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Looking Back over 2021

Just a little life update combined with a year retrospective. I know I've been less consistent about writing here, but I hope you'll forgive me when you see the big changes our family went through in 2021!

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Life Changes

  • New Job - We had been feeling (for years) that God wanted us to move to be near family. We lived in Maryland for 10 years & were 9-10 hours away from both sides of our family. We did have extended family & so many good friends in the area, but we just knew that MD was a temporary home. In order to move, Tyler would need to find a new job - ideally a remote one that would allow us the flexibility we needed. And we'd just enjoyed having him around more during the pandemic. So, Tyler started applying to jobs & interviewing for a new position. In March, he was offered a job that checked all the boxes that we needed.
  • Moving - Now that we could live anywhere we wanted to, we had to let people know (from our neighbors to our families) where we were moving - New Hampshire - to be near Tyler's side of the family. We've missed a lot of opportunities to be there for big moments in Tyler's younger sisters' lives. We also wanted to be a blessing to his mom - shovel her snow, take care of car maintenance, etc. There were many reasons that our hearts were pulled towards this decision. It had been years in the making.
  • Selling our MD Home - Knowing that we were planning to move, we spent much of the pandemic like everyone else - tackling small projects around our house. All of this enabled us to get our house on the market right around the beginning of April. We had close to 30 showings & 7 offers that first weekend - YAY for selling in a seller's market! It was under contract on Monday after 4 days on the market.
  • Side note to selling our house: We bought our house as a foreclosure & immediately had equity in it. Despite a job loss a few years back, we were still holding a good amount of unearned equity! Beyond that, we sold in a crazy market where we got quite a bit over our asking price. God knew back in 2013 that we'd sell in 2021. He had everything arranged for us!
  • Buying our NH Home - Selling in a seller's market was fun. But buying in one was NOT as much fun - until it was! We'd been looking at what was on the NH market for months & not seen a single house that was affordable for us, big enough for us, or in the right location. Our wish list was super short, but the choices were slim. Until the Thursday before we moved. A house that met all of our criteria PLUS it was less than a quarter mile from Tyler's mom & sister. We got up here on Saturday & went to see it. We put in an offer & were accepted on Monday! God provided more than we needed & we are so thankful.
  • Temporary Housing - In the meantime, we needed a place to live. God was way ahead of us again! He placed Tyler's cousin at a church nearby here in NH. The church had a small apartment that we were welcome to use for a time. It was small, but it came with the added bonus of our kids getting to play daily with their second cousins. It was such a sweet time of bonding between our families & we are so grateful for their hospitality.
  • New Church - Moving also meant saying goodbye to our church family in Maryland. Many have become such good friends. We learned so much from them & we miss them still. God has provided a new church body for us to join & become a part of. But it's hard to go from a place where you felt so connected & loved to a place where you feel disconnected & lonely. I know it takes time & its just a season, but it's a difficult season for sure.


Life Lessons

God Goes Before Us

In the Old Testament, the people of Israel stood on the border of the Promised Land. The previous generation had given in to fear at this same place and been sent to wander & die in the wilderness. Now, they were faced with the same task. Moses hands over the mantle of leadership to Joshua, encouraging him with these words. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8) This phrase is used a couple other times before this in reference to God going before His people to prepare their inheritance. (Also sounds like what Jesus promised in the New Testament, doesn't it?)

Even before we bought our first home in 2013, God was going before us and led us to pick a foreclosure despite its flaws & difficulties.

Even before Tyler lost a job, God led him to teach himself programming which led to this new job 4 years later.

Even before we offered more for the house in NH in order to get accepted, He prepared the appraisal to come in low to save us from over paying.

Even before the housing market looked disheartening, God prepared this family to be ready to move & sell the home they had built, putting it on the market at the exact right time.

Even before it looked like we'd be homeless, God moved Tyler's cousin & his family to a church in NH that would provide a roof over our heads for 6 weeks.

God has shown Himself so faithful & caring throughout this change that we can't help but praise Him!

Change is Still Hard & God is Still Good

We've changed jobs, states, houses, doctors, dentists, grocery stores. But the most difficult for me has been changing churches. Don't get me wrong, I really am glad to be at this new church, but this change has been hardest.

I mean think about it - you are joined to a group of people, members of the same body for years. You get to know them & they get to know you. You serve & worship alongside each other. They make you food when you have babies. You hold their babies. You pray together. They study God's Word with you. You watch the Super Bowl & the World Cup together. You vacation together. They encourage you to grow in the Gospel. You watch their kids grow up from preteen to married. You get coffee together. You play games & share meals. You rejoice when they rejoice & weep when they weep. They're in your life & you're in theirs.

And then, you move away.

You join a new church.

No one knows you & you don't know them.

It takes time to form those close, meaningful relationships. It takes time for people to reach out. I know that - I'm one of those people.

So, we're reaching out. We're slowly inviting people over for dinners & on outings with our family. I know God will provide the community we need as we continue to obediently step out in faith.

Change is hard and God is still good. I'm trying to be OK with the tension that exists between those 2 truths.

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Thanks for helping me look back over the year. It's got me a little teary thinking about our church family in Maryland & grows the longing in my heart to connect with God's people. I'm re-energized to be the person who reaches out.

Will you do something for me? Please pray with me that I'd be eager to reach out & let people into my life. Also, my momma's heart is longing for my kids to find their own little communities. They have a great start, but I am praying for them to have good friends. I really appreciate it!

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