Moving to Charlottesville: The Spiritual Backstory

Welcome to 2012, and to Change

So… now that it’s 2012 and not 2007, how about I start blogging again? (Now there’s a hiatus!) Here’s a long entry to kick things off. There’s a lot to cover here.

Rough Waters in Radford & Richmond

It’s been no secret that we’ve never felt entirely settled in Radford over the years. There were several times we thought we were supposed to stay here and even buy a house, but each time we got close, it seemed like we were being blocked. And we thought for some time that maybe the Richmond area was for us, or maybe even Powhatan, where Rosie grew up. But once again, nothing seemed to pan out or feel quite right. It’s as if we were stuck in la-la land waiting… but for what?

Reboot, Restore, Re…locate?

Moving on to Ash Wednesday 2012, I decided to take the season of Lent pretty darn seriously, with several purposes in mind:

  1. Reboot my relationship with God & prepare my heart for Easter through prayer, fasting, Bible & devotional reading, and journaling.
  2. Get serious about connecting more with people (including more social networking, but purposefully doing so.)
  3. See if I can’t hear from the Lord what the heck it is we’re supposed to do next.

Item #1 has been a blast, and I hope to write more about that soon. Item #2 was mostly a non-starter up until the last few weeks.

Which brings us to the weekend of March 9, 2012, where a combination of unexpected job leads and freelance work inquiries prompted me to believe that this was THE weekend to seek God about the question of “What’s next?” This also happened to be the weekend where we went to visit Peter & Sarah and their kids (our nieces and nephew).

A Change of Heart

As we embarked on our weekend, I was fully expecting to get some sort of direction most likely Richmond, or maybe Virginia Beach—or maybe even just to stick it out in Radford. But not Charlottesville. Nothing against the place, it’s just that we were never interested in moving there, and didn’t want to be seen as “just tagging along.”

But there we were Saturday afternoon. I was watching some of the kids while Pete watched the others so that Rosie & Sarah could go out for some sister time. As this time progressed, I became more and more depressed as I reflected and prayed on the fact that I felt so directionless. Meanwhile, the ladies were off having a blast exploring Charlottesville together.

When Rosie returned, she told me all about how much more Charlottesville has to offer uniquely for families, and how it seemed to her that “All signs are pointing to Charlottesville.” And as we talked about it more, we both strangely agreed and felt at peace that we thought we were supposed to go ahead and take the plunge and plan on moving there even though neither of us had a thing lined up yet. (I’m going to write a separate post later on what is drawing us there.)

Confirmation

We both agreed to let it sink in for a few days before making any official decisions. We were hoping to get some confirmation, but we also wanted to give God the opportunity to put on the brakes. Because, you know, we don’t always hear Him perfectly each time.

Our first confirmation was the simple fact that we were actually at peace and in agreement that we should jump in and do this. It’s not really typical of our personalities to go out on this long of a limb, and I think if this were not from the Lord that we would have instead argued bitterly about it.

The second confirmation came through, unfortunately, an incredibly frightening dream that I had on the following Sunday night, which can only be described as a direct spiritual attack. I won’t go into details, but I will say that there is some comfort in knowing that the enemy doesn’t tend to expend much energy trying to thwart someone who is already headed in the wrong direction. Conversely, if you start standing up and standing out and following Jesus, then this does make you something of a target. But He has conquered death, so we’ve got all the protection we could ever need or imagine!

The third confirmation has been the encouragement from others that we’ve received. Stories of people taking similar risks. Connections in Cville that I didn’t know I had through my very supportive colleagues at Radford University.

Of course, I take this last one with a grain or two of salt, because once you tell someone you’re doing something grand, then of course that person will at least sound supportive. But as I’ve gone down the list of people to tell in person before officially announcing it, I’ve been amazed at how many offers of references and referrals I’ve gotten. Nonetheless, it’s so encouraging to know that I’ve grown a pretty large fan base since working at RU Printing Services.

Stepping Out On Faith. It’s Crazy.

Much of God’s working things together only comes after we act on faith. I likely would not have known how much support we have unless we started telling friends, family and coworkers what we’re doing (We also gave two month’s notice to our landlord, so we’re pretty much committed to at least moving at the end of May.)

There have been some other important confirmations that I can’t go into right now, but this has proven to us how, when we step out on faith, we unlock the right doors for God to then open.

As of this writing, we’re a little bit over a month away from the end of May (see the countdown on the right of this page.) Rosie has a potential full-time teaching position, and I’ve got a bunch of leads as well. We’ll be pursuing all of these, along with potential places to live, when we visit Cville this weekend through Tuesday.

And there’s a lot to be done on top of the job/house (or apt) hunt. This whole thing of deciding to leave your secure full-time job to move somewhere without a job offer in-hand is a little bit crazy. My boss is a bit worried, and reminds me that it “kind of goes against the grain.” It certainly does. I don’t know if I’ll have one full-time job, or several part-time/freelance/contract arrangements.

Rest assured that this is not the order of operations that we would have picked, but we are confident that God is leading us to move forward this way.

I’m excited (and a bit nervous) to see just what exactly we’ll be doing for jobs, and where we’ll live, and especially to be stepping into something that has God’s purpose behind it… even if we’re still a bit foggy on the details.