How God Has Challenged Me

We moved to Seattle 5 months ago.

Time has really, really flown.

In some ways I feel like we just got here, and in some ways I feel like we’ve been here for quite some time. We’ve met some terrific people and relationships are growing, but of course it takes time for true friendships to develop. We’re getting to know the streets and neighborhoods and local spots we most enjoy frequenting, but we don’t necessarily feel like true ‘locals’ yet.

It takes time for a city to feel like home, but we’re getting there.

Even though the transition comes with its sets of challenges, I never doubt that Tim and I (along with our babies) are meant to be right where we are. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before on this blog, but the main reason we moved to Seattle is that I felt called to be here.

Ever since I was very young, I knew I was supposed to live in Seattle one day. I felt my heart pulling me here even before I had ever visited the PNW. Actually, I had never been to this region of the country before 2011, when we spent a short weekend here to run a half marathon with Tim’s sister and one of my closest friends. Of course I enjoyed our weekend trip, but nothing about it made me feel like we would be moving to this city half a decade later.

Chicago Family Picture

It was always the easy decision to stay in Chicago. Our families are there, many of our friends are there, Tim and I are both from there, we both had careers there (before I decided to stay at home with Clara)… we never had a reason to leave. However, the feeling in my heart that I was supposed to be somewhere else kept inexplicably nagging at me, even though I never felt any urgency in it.

Having a baby caused me to reevaluate a lot of things in my life, one of which was where we were living and why, and whether where we was living reflected the values of our family. After Clara was born I started praying intentionally about where God wanted me and my family to be, and the answer could not have been more clear. God wanted us to move.

I must admit, sometimes I pray vaguely, so when God told me to move I thought “yeah, okay, but maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to move and this tugging in my heart is coming from my own will and not God’s will.” So I started praying more specifically. I asked God to make it apparent if he wanted us to move – to make it easy for us to determine if this was His plan or ours. A few days later, a coworker of Tim’s mentioned a role he thought Tim would be a good fit for. Tim contacted the manager and a day later he was interviewing for the position. A position in Seattle. A week or so later he got the job offer. Then we found out that his organization was going to pay to relocate us, and that the timing was almost perfect for our family. Tim and I didn’t actually discuss the move at length, because we were both praying separately and together that if this was the right transition for our family that it would be made clear to us – and God was making it clear enough that there was no real point in discussing it further.

It was also at this time that we found out we were pregnant with ‘Baby Beni’.

Talk about a lot of life changes being thrown at us! In a matter of weeks we had to tell all of our family and friends in Chicago that we were pregnant and moving. Plus, we had to adjust to the news ourselves.

It wasn’t an easy time, that’s for sure.

However, I truly believe that when I’m following God’s will for my life I receive peace that surpasses understanding – and that’s what I felt in those moments.

Philippians 4:6-7

I really never felt stressed about the big move. I mean, sure there were moments of “we have a ton to do!” and “how is it all going to get done?” and “what are we going to do about our lease?” and other logistical issues that caused us some tension, but there was never a time when I doubted whether we were doing the right thing.

I felt the same way about the (surprise) pregnancy. I knew from the second I saw that second pink line that God had given me this baby at this particular time for a reason, and I’ve never questioned it. While I may have designed my life a bit differently, I don’t dare question God’s plan for me.

This peace has continued for the past five months. Creating a life (figuratively and literally!) in Seattle has been beautiful, even in its messy moments. I am encouraged knowing that God has led us here and that he has given us a community to welcome us. I certainly miss aspects of my ‘old’ life in Chicago, but I don’t dwell on them because I know God has moved us forward for a reason, and I’m excited to know what’s in front of us.

Of course, all of this holds true for our new baby, as well. I have no idea what the future has in store for our family, but I also don’t worry about it because God is giving us this particular baby to care for and I welcome that awesome responsibility. Tim and I have always prayed that God would give us children in His timing and not ours, and we were just a bit surprised when He responded so quickly and clearly!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over my (almost) 30 years of life, it’s that when I make my own plans, they fail miserably. However, when I open my heart and mind up to ask God what He wants me to do, I always receive a very clear answer (even if it’s one I don’t necessarily want to hear).

So I continue to be excited and optimistic in this new chapter of our lives. It isn’t particularly easy to wrap my mind around having a baby in a city thousands of miles away from our family and friends, but I know that God will provide everything we need and that our community will care for us.

A year ago I could not have imagined where I’d be right now – living in Seattle and almost 9 months pregnant. What an amazing change of events. I can’t wait to see what God reveals to us (and what He challenges us to do) in this next year!

What do you feel like God is challenging/calling you to do in your life?!

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