On Sunday in church, a friend leans over the row of chairs holding each of my family members and whispers to H, “I walked by your empty office on Friday and felt sad.”
I haven’t visited his office since he packed books and mementos in boxes and moved the desk that was once his fathers into our storage space. I think the sadness might be too much for my heart.
Sad, not because he is leaving a title, position or a paycheck, but because the season of important work and influence for the Kingdom in this particular setting is finished. We don’t have complete clarity about the details regarding our future yet but we know we’ll miss the people; our everyday anchors in this particular port of our faith journey.
“I know, it feels surreal,” I responded, nodding in agreement.
Photos by Emily Elizabeth Photography
It’s a bittersweet time for us. I’ve wanted to tell you about it, but like most stories, the parts keep moving, the plot shifts, the characters expand beyond my ability to communicate about them. Perfectionism keeps me from sharing.
Somewhere in this process, I forgot that you must read the messy middle chapters of my story in order to appreciate the fulfillment in the last.
We are moving to England this summer.
There. I said it. I feel better now.
For those of you who know me in the flesh or who have read here for any period of time, I know you’re smiling about this announcement. Our love for England rooted nearly two decades ago when God spoke to me in a vision during a prayer time with H.
It’s why when we sensed God say now about moving to London, H said yes and resigned from his executive position before knowing all the details. Risky? Yes. But comfortably attached to the familiar has never been a high value for us, or any leader with broad influence for that matter.
Whenever I watch BBC or The Holiday for the umpteenth time, when I read novels like Me Before You, The Secret Keeper or The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry or when someone tells me that my garden reminds them of England, something wakes up inside of me, like there is more to my life than what I’ve experienced.
It is a sacred longing in my sinews, only comprehensible to the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly, I want to give all my possessions away to anyone who wants them and move my family to London. Perhaps this is what falling deeply in love with our Savior looks like. I’m smitten, gloriously ruined* for His presence and providence.
“Like the dormant gene that wakes with the dawn of our adolescence, rousing us toward adulthood, moments like these reveal we are destined for greater things than make-believe adventures in the fenced-in yards of our youth.” ~Ken Gire
I’m living in the tension of transition, that middle place of leaving the comfort of the present to wade through muddy waters in shoes, heavy with each unknown step. Weary with waiting but fully committed toward the fulfillment on the shores of promise.
Did I mention that word trust chose me at the start of the New Year?
I knew that I would need to trust Him for inspiration as I signed with an agent on my first book, that my daughter would be graduating from high school and stepping into a whole new chapter of adulthood. I knew that I would have to trust Him for finances to send her to college and trust Him for the things that seem to be stagnating instead of moving forward. But this international move with all its unknown variables makes those other things look like the playground of childhood.
“But heaven, heaven escapes our grasp. We can’t hold it any more than a leaf can hold sky.” ~Ken Gire
The longing that we have for England isn’t like satiating hunger with a hamburger, thirst with a drink or filling emptiness with a movie; it is a hole that can only be filled with our Yes. The more we taste His yearning for us, the more intense our appetite.
We are pilgrims on a surreal journey. Harvesting mystery and sharing it with you, our people.
Stay tuned. Over the next few months, I’m telling you about our wild adventure and the ways God is transforming us through it. I want to know what that sacred longing looks like for you, what things call it up to the surface. Join me?
*”Gloriously ruined” is terminology I borrowed from Kay Warren when she spoke from the Royal Albert Hall last month. I look forward to sharing more in future posts about her inspired thoughts.