ. We literally fell in love with the team of people at ReachoutKC. God didn’t give us a burning bush type sign, in fact, there was no wisdom given to us. So we had to go with where we saw the provision because that was our prayer. Nate would not have considered this video guy job had he not been in the frame of mind to receive it.

More importantly, our family is our number one priority. We saw the life in Kansas city as a sacrifice of our family. Our children are just babies. They need us for everything right now. Before we know it, they will want nothing to do with us and that will be the time.

Yeah, we are moving to Chicago. Do we feel great about the decision…nope. Are there moments of profound sadness at giving up the dream….yep. But there is a peace that God has provided. I would have scripted it differently (a big support check or a great paying KC job or even a clear sign that God was asking us to sacrifice our family for this). In our wedding my mom sang a song that sums up Nate and I’s heart. It says “Lead us Lord we will follow, Lead us Lord we will go, You have called us, We will answer Lead us Lord we will go.” That is my heart.

There is a future for us at the Chapel. The possibilities are there. I hope as I look back on our life, I can see God’s sovereign will that has guided us. We are moving forward with this so grateful for God’s provision.

Sara Groves has a song that says:

What I thought I wanted and what I got instead
Leaves me Broken and Grateful