I hate when people say that their motivation behind something is, "God told me to do it." Or that they "had a peace" or they "felt God wanted them too." Not because there is anything wrong with those statements so much as most people using them come off as completely disingenuous. I want to do something and don't want you to question my actions or motives, thus I will claim God's leading. Who are you to question God?
Now that I that out there, I want to tell you why we're moving. Because God said to. Not written in a book, or in an audible voice. But there is no doubt in my mind that God wants us to move to Iowa.
The question you may ask is, why is that important? It is important if for no other reason than that people don't think my wife is dragging me away from Idaho.
Three years ago, when we were in that long-distance dating, trying to figure out where this thing is going stage, I had full intent to move to Iowa. It was prett obvious that for all the good texting, phone calls, and Facebook could do, face-to-face time was the only way this thing was going to progress with any meaning. About that same time, God gave Wayne and me a vision for expanding the impact of South Lake Youth Ministries (SLY) in a way that made it clear I wasn't actually going to be leaving Idaho in the near future. When I broached this subject to Andie, rather than breaking up with me (as I had somewhat expected her to do), she prayed about it and decided to move to Idaho. So in the Spring of 2011 my brother, two buddies, and I trucked out to Iowa to pick up my then girlfriend, who on August 20th, 2011 became my wife. Andie never expected to move back to Iowa. She told me before we got married that she would follow me wherever God led us. In the three plus years since moving out west, Andie has never asked me to move out to Iowa. Not once.
Last May I had Iowa on my mind, and I cannot give you a reason why. I just did. So I started praying about it, and asked Andie what she thought of the possibility, and told her we needed to pray about it. Along about August, I asked Wayne to be praying about it. In September I told the SLY board of directors that we were considering a move, and asked that they pray for us during our trip to Iowa in November, that God would give clarity. I talked to a few folks out there during our trip, and had one conversation in particular that really sent my mind churning. But I had no peace, no "okay, you're coming out here" moment. And then driving home, in the middle of the night in western Nebraska, I knew. God was moving us. We were moving to Iowa in August, and that was that. There was no sign in the stars, and as I already said, no audible voice. But it was as clear as could be.
My grandmother (or Grammy, as we affectionately call her) asked me the other day if I ever have second thoughts about the move. I told her no. I have regrets. Regrets as to how I have lived, failing to spend enough time with friends and family, and often treating those same friends and family in a manner much poorer than I ought. I lived the first 19 years of my life as a complete jerk and while the last 4 have been a little better, they have not been good enough. I spent my money and my time foolishly. I have not well represented my Lord. And I begin far too many sentences with "I."
There is also a lot of sadness attendant to leaving all of your friends and family, all you've ever known. I have lived in the same ten mile radius for the last 21 or so years. You plant roots. Pulling those up hurts, no doubt. I wonder if the weight of it all will even sink in until next Monday afternoon as we are driving across South Dakota.
But I do not doubt that this is what we should do, or that it was God who told us to make the move.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, To another he said, But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him,
The Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Leave the dead to bury their own dead. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit.
Do I want my wife to have a secure life, close to her family? Yes. Would I love to always be close to my roots, family, mountains, and tress? Of course. Is there a desire in me to see my little girl raised in one house, a place she always knows as "home"? Beyond the shadow of a doubt. But we follow Christ. We are sojourners in this world. We may know peace, rest, and security. Or we may not. Family ties, friends, roots, security, and the like; while not unimportant, are not ultimately important. His kingdom is. If serving the Lord seems distasteful to you, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.