Friday, April 12, 2013

Breathe {inspiration for any day}

The last {breathe} post I wrote, I announced our upcoming move to Denver.  We are really excited, and sad too - to leave people here in the Pacific Northwest.  As I've encountered friends, acquaintances, and clients, many have given me a quizzical look that says, "Why Denver?  What is the story behind it all?"  I thought I'd share a little of our Denver-journey-story with you here:

Warning:  This may be one of the longest {breathe} posts I have ever written!!

First, let me give you some backstory details that might be helpful.  One:  my husband was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and I spent 24 years living there too.  We lived in a land with lots of sunshine and blue skies...and warm temperatures.  Two:  our children go to a school that covers sixth through tenth grade (yes, I know that sounds odd, but it is a great school and Washington has lots of options for 11th and 12th graders).  Our daughter is in tenth grade this year and we knew that would mean a change for her next year anyway.  Three:  we had a growing desire to live near some family.  Four:  I have not really fared well in the rain, darkness and clouds here in the area and have really struggled with depression.  Five:  while we are so, so grateful for my husband's job, his commute to work takes him out of the house way too early and puts him home way too late.

Put all those factors together and you get a light sketch of where we were at the beginning of this school year.  After living here for six years, we knew we had some decisions to make about the future.  Being people of deep faith, and believing the decision is not just ours alone, but God has a say in it too, we began to pray.  We invited our kids to pray with us and many times of prayer were simply occasions of laying questions out on the table and then being quiet.  Answers did not come immediately and the silence we lived with was really difficult.  Add to that our not knowing whether we could actually sell our house (or if we would need to short sell or foreclose), and you can be sure the anxiety level was rising.

One of the things I have learned in life is that we are not meant to walk our journey alone, and so in the midst of all this we invited a small group of faith-filled friends to join us in praying for us and speaking their wisdom into our situation.  I wish I could share with you all the amazing words we got from them and how we wept (yes, wept!) over some of the emails they wrote as they shared with us what they believed God had given to them to tell us.  However, one friend gave us a piece of wisdom that I think has become a metaphor for our entire journey thus far.  He said, "Go rattle the handles and see which doors God opens."

And so we did.  We knew we wanted to live in a place with family and sunshine, so that narrowed down the possible destinations immensely.  We knew it would be either Phoenix or Denver.  

One of my greatest fears in this whole endeavor was for my children.  I wanted the move to be good for them...relationally, and academically.  So I took my fear to God and laid it before Him,  He was going to need to provide a school (or schools) for them that were such great fits, my fear would subside.  In the late fall, I came across two charter schools in the Denver area that seemed to be total long-shots, but great places for each child.  I put their name in the lotteries - one school has 800 kids on the waiting list and the other has 300 - and waited (and prayed).   That was my version of "rattling the handles" and amazingly, the doors swung widely open!  Both kids got into the schools of their choice (by lottery drawing!!)

Somewhere in the process of all this (remember I am trying to shorten this so I don't bore you!), through lots of prayer and conversations, we made up our minds to turn our faces and feet toward the Denver area.  My next major, seemingly insurmountable, hurdle was a job for my husband.  Totally not sure what he was going to do or where he would even begin to look and yet with a growing desire to stay with his current company. While there are lots of twists and turns to the story, the bottom line is, he went to his boss (rattled the handle), explained our situation yet his loyalty to the company, and got the go-ahead to just work from the Denver area!!  Another door just swung wide open!

(I, also, will try to build a business in the Denver area.  If you know of anyone there....)

While I am not a runner by any means, what I would NEVER do is be a hurdler.  The thought of having to run AND jump over obstacles in my way, in my mind is just ridiculous!!  In many ways, that is the race I've been running since late fall.  We seem to clear one barricade and then I can see the next one coming up...really quickly!!  For us, that next hurdle was housing...both here and in Colorado.

We managed to buy a home in the HOT, HOT, HOT Denver market (actually the home is in Highlands Ranch) without ever really seeing it.  My cousin did all the leg work for me and sent me iPhone pictures until we settled on the house that would be right for us.  (We actually ended up with two homes for a brief time....across the street from each other!!)  We are in the process of closing on that home now.  THEN came the daunting task of getting out current home on the market.  Just a few short months ago, we didn't know if we would have to walk away with nothing or even short sell, but we have this FABULOUS real estate agent who gave us hope.  Evidently the housing market in our area is improving (who knew??) and we put the house on the market.  Four days later we were under contract!!  My head is spinning by how quickly this is all happening!  (And by the fact that we will actually get money out of our house!!  CRAZY!!)  Rattling the handles has seemed to unlock a bunch of doors!

Our last big hurdle is was the fact that we need to be out of our house a month earlier than we thought.  I put a subtle hint (ie. big SOS) to some friends in the area and just today had a sweet friend offer their house to us!  It will be tight with our two families, but they will be out of town for some of our stay, so we won't drive them crazy for too long!!  Again...a huge answer to prayer!!

So I am sure there are more hurdles up ahead in the road, but for now I've stopped creating or worrying about them.  I am choosing not to be fearful and instead, rejoice!  God is never obligated to do what I want Him to and sometimes He asks us to endure tough stuff.  However, when He swings opens doors after we've rattled handles, I am not going to question it at all.  I am not going to look over my shoulder waiting for a door to slam.  I am simply going to say THANK YOU and enjoy!!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

1 comment:

Carol said...

BEAUTIFUL...your masterful writing and the doors; your faithful trust in God and wise qualifiers approaching a move; and the joy of receiving the specific and awesome provision of God! So so happy for you and your family. I do know two families in Denver you must meet. Call me. :-)