Ten years ago on this date my family drove up to a split level house on a quiet street with a basketball hoop out front. To my twelve year old eyes, everything was foreign and new, and I was not happy. The move from Southern California to central Kentucky had uprooted us from the only life I had ever known. God had called our family away from the familiar into a new land, and I had no choice but to go along with it.
It’s fun looking back on the time now because so much has changed. Our family has beheld God’s glory and we have seen Him provide in ways that have completely changed us. Those four years we spent in Kentucky the first time were definitely growing years for us. We grew closer together because we had to. We learned how to serve together. We learned how to communicate better and how seek God together.
During that time I started learning what it meant to follow God, not because He called my parents, but because He was calling me too.
Then when we left Kentucky in 2009 to pastor a small church in Ohio, we weren’t the same family who had moved in four years earlier.
Our adventures in Ohio were a whole other beast. We learned to live with little and in less-than-ideal circumstances. We adjusted to doing ministry and dealt with the expectations people had of the pastor’s family. We also had a few laughs and scares thanks to the creatures that lived in the woods behind our apartment.
During that time I learned a lot about prayer and was overwhelmed when God answered a two year prayer for our family to be able to make a trip out to California. I learned how to be a friend, and I learned a lot about myself and what I’m made to do. I also learned how to discern God’s leading.
It was in Ohio that I struggled with where to go to college and had to trust God to get me through without debt. It was in Ohio where I felt so richly blessed and loved and stretched. It was in Ohio that we faced a lot of hurt as a family, but it was also in Ohio where people who barely knew us, surrounded us and cared for us and helped us heal.
And it was during our last year in Ohio that we started thinking about the next leg of the adventure. Where would God lead us next? Mom and I started praying together, asking for God’s guidance and eventually praying that He would bring us back to Kentucky somehow.
Now we’ve been here for the last two years and daily face new challenges, new joys, new opportunities for growth. We’re facing struggles and changes. But as I sit here and look back over the last ten years since our journey began, I know we are not the same.
God has transformed us in this journey as we made the choice to follow Him.
In this journey I have seen God’s love like I’ve never known. I’ve watched Him provide for our family for many years when neither of my parents had jobs. I’ve seen God’s grace in the trips we’ve been able to make to visit family and the blessing it has been for my grandparents to come and visit nearly every summer. I’ve seen God’s peace in the many transitions our family has faced together. I’ve seen God’s promise stand true–He has never once abandoned us to do this journey on our own. He has been here every step, in every change and season.
God has been faithful.
Just like with Abraham, Moses, the disciples, Paul and so many others throughout history–when God shows up and His glory is revealed, when He calls us our of the familiar and intro relationship with Him, we are transformed. We are made to look like Christ. We are able to look upon His face, unveiled and completely open with Him. We find freedom in His presence.
God is so good and I am so thankful for the places He has taken us and the ways He has changed us. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but I wouldn’t change anything. God is faithful. And I’m excited to see where our family will be in the next ten years.
To God be all glory, honor, and praise!
Live in His love!