I've been debating on when to write this post. It seems like the story isn't over yet. But it may never really be over. So, we'll just call this part 1 and continue from here as we go.
My last post was about our trip to Denver and New Mexico. I posted about the happenings of that trip but saved most of the important stuff for this post.
James has been on staff at our Texas church (both under the name Four Corners and The Ranch) for 6 years. There have been financial struggles at the church really that entire time, but we thought the sale of the Four Corners building and our move to the leased space at the Ranch would resolve all of that. We learned shortly before our July 4th trip that it wasn't the case. I'll spare you some of the details as they're really to personal to publicize, but the events of the late spring and early summer had us seeking God intently for direction. We very much love the people in this church and honestly had no desire to make a change. James and I spent our time in New Mexico in July listening for what God wanted us to do. By the end of that trip, we were certain our time at The Ranch would be short. This was a sad realization but also a very clear one.
About 3 years ago, God spoke clearly to James that he was being called to be a lead pastor. This is something James never expected, but he was obedient and has been mentoring under our pastor ever since to learn how to write and deliver sermons, etc. So, of course knowing we needed to leave our church also meant a job change for James. We were not naive to the fact that God could call us anywhere. There are a lot of churches in Dallas, and God is certainly able to open up a position there for James. We knew he may or may not choose to do that, so we worked at opening up our hearts to whatever God had.
I'll admit...I love Texas. I mean, I really really love Texas. I wanted to raise my kids in Texas and live there forever. When we first started discussing that a move was a possibility, I was dead set against it. But, as he does so well, God changed my heart rather abruptly. We left Denver in July thinking, "Okay, we have to leave the Ranch soon, and God may ask us to move. If he does, Denver wouldn't be so bad." That was exactly where we were at.
When we got home, we really didn't share these thoughts with others at first. We were just praying and continuing to seek direction. What was amazing, though, is that God used our friends and acquaintances to insert references to Denver into countless conversations we had during the few weeks after our return. And these people weren't just referring to our trip there. They'd mention Denver in what seemed to be completely random ways. None of them knew we were even thinking about moving at that point. By the end, it almost felt like God was yelling "You're supposed to go to DENVER!"
So, I remember one conversation we had in our closet in late July. I asked James how sure he was that we were going to Denver. He was at 70% at that point. We continued to get confirmation that we needed to go. We went on a previously planned beach trip with our friends, the Turners, and spent more time in prayer. James had a dream that resulted in us knowing this would be a leap of faith. God was asking us to go to Denver before there would be clarity on James' job. Do you think we were acting crazy? I thought so. I wasn't comfortable with going before the job, either, but God changed my heart again really quickly.
Gratefully, I had the whole month of August off of work as I still had a month of leave left. The first week was our beach trip. The second week, we started getting the house staged to put it on the market. We got it ready and on the market by the end of the second week in August. We decided James would go up to Denver the second half of August to job hunt. Since I was off, we decided to go as a family.
My aunt and uncle live in Littleton, a southwest suburb of Denver. They were kind enough to let us stay with them in August and also offered to let us stay in their basement for a while when we moved. James got two separate job leads during that time, so it was a fruitful trip. Also during that trip, I got confirmation that my employer was going to let me work remotely from Denver 3 weeks out of 4 at my same job. That was a huge blessing and another door opened.
At the beginning of August when we realized we'd be moving soon, we struggled with what to do with Ellie's schooling. We learned that there's a public online school in Colorado called COVA that we started Ellie in. It's basically homeschooling with teacher support. It's been fun so far, but we're thinking that once James starts his job, we'll put her back in public. The flexibility in location has been exactly what we needed during this season, and she's doing great with it.
We originally thought we'd make the move in early October. My aunt and uncle started finishing out their basement in August. We realized that it wouldn't be finished until late October or November, so we decided to set our move date for 10/28.
We got a contract on our house in late September and set the close date for the Friday before we left. We were super excited, but sadly it fell through the Monday before we left. We were disappointed, but we know God has it under control. In fact, God has already shown us a potential reason why, so we're trusting.
After also being hit with the stomach virus the week before our move, a bunch of our sweet friends came to say goodbye and help us load the Uhauls on the 27th. We filled one 26ft. truck and then had to get another 20ft. truck which we also filled. We got a car transport and loaded the Maxima on it. We finished loading and cleaning by 8pm and went ahead and got on the road to get started. We made it to Wichita Falls. Nathan's car seat was in the middle seat in my truck, and the girls took turns in the passenger seat of both trucks. We were a sight, but the trip went well. The kids did fabulous. We made it to Denver by 10pm on the 28th.
We've been getting settled in. James had his interview with one church on Thursday night. It's for a mentorship position where he would ultimately plant and lead a church in 2-4 years. The interview went really well, and we should hear back in a few weeks. If he gets it, he would start in early January. The basement is still in progress, so we're staying upstairs right now. James and Bill have been taking the girls on lots of hikes, and we also already found a preschool for Emma that we really like. We'll start looking for a house sometime after James starts his job and our house sells. UPDATE: James got the job! He's working out details this week and should start at the first of the year!!
I'm so excited to see what God has for us here. It's going to be life changing. I feel like we're at that point in our life where you look back from here and the past 6-8 years have been preparing us for this. And we'll look back to this moment and know that this is when everything changed. What an amazing place to be! We welcome your prayers as we continue this journey. Stay tuned for part 2!