Sunday, July 14, 2013

We Moved.

I do not like change.

I know some people do. I have friends who see life changes as adventure! As exciting! Fresh! I respect this. I admire it. I do not understand it at all.

I have gone kicking and screaming into basically every major life change that has ever come my way. (Except for marriage. Probably because I kicked and screamed for so long to actually GET married.) When we moved to Norfolk 5 years ago, it was no exception. I kicked. I screamed. I cried. I kicked some more. 

We were living in Richmond and David applied to SEVEN graduate school programs that year. I said, "They all look great! I'm all in! I'm such a supportive wife! Whatever program seems best! Except, one thing, not ODU. I really do not want to move to Norfolk."

So, obviously, he ended up at ODU. We ended up in Norfolk. And, like so many things in my life, it was a perfect demonstration of the undeniable fact that I do not know what I need. I don't know what I want. I dont know what's best.

I THINK I do. I'm FULL of opinions. Go ahead, ask me about anything. I have opinions on potty training, on computer brands, on cooking chicken, on education, on the best grocery stores, on the correct hem length, and on whether or not you will look good in bangs. (No, you probably wont.)

When we moved to Norfolk, I was mad. I was lonely. I was scared. We moved the WEEKEND before I started a new job. Did I mention I hate change? I hate change. It was miserable.

We moved in. We started working on the house. David started school. I started work. On my second day of work I made a friend. She was a new teacher there, too. One day we had coffee together. Then she invited us over to dinner. Then to her church. Then to her community group.

Then she became my best friend. (She still is.) Then their church became our church. Then their community group became our community group. Then I made more friends. Then I had a child, and another child, and grew up about five (million) years worth.

The town that felt strage started to feel like home. The house that was once so empty and foreign actually did become our home. People who were strangers became acquaintances, then friends, then deep, deep soul-friends.

We struggled together, in big groups and small groups, and one-on-one. Sometimes with our husbands, sometimes with our children, and sometimes, blissfully, without them. We talked and cheered and wept and prayed. 

In those five years, among my closest friends, there were struggles with infertility, there were miscarriages, a divorce, the diagnosis of a chronic and life-changing illness, struggles with estranged family members, there was depression and fear and doubt and worry. There was also joy. There were pregnancies and the births of new babies, there were engagements and celebrations, there was love and reconciliation and forgiveness. There were about 9 thousand shared cups of coffee, and nearly as many shared glasses of wine. There were birthday parties and dinner parties and playdates and barbecues and late-night phone calls. There were millions of text messages. Over it all, there was a transparency and sense of community that is breathtakingly rare, and even more breathtakingly beautiful.

And then, we moved again.

Since we first left Richmond five years ago, we have talked about moving back. We have such history here. Such old, dear friends. My sister and my brother and their spouses live in Richmond. David's parents and his brother & their family live in Richmond. We were married there. We went to high school there. Two (TWO!) of my best college friends live in Richmond. Coming back to Richmond feels, in so many ways, like coming home.

In all of my fantasies about moving back to Richmond, I never, ever expected to feel so sad. To feel such a sense of loss. We are so confident that this is the right move for our family, for David's career. And, again, in so many ways, I am SO HAPPY to be here! My sister! Our friends! RVA!

But, still, Norfolk. A place that felt like nothing, became everything.

For me, looking back on our time in Norfolk will forever represent God's faithfulness to me. To our family. His commitment to prosper me- just not always in the ways that I want or expect.  It will always represent the beauty of community, of sisterhood. Of investing in a church that was investing in me, and that expected me to invest in others. Of friendships that allowed (demanded?) transparency and honesty and that offered unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness, and lots of coffee.

It will always be a marker. Here the Lord brought us. Here, by his help, we came. Here, we raise yet another Ebeneezer.

And, of course, by his good pleasure, we hope to safely arrive at home. And, I know that home is not Richmond. Home is not Norfolk. Home, for us, is yet to come. It's waiting for us.

I think I hate change so much because it forces me to remember that I am not home yet. And I so desperately want to be. I want security, roots, comfort, permanence.  But I am marked as a wanderer. Called as a pilgrim. I am on my way home. And, I am deeply thankful for the people who have walked this journey with me. With us.

For the people who love my children, who love my husband. For my friends in Norfolk, my friends in Richmond, my friends from the past, my family. For all the people who love me as I am, and remind me that it's not okay to stay where I am. For the friends who encourage me in faith, in parenting, in life. For the friends who offer advice, another cup of coffee, or just a listening ear. For the friends who tell me when I'm being a giant asshole, and who tell me that I'm doing a great job, and who tell me when it's time to take a break. For the friends who have ruined me for small talk, who have pushed me to want more. For the friends who have been Christ to me, the hands and feet and arms of the body of Christ, the friends who have shown me more of His love, His grace, His beauty.

I do not like change. But, clearly, I need it. Clearly, it is good for me. Clearly, it pushes me. Necessarily, it reminds me that I am not home. 

But, I am on the way. And, the Norfolk segment of the journey? Well, despite my initial misgivings (and all that kicking and screaming) it turned out to be just lovely. 

Just absolutely, thrillingly, heart-warmingly, lovely.


  1. Rachel, thanks for writing this. It pretty much sums up most of our life experience...:-) We are in yet another transition. They have all been SO good! Always hard, but always good!
    Hope we can see you and meet your family sometime.
    Rich Leary

  2. Well put- and we have moved a LOT! Like you, with each move, I have been blessed to SEE God's hand in my life- and it has made all the difference!!