Adventures in Moving to Michigan (here...almost)

Moving is hard.  Everyone knows that. Especially with a family of 5. It's a funky combo of fun and scary to be "almost" here.  Less than 6 days away from being "here" in Michigan for good. A one way ticket (for 4 out of 5 of us) from SAN to GRR is days away. I can't really think too much about being here without Tim or I get a little teary. I am not a crier, but lately tears come a little too easily.  A familiar, helpful, safe face to see every day in the midst of major change would be really...well awesome. So for a bit I get to single-mom-it while Tim sell's our house and figures things out (like a job for him).

Everyone asks...why HERE? Why Michigan? Like who would leave San Diego to come here? Well...here is one good reason:
A backyard! We paid $320k for a brand spankin new 3 story townhouse (with NO backyard!) in San Diego. Look what you can get near Grand Rapids....a new home from the 170's. A backyard. A basement. Room to play.  Not too shabby!

We've also been so BLESSED to have a new church family. All of whom are essentially strangers, yet lovin on us like family.  Extending hospitality to us by helping us find clothes for kids (they have been wearing school uniforms since kindergarten and have like ZERO real clothes unless you count summer clothes). We feel soooo loved by our middle school ministry, co-workers, staff and volunteers who helped us haul heavy bunk beds up flights of stairs, put together furniture,  toddler proof our rental, pick up Craiglist finds for me, or help us figure out schools and daycare and helping out in a bazillion other ways both big and small. Making Michigan feel a little more like home.

Here in Grand Rapids is a familiar face....the oldest son of a good friend of ours lives in Grand Rapids. He has graciously been shuttling us around and dropping us off at the airport while giving us an insider scoop on neighborhoods and restaurants.  He also took us to Art Prize! That was a blast! It's beautiful to see how God provides a tiny bit of familiar in the midst of major change.
At Art Prize! 
Sitting at church on Sunday (here in Grand Rapids for the weekend!) I was able to listen to a sermon called "Here" and I almost wept right there in my seat. As the Sunday message deeply resonated with us both, my husband and I looked at each other, held hands and said "here is home" to each other. Both having experienced a lot of "Golden Ticket" theology. Where youth ministry is seen as successful if and only if you hand out enough golden tickets...as though the whole world is going to hell unless I guilt, shame, scare, confuse, pressure, or bribe students into grabbing a Jesus golden ticket to heaven. Isn't salvation more than that? I just can't go back to the way it was...of high pressure altar calls and decision cards. It doesn't fit the way I am wired to journey with students.

Why Michigan? It was as if someone read my mind....looked at my past week (or past 18 months!) and put together a sermon just for me. Life giving to my soul. Sitting in a plastic chair on a Sunday in an old mall, I entered a sacred space (in Grand Rapids) where God met me right where I was. He undeniably gifted me with a place I can lead and serve students. Where I can be who I am and step up to all I was created to be.  A place where gender isn't a limitation.  A church having "great confidence God will restore all of creation under the authority of Christ. We believe every church has to ask the question: 'What does it look like for us to live out that future reality today'?” Yup Pretty much. That's why we {heart} Michigan.

Listen to the sermon Here 3 (from 9/29/13) if you want to unpack the whole "golden ticket" style of evangelism vs living the reality of God actually being present {here}with us.

Excited to be {almost} here...!  
And a Switchfoot (woot woot for a San Diego band!) song to sum it all up...This is Home

I've got my memories
Always inside of me
But I can't go back
Back to how it was
I believe you now
I've come too far
No I can't go back
Back to how it was

Created for a place I've never known

This is home
Now I'm finally where I belong
Where I Belong
Yeah, this is home
I've been searching for a place of my own
Now I've found it
Maybe this is home
This is home


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