A little over 4 years ago, I sat on a stage in front of the women’s Bible study group I had been teaching all year, and I cried my eyes out. I was perched on a chair, my chest heaving in ugly, cry-face sobs, while women laid hands on me and prayed over me. Ike and I had made the decision to move to the Chicago area for school, and although we knew God was calling us, I was heartbroken. North Carolina was my home, and the thought of leaving was nearly unbearable.
Four years later, a lot has changed. Ike and I are almost done with school, but more importantly we have a son. We’ve learned a lot about the Chicago area, how friendly Midwesterners are, how to survive the winters, and why Chicago style pizza and hotdogs are different than anywhere else.
Four years later, I never imagined I would leave Illinois with the same agonizing grief. But that’s exactly where we find ourselves right now. It’s time to go home, and although we are thrilled, it’s also been one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made.
Ike and I are not yet done with our degrees, but for various reasons we came to the decision that it was time to pick up and head back south. I won’t pretend that this past winter, which basically ended last week, didn’t have something to do with it. I pretty much never wanna see snow again.
But more importantly, we miss our families. Both sets of our families live in North Carolina, and we’ve missed a lot over the years–birthdays, holidays, and just the everyday family dinners–we’ve been gone for a lot of them, and it’s been painful. Especially since our son was born.
So after a lot of prayer and seeking God, we feel this is the right decision. What makes it so hard, though, is how much we love our church, and particularly our small group. Ike and I have been leading a small group of young married and engaged couples that we absolutely adore. Living life with them has been the most wonderful honor and gift, and leaving this little community that we have built is just plain awful.
But we believe this is the right decision. Moving back home is a tremendous act of faith because we don’t have a lot of the details worked out, and if there’s anything you can pray for us about, it’s that. Between finishing our dissertations and figuring out our finances, we’re not quite sure how it’s all going to work out, but we’re trusting that God goes before us, and we only need to worry about today.
So to all our friends in Illinois, we love you so much and we are so grateful for the friendships we’ve formed here. Some of them are surely lifelong. You are the reason this decision was one of the hardest of our lives.
To our friends in North Carolina, we’re finally coming home! And we can’t wait to see you!
And to everyone else, thank you in advance for your prayers! The adventure continues…