Today, we have officially lived in the Sunshine State of Florida for one month.
(This is humorous given that it has rained 80 percent of our time here.)
It’s hard to believe that just 4 weeks ago we packed up everything we owned and left the place we love to go on God’s great adventure once again. I remember moving day like yesterday and the very thought still brings strong emotions to the forefront. I cried when we pulled out of our driveway for the last time watching the moving van load its final load before the drastic haul down South. I will always remember the prayer from my sweet friend as she wiped away tears from my face standing in the foyer for the very last time. Just one hour before this very moment, I had nursed my baby in the carpeted floor of our bare bedroom, reminiscing over the weekend when we had moved in and those walls that were once covered with a hideous safari green. For the last time, we had eaten Chick-fila with our close friends, standing up in our kitchen, fighting over the Chick-fila Sauce while watching the movers through the garage window and offering them a chicken sandwich. As each box left, the smells of the empty house reminded me of that very day we had closed on our first Wilmington home, just two years (to the date) prior.
As the last load was being carried out, I decided to walk the halls once more and as I did, tears streamed down my face as I let go of what was before in order to step into what was to become.
I prayed over each room and I asked that the same blessings that were given to us in that little home, would multiply for the next buyer and that she would appreciate those walls as much as we did. As my friend and I stood praying, crying and letting go, I could feel His strength well up inside of me like never before, ready to carry me through the journey ahead.
We spent that last 12 hours with family and friends living it up, soaking up every last ounce of the town that we loved and the people that filled it. We met friends at the park the evening before we left and all I can say about this was it will forever be imprinted in our minds. Your words, your faces, your encouragement, your tears… all of it. You stole our hearts in 4 years, but that memory, that moment when we stood back and saw all of you people there to celebrate our new season, that will be remembered for a lifetime.
The next day and a 12 hour drive later, we had arrived in our new town. As we drove through the sky line of downtown Tampa around 10:30 that evening, I wiped back my own tears because I was overwhelmed, scared and uncertain by my new normal. I couldn’t possibly fathom how this small town girl was going to make it in such unfamiliar circumstances. Just before 11pm, we pulled up to our apartment. Our new home. The home I had yet to even see. I believe God had us arrive at night so that I couldn’t see “the whole picture” and try to figure it all out. He simply wanted me to climb up those stairs, go straight into our new place and call it a day. Tomorrow, would bring new perspective and daylight and He knew it… Things are a lot less intimidating when the light enters in.
That night, surrounded by boxes, we poured cheap wine into coffee mugs and rested in our new city. It was overwhelming and sad and exciting and scary and adventurous all in one, but what we recognized right away was that God had been preparing us all along the way.
God had sent Wade 32 days prior to our new city. He had gone before us, just as our Father does. He had walked through all of the emotions of being scared and lonely and homesick. Therefore, in the upcoming weeks, when us ladies would feel those same emotions (but intensified of course because we are women), Wade could then help us walk through them. Otherwise, I think we would have been one big mess, packed it all back up and called it a short vacation.
Over the past four weeks, we have journeyed this new life together. We have grown closer as a family in ways that we never imagined and we have navigated through some of the hardest, but yet best of the best times. We have seen first hand that despite how we may feel, God has us here for a divine purpose and we are excited about the days ahead.
In upcoming weeks, I hope to write about all that God has shown us thus far in our Florida journey and the beginning visions of why we think we are here. And like most of my 33 years, once again God has highlighted that man may plan his path, but God will determine the steps.
I hope that our story encourages others who are navigating or are about to navigate through unchartered waters. Possibly, our story will give you the motivation you need to propel you into something that God is calling you to do. I hope that this glimpse into our life will somehow help you to know that as we may face fear, God has a plan and has gone before us. As it’s been said many of times by some of my favorite people…
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is doing it afraid.
Thanks for journeying with us.