Sometimes we come to a crossroad in life and even when we weigh the pros and cons, we struggle to know which way to go. We prefer to view these situations in black and white: one road leads to destruction and chaos and while the other road leads to blessings and tranquility. We want God to give us clear signs toward “the right way” and to feel at peace with the way we choose.
So when we reached this recent fork in the road, I waited and prayed for that right way to reveal itself- to feel, with conviction, that we were choosing the “right” path. Our lease is up in the end of May, Micah’s teaching job was not renewed for next year, and the opportunities to move back to Portland seem to keep opening up. I knew I wasn’t convinced Colorado was going to be our home forever, but I didn’t really expect we would be considering moving back so soon. Both choices- to stay in Denver, or move to Portland- were laden with problems and questions.
So where was the bright light pointing to the right way to go?
The truth is, Colorado has grown on me. There’s been so much healthy growth for me during the past three years in this place. We originally came here following Micah’s calling to be a teacher, when no opportunities opened for him to pursue that dream in Portland. He was able to teach here (though he bounced around to 4 different schools), but we also attained so much more than just a job opportunity. We had to learn to cleave to each other like we had never had to before, which was great for our marriage, even though it was a challenge. I was able to take a step back and gain perspective of my life away from my previous support structure and career. I found new passions, new friends, and a new kind of beauty in our high prairie climate. And one of the most lovely outcomes is that our family got to have an adventure- we took a leap and stepped away from everything comfortable to stretch our wings and see what God might have in store for us in a new place. It was crazy, difficult, and a whole lot of fun.
Yet, my heart was always turned toward the Northwest, missing the waterfalls, fresh-picked berries, and family and dear friends. Life got easier for us when my parents decided to move out to Denver as well, but job opportunities haven’t opened up for them as they had hoped. They were always looking over their shoulder, longing for their native home in Oregon. Remembering how hard life was before they joined us, I tried to imagine living in Denver without any family around. As much as I have learned to love our new home, I knew if my parents left, I would continue to feel a strong pull back to where our roots are.
And so, when were presented with the opportunity to move back to Oregon this summer, I stood at the crossroads, feeling very conflicted. I considered Penny’s incredible school, my hopes for starting a non-profit, and the amazing friends we just started to grow into deeper relationships with and it seemed too soon to walk away. And yet, my spirit was drawn by the hopes of what might be ahead for us with returning to Portland.
Our family stuck between two states: Colorado (left) and Oregon (right)
So is there a right or wrong path? I’m starting to doubt that one choice would lead to destruction and the other to all things good. I believe this choice is less about where we live specifically and more about choosing to be faithful to trust God.
For instance, we thought we were moving to Denver for a specific job opportunity. But clearly, as Micah jumped around from school to school over the past few years, God’s purpose for us in Denver was less about a specific job or location- moving gave us the opportunity to draw closer to Him. We were forced to lean on Him more, and as a result, we saw His provision in ways we may never have experienced in Portland. And so I’ve learned God may be less concerned about the specifics and more concerned with our hearts. In the moment, the way He’s pointing us may not be the easy way- in fact, it may seem totally counter-intuitive or down-right nutty. But if we ignore Him, we may be missing out on an opportunity to grow in ways we never imagined.
The doors are closing for us here in Denver, and opportunities are popping up in miraculous ways in Portland. I stand at the crossroads and I’m not convinced either way is truly right or wrong. But I do feel a whisper that I am supposed to trust God and head back home for now.
This chapter in our story was a gift and we look forward to what God may have in store for us, even if the plot isn’t developing the way we had hoped it might. Even though it’s desperately difficult when God turns our plans upside down, I’m also grateful that it shows He isn’t done with us yet. Sometimes I just really wish I could flip forward a few chapters and see how things turn out- but that would make life lose it’s glorious mystery, wouldn’t it?
But What About Cake?
One of the most difficult parts of this decision was to walk away from First Step and my dream to expand my birthday parties to other shelters in the Denver area. I was actually just on the brink of putting together an event to help recruit a team of birthday volunteers. In this way, the timing feels a bit anti-climatic and my heart is slightly breaking as I put that dream up a on a shelf for a while. But I don’t think God put me on a total detour with this calling- I clearly have a passion for this and I believe my abilities were developed here for a reason.
To talk about a few specifics, I’ve been offered a full-time position at My Father’s House, the family shelter I worked at before we moved to Denver. I love the ministry at MFH and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of such an amazing program again. But working full-time is not going to allow much time for fancy cake-making (with exception of Ramona and Penny’s birthdays in July, of course). But I know baking is my true love and I’m confident those skills are going to be used in new and unexpected ways when we move home. Only God knows how all these puzzle pieces are going to fit together, but I’m really excited to see what He has in store for me. Again, I’m honored that He’s not done with me yet.
And so you are free to be happy for us- to be joyful we are returning home to be near our family and friends. We are glad to be returning to a place where we can explore the trails of the Columbia Gorge with our girls, chop down our own Christmas tree, pick apples in Hood River and head to the beach once a month if we feel like it. We are going back to a place that is welcoming us with open arms, and for that, we feel incredibly blessed.
But pray for us too, as you now know what a difficult decision this has been. Pray for provision- though I have a job, Micah is in desperate need of employment. He is hoping to find something in the education field, and with all the experience he has gained from teaching in Denver, we believe he has a better chance for a job than before we moved. Pray for this time of transition- for driving across the country with two little girls, two cats, and all our worldly possessions. Pray for all the communities and friends we leave behind: our friends at Addulam who have become our second family, the families at First Step, and the students Micah has invested so much time and care into. And pray for my parents as they continue to look for employment and embark on their 4th move within the past 2 years (Yeesh!).
We feel so blessed to now have two places we consider home, and we leave a little piece of our hearts in the Rocky Mountains. Thank you to all of our friends who have made our time here so incredible!
Rose City, here we come!
Also, if you need some inspiration of why you should be planning your next vacation to visit us in Oregon, check out my dear friend’s blog, twooregonians. You can’t beat this beauty, folks.
But you can’t make me like the rain….