What would life be like if we hadn’t moved to Kansas 10 years ago?
This isn’t a question I ponder much. I’m typically not overly sentimental or prone toward melancholy. I make plenty of mistakes, but I don’t second guess big decisions very often.
I like to move on, already.
Last week, though, when I was poking around on Twitter, I started seeing people we used to know when we lived in Arkansas. I might be able to chalk it up to my already cloudy mood, but seeing all those names and faces sent me down a trail I usually try to avoid.
What if we hadn’t moved?
We had an opportunity to relocate to the area where I grew up a year before we actually did. After extensive thought, prayer and counsel, Randy and I both firmly felt the no. The door was open, but it was not for us.
A year later, the same opportunity surfaced again, and this time—just as firmly—we sensed the yes.
So we finished out the 2,200-square-foot basement of the home we had recently built and put the house on the market. Six months later—house still unsold—we went to China to adopt our second daughter, came home and moved to Kansas.
Today, there’s not much in our lives that looks the way we once envisioned it would. The job that brought Randy here wasn’t what he expected, and he left a few years later, disappointed and disillusioned.
The Great Recession hit shortly after that, forcing our family into an unexpected chapter of new jobs, layoffs, downsizing and out-of-town work. God provided, sustained and guided, but it was hard.
There has been good amid the hard, of course. My parents, who live in a nearby city, have gone through monumental transitions in recent years. They’ve needed us—our physical presence, especially—and we’ve been here to help.
Lilly and Molly have had wonderful teachers at school. They’ve learned to adapt, to live through the kind of change that I never experienced until I went to college. They are better for it—I am sure of that.
I’ve learned flexibility and developed friendships that have affected my life in deep, profound ways.
But still the question persists: What if we hadn’t moved?
When we were pondering moving the first time, I had a heart-to-heart talk with one of my mentors.
“What if we make a mistake?” I asked her. “What if we pray and sincerely feel God leading us there, and we get it wrong? What if we find out after we move that we should have stayed in Arkansas?
Her response was simple. God knew our hearts, she told me. And if we moved to Kansas after careful thought and prayer, only to find out later that it was a mistake, He would not abandon us there.
That truth has sustained me through some difficult days. But although things haven’t turned out how we had planned, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should have stayed.
Sure, it might be easier to point the finger and blame ourselves for what might—in retrospect—seem like a bad decision. It’s harder to say it wasn’t a mistake—that moving to Kansas was part of part of God’s unseen design for us, and for the people around us who have needed us.
I feel the weight of this statement. I don’t toss it out like a Christian cliché intended to end an uncomfortable conversation (or wrap up a blog post). But even as my eyes cloud over with tears, I hold fast to these words with fierce determination, because I believe that they are true.
I have no idea what life would be like if we hadn’t moved. We’ve had some tough times here, but we may have had even tougher times there. There’s no way of knowing, really.
What I do know is this: God is faithful. He loves us. And everything that has happened in our lives since we moved to Kansas has been rooted in His good purposes.
That doesn’t really answer my original question, but it’s the only answer I have.
And I’m choosing to be OK with that.
P.S. Linking up this week with Abby McDonald at the RaRaLinkup, Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, Lyli Dunbar at ThoughtProvokingThursday, Crystal Storms at #HeartEncouragementThursday, Crystal Twaddell at FreshMarketFriday and Dawn Klinge at Grace & Truth.