Friday, August 12, 2016

The Past Year (Part 3)

Blake called me one afternoon.

It had become part of our routine when we were on opposite sides of the world to talk just as I was making dinner and just as he was going to work in the morning.
I had just returned back to Oklahoma and was desperately trying to recover from jet lag.

He wanted to tell me about a job that he had caught wind of. It was a long shot, but something about that position called to him.

Blake was asked to come in for an interview.
His story, our story, was so obviously God's will for our lives, that it could not be ignored. 
After months of contemplation and prayer on behalf of everyone involved, Blake was offered the job, and we accepted.

I wish that I could fully and accurately project the amount of peace that both Blake and I have felt throughout this past year.
All of our decisions were hard and few of them made complete sense, but somehow we knew that everything would be okay.

I'm not going to say that we had faith that God would take care of everything in the exact way that He has, but I can say that we had faith that He would take care of us no matter what. We were happy to go wherever we were led. Whether that be to stay in Australia, move to Singapore, London, or Chile, we were ready to go anywhere and everywhere.

Our house in Oklahoma was simply meant to stand as a foundation, a place to always return to when we needed a bit of home. That obviously was not what was planned for us. We had no idea that our lives would jump from moving from Houston, Texas to Melbourne, Australia to Edmond, Oklahoma in the past two years.
Watching God work to move us has been nothing short of awesome. So many things had to fall perfectly into place in order for this to have happened, and it did. Not a couple of things worked out exactly as it needed to... Every. Single. Thing. Every doubt was drowned in the overwhelming calm of such a strange twist in our lives. We only needed the faith and the courage to say "yes". Who knew that He would ask us to move to the other side of the world, just to bring us back to where we call home?

How amazing is it that our God put so much work, so much time, so much effort into seeing this through? Blake and I are no one. Who are we to deserve such love? Who are we to experience so much greatness?

This change is completely inconsistent from the career plan that we had always foreseen for Blake. His new job is completely different in so many ways from what he has been doing for the past eleven years. However, he can take so much of what he has learned in that time, especially the knowledge he has obtained from the past two years in Melbourne, to what he will be doing now.

I hope that what Blake can bring to this, what I can bring to this will glorify God in every way that He desires.
You see, Blake will now be serving as part of the leadership team at the place where my brother was married, where my mother's funeral was held, where my sister's journey in her faith strengthened and blossomed, and where my children will be attending school this year.

Beginning in October, Blake will be the Director of Finance and Administration at Crossings Community Church.

We have come home.

The Past Year (Part 1)

I hadn't realized that I have not written a post in almost a year.
Time has flown.

Things have been...
Well, I have a story. An amazing story that I'd like to share. It is sort of long, and it might be hard for me to properly explain, but I'm going to give it a solid shot.

I have thought long and hard about where this all began, and I can not quite pinpoint the start. So let me just jump back a bit. If you need a refresher on how we ended up in Australia, check out my post here.

Did you read it?
Ready for the next part?
Here we go.

We moved to Australia fully intending on being there for two or three years, maybe even longer. We moved our furniture all the way from America, and we applied (and were accepted) for a three-year visa. 

When we first moved into the apartment, Blake was not convinced that The Bar on Flinders Street would be a good long-term living solution for our time in Melbourne. Just in case it didn't work out, we signed only a twelve-month lease. 

After six months or so in our apartment, we began to reach out to our landlord, requesting an extension on our lease. Another year, another two years... Whatever he was okay with, we were okay with. We loved The Bar. It was in an ideal location, and we were anxious to really settle in.

His response surprised us. He wanted to sell his property. He wouldn't extend our lease, and we needed to make plans to move out. We, of course, had the option of purchasing the 25th floor apartment for a mere $2,000,000AUD. 

That's right. 
Two MILLION Australian dollars.

Obviously, that wasn't going to happen. 

Blake and I were upset. The place that we were calling "home" was, in fact, not our home, and we needed to find a new one. Quickly.  
We felt exposed and vulnerable. We were both now thirty-year-olds with two small children, and we had no place in the world that we felt where we belonged. 
This was a problem. 

The solution was whispered in the back of our minds...
"You don't have a home?
Why not?
It's simple. 
Buy yourself a house where you feel most at home.
No matter where you are in the world, you can always go home."

But that doesn't even make sense! 
We live in Australia! 
We don't know what is going to happen in the next couple of years, or even now! 

But then iron ore prices fell. Oil and gas prices plummeted. 
People began to lose their jobs left and right all over the world. 

Not only were we uncertain about where we were going to live in the next few months, but Blake's job could at any time not be guaranteed for the next year, month, or even day. 

We needed a plan; we needed a foundation, a sense of security. 
Not knowing what tomorrow was going to hold, we did what that little voice was whispering...

... We bought a house.

The Past Year (Part 2)


Things aren't crazy.
We aren't crazy.
People buy houses from the other side of the world all the time, right?

I'll be the first to admit that when we told our few close friends and family what our plans were, the response was normally a question or a look of confusion.

We bought a house in Oklahoma. 
We hadn't lived in Oklahoma in over ten years.
And, no, Blake wasn't looking for a job in Oklahoma.
What are we doing?

We pushed forward, moving our things out of storage and shipping most of our things from Australia back to the United States. To Oklahoma.
Blake moved our remaining items to a new apartment two blocks away from The Bar on Flinders Street.
The kids and I moved into our new home in Oklahoma and began to unpack.

Traveling back and forth between Oklahoma and Australia was intense. We weren't sure what kind of schedule we should establish on how much time to spend in one place or the other. Blake's current role would soon transition into a new one that could be anywhere in the world, and because of this, we didn't feel confident in settling anywhere for too long.

There were long stretches of time where our family was separated. During these periods of time, we doubted our decision to have a house in the States. It felt wrong for us to be apart. There were other times, though, that I rejoiced that I was close to my family.

Kelsey's graduation from nursing school
Mikey's 1st Major League game
Ella's 1st birthday

However, I mourned for Blake. Knowing he was across the ocean, across the world was hard. There really isn't a way to accurately describe it, but I imagine that more people than I realize can empathize in one way or another how I felt. 

Blake felt the same way that I did, only his sadness was very lonely. In order to maximize his time, he devoted more energy to the men's Bible study that he had joined before all of this began and for the first time, he began to read his Bible daily, reading it from cover to cover. The growth of Blake's understanding of God's Word would provide guidance for the decisions that he would soon have to make.