Feb 16, 2016

The Move

"So how is California?" people always ask.

And I look at them a bit dumbfounded. I hear this question at least once a week and yet I never know how to respond.

Good. Crazy. Confusing. Expensive. Exciting. A million adjectives run through my mind.

I usually answer with something rather ambiguous... "Umm... pretty good, I guess" or the more straightforward, "I don't know."

Because I don't really know how California is. The postmaster might have changed our address four months ago, I still don't feel like I really live here.

I'm not sure why this is. A combination of factors I suppose. Maybe it's the fact that we've been back in Arizona every 3 or 4 weeks. At the end of October to sell our house and pack our furniture. At the end of November for Thanksgiving. For almost two weeks over Christmas and New Years. At the end of January for my defense. And once more at the end of this month for Micah to run a marathon. After that, we probably won't go back for a few months and then, maybe, it will feel real.

Or maybe it's the fact that we are moving again in just a few months. We signed a six month lease at our current home, which means we will move again this spring. Instead of crying over the idea of packing up everything once again, I am choosing to embrace it as an opportunity to purge everything more thoroughly than ever before. {Okay, and I might shed a tear or two as well.}

Maybe it's that we aren't sure where to move to... I am applying for academic jobs left and right, and we are hoping to know where I'll be teaching next school year in the coming weeks. Do we stay near our current neighborhood? Do we need to move 20 miles north to shorten our commutes? Is California a 1-2 year adventure for us? Or are we staying here for good? Are we more like a house plant that can thrive almost anywhere or should we be sinking deep roots in the sun-kissed SoCal soil?

Maybe it's because up until today we didn't have a church {but I think we've found one!}. Micah and I are not church-hoppers. We truly believe that when you move, you should find a good church quickly and get involved. If the teaching is sound and the congregation is faithful, it's good enough for us. We don't care if the music is from a hymnal or sounds like a rock concert. We have gone to mega-churches and tiny church plants. We are not picky, but finding a church here has been quite a journey. Aside from the fact that we've been in Arizona every third Sunday, we've run into some hazy theology at churches we thought, at first, we were going to love. That sent us on the hunt again, and we've now spent months giving campuses first and second visits and having no place to call home. Usually, we try to go to church as close to our house as possible - a few miles away at most. But in the back of our minds, we keep thinking, "Should we get involved where we live now if we are likely to move five cities away in just a few months?" I'm happy to say that I think we've found a place to settle for now, but we've gone four long months with no community group, no Bible studies, no consistency on the church front.

I feel like our current home is more like a tent than a house. It's a temporary dwelling, and we're just passing through. This is the house where we lived when Micah started a new job. This is the house that sheltered me as I tapped out those final words on my dissertation. I am thankful for this house, but I know it's not my home.

So right now, we wait. We don't know what California holds for us. We don't know where we will live or go to church three months from now. We don't know where I will work next year or what's in store for Micah's job. We long for friends. For stability. For a neighborhood to call ours.

But we will wait for the Lord. And we will trust that He is good. The Israelites used to move into tents for a week each year to celebrate God's faithfulness in bringing them through the desert to the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 16:13). As I pack up boxes again in these coming weeks, I hope my heart remembers that God is guiding us on a journey. He is doing a new thing. He is bringing us to a new land. And where we end up in the coming months or years doesn't really matter. I pray we will will steward our present house well - practice hospitality, love our neighbors, serve a church, frequent local businesses - even as our garage fills with boxes for yet another move. Yes, this move to California feels long and hard, but may the discomfort of transition remind me that my citizenship is heaven, a home that is stable, secure, and eternal.


  1. Veronica Lee Burns2/16/16, 6:23 AM

    Oh this was so good for me to read, your last paragraph just hit it home. We are looking to move at some point in the future across states and it's been scary/sad/exciting to think about. Thank you for reminding me that no matter what our citizenship is in heaven, a secure and stable home forever.

  2. Mommy Girl2/22/16, 12:10 AM

    Welcome to Cali!! Where in CA did you move to? I grew up in Nor Cal and have now lived in So Cal for 20+ years. There are a lot of great churches if you haven't found one yet! Hope you enjoy the new adventure!

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