First off, we have always wanted to move out of state. Ryan and I have dreamed of doing it for ages- but it was always a question of timing. Fast forward 8 years and 3 kids later- and we are actually doing it! But why?
We honestly were pretty comfortable. We had reached a great point in our lives- our marriage was solid- we had two hilarious kids- we were thriving as Worship Pastors at our church, and yet we felt a transition was coming.
At the end of 2010, we started seeing the numbers 11:11 everywhere. Ryan and I would text each other whenever we saw it, and after several weeks of it, we finally asked the Lord. Ryan heard one night very clearly that we needed to pack. We had tried to sell our house, and it just never came together. So, we started going full force again on fixing, cleaning, and PACKING our house for sell. I still kept dreaming of bigger homes to grow my family in, better neighborhoods, schools, etc, but never dreamed of moving out of state. At the end of 2010, a friend of mine shared a verse with me that the Lord spoke to her regarding 2011:
It hit me hard after reading this- and I knew the Lord was preparing us for a transition, but I didn't know what. Both Ryan and I began to feel it, and there were several more scriptures we began to lean on during the next year. It actually wasn't until I sat down for coffee with a friend, that I found out that the number 11 often symbolizes transition. I was blown away.
Fast forward to June of 2011, Ryan and I were up late into the night painting the trim in our house. We listened to this message by Jenn Johnson where she tells of her prophetic journey with the Holy Spirit. She kept saying- What have I got to lose? Both Ryan and I felt the Holy Spirit strongly after the message was over. I remember telling Ryan, I have no idea why, but after hearing that message; it makes me want to move to Redding. Ryan even said, I will laugh if we didn't sell our house the first time around all because we were meant to move to Redding. We sort of dismissed the thought and kept working on our house.
At the beginning of July, I saw on Facebook that a friend was selling a pair of buddy passes for $100. I immediately jumped on it and called Ryan. We both knew we wanted to go to Redding- even if it was just for a couple of days. By the time I got back to my friend, she had sold them. I was absolutely devastated. I cried and was flat out angry about it. So many things had been difficult for us over the past year and half, and I wanted just one thing to go well, and it was gone from me. All that day, I kept hearing the Lord say- do you trust me? I kept saying No, not yet. But I finally settled down to a place of letting go that by the time I heard him ask me again, I was finally able to say yes. I knew that His plans for us were good and not evil- plans to prosper us and not harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).
By the end of the day, I got a phone call from a friend. She arranged with her sister to get us two buddy passes for $40. It was an absolute kiss from Heaven and it was the first step I took in our faith/ trust journey with the Lord.
So after a long journey of re-routing planes, etc we flew and drove all night to Redding and were welcomed at 4am at a wonderful Bed and Rest called The Almond House. We spent a full two days having connections with people that were completely set up by the Lord. We found ourselves telling every person that we really didn't know where God was leading us next (something we hadn't talked about previously), but I knew the Lord was opening up our hearts to dream again. After having a conversation over coffee with a friend of ours, we both knew: It was time to move.
Now during our marriage, we have both head and felt things from the Lord- but its been very rare that we have heard things at the same time. The last morning we were in Redding, Ryan and I had breakfast together and I stumbled all over the place with my words. I so badly wanted to tell Ryan that I felt it was time to move to Redding, but I was terrified that he wasn't hearing the same thing. He finally stopped me mid sentence and said- Basically, I think we need to move to Redding. From this moment on, we have continued to hear things at the same time and move forward together.
We came home- having no time frame on our move. All we knew was we were supposed to move and the only word we had to go on Was "Pack". So, we stepped into full gear continuing to fix, paint, and get our house ready to sell. I'll try to make this part fast, but basically, the Lord provided for us to fix up our house (foundation, plumbing, and bathroom remodel, along with countless other side projects). We soon transitioned out of being the Worship Pastors- which was an easy process and came at the perfect time. We needed to sell our car at some point to make room for baby number 3 along with the LONG road trips we would have ahead of us. A friend posted that he was looking for a car that was very similar to ours, and a week later- we sold it to him. Only problem was that we only had one car. Again, miraculously we were able to borrow a car from a friend who was on vacation. The night before she came back, we bought a car for WAY under the price that it was worth and drove it home! By the time February hit, we both felt like it was time to put our house on the market. We still had a lot of small things to do- but we felt it was in a good place to show. The first person who looked at our house, put in an offer- and after just a week being on the market, we accepted his offer. My parents also offered to let us move in with them as we were aiming to move by the end of July and housing looking like it was going to cost us a fortune. We accepted their gracious offer- and have been so blessed by being able to spend some quality time with them.
So, we had everything taken care of except having our baby and Ryan finding a job. Both of us again felt like the Lord told us to rest. So, Ryan worked on his portfolio, but really wasn't looking for a job aggressively. Two years ago, Ryan had applied for a job working for Bethel, and went through several interviews, but didn't actually get the job. Fast forward to now, and the Ryan was praying one night, and the Lord spoke to him to email the guy that he had interviewed with to see if any positions were available. So, he emails the next morning and gets a response pretty quickly. Turns out that they were CREATING a positions that suited Ryan perfectly. They hadn't even put in the bid yet for the position, and it would be available sometime in the next several months. After three interviews, Ryan was hired just 2 days after Ethan was born! Not only that, they wanted us to be there by July 1st. Talk about accelerating!
So one visit, and you decide to move to Redding?? Actually- it goes back much farther than that. When we were first married, we were given a cassette tape of a teaching called "The Power of the Testimony" by Bill Johnson. It changed our lives, and since then we have listened, read, and pretty much immersed ourselves in stuff that comes out of Bethel. Our first visit to Redding was four years ago, and I remember sitting outside of their prayer house and crying. I told Ryan that I knew we were going to end up living in Redding some day and I didn't full understand it. I felt at home there.
Everything has literally come together- I've given you mostly the reader's digest version here, but each thing that I have just listed was a step of faith and trust with the Lord. We have not had to strive for a single thing in the last 9 months. We have only met grace and peace with each step. It has been an incredible journey for us. We are excited to be stepping into a new City and a new culture. We are going from a big city and small church to a small city and big church! We don't know what the next season holds, but we know that we are going to hear that whisper from the Lord telling us what is next and that's what we will continue to follow.