This past weekend Matt and I got to get away together. His mom flew out to help watch three of the kids and two of them went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house. We love that they are willing to help us out and all of the kids had a great time. Even though I’m with the kids around the clock it’s still hard to leave them. We all get sad whenever we won’t be together. The night before we all went our separate ways we all sat at the dinner table and talked about everything and prayed for each other.
It’s always so much prep work to be able to step away, making sure each child has what they need packed, and preparing meals ahead of time and making sure snacks are stocked, but it’s definitely worth it in the end. The time away with just Matt was sweet, and much needed.
We flew to Monterey separately to first be a part of a conference. Matt had a training even before the conference and I got to catch up with him a few days later. Each night after the conference sessions we would get a little bit of time together, just us. One of our favorite things to do is grab dessert (our favs to hunt for are either a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie, Matt thinks hot fruit is weird…so no pies for him) from a local bakery and eat it together in the hotel room.
After the conference was over we rented a car to explore and we took a few days to drive home instead of fly. We love to travel together and see new places and try new restaurants. At sunset we walked down by the fisherman’s wharf, drank hot chocolate and had the best time people watching and talking together.
Funny story: we watched a man in a boat climb up the side of the pier to chase down his pet bird, who had apparently flown off his boat and onto the side of a building. He didn’t say much about it, just acted like he knew what he was doing, and climbed where he needed to go. He grabbed his bird and climbed back down to his boat as if it was just a normal day for him. 🙂
Life has been a bit strange for us lately…both Matt and I struggling to make sense of life in different ways. This trip away was good to just have uninterrupted time to talk through how we are both feeling. I’ve mentioned it before but living in California is super expensive, especially for a family of 7. It’s tough to envision life here long term with the dreams we have of one day owning a home again. At one point we really did try to find one…but that became really discouraging once we grasped just how much things sell for here, so we decided to stop for awhile.
Some of you may have been following along in the journey of our little church plant closing earlier this year. When that happened we had high hopes of God moving us to a place where we could settle in and really begin to put down roots. The past 7 years have been a whirlwind of adjustments and uncertainty, transition and instability and I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t weighing on us.
I haven’t shared much about it here, but I think if I’m honest, when the church closed, I just did not imagine staying in CA due to how difficult it is to survive financially here. Everything is impacted, being able to save, fix or replace things when they break, or being able to afford braces for 3 kids at a time (item #1247 on the list of things I didn’t think about when having 5 kids in 6 years time…) it’s not just the houses that are expensive, it’s everything here. Making the decision to homeschool is helping a bit, with some extra fun “field trips” and Kate’s ballet fees covered, but even with that it’s still so hard.
I do genuinely love living in CA and in many ways would do whatever possible to stay. But I also dream of a having our own place again and it would seem those two dreams…staying here and owning a home are (at the moment) mutually exclusive.
We long for a place we can paint as we’d wish, can spread our wings in and feel at home in, one we can update as we’d like, and feel settled in…and one that would allow us to own a puppy. Our current landlord doesn’t allow pets and it likely sounds something silly to anyone else, but to our family it’s such a big deal. I genuinely want to gift my children with a dog a some point, I will sometimes close my eyes and picture getting to surprise them with that and I imagine their faces lighting up. It’s something they bring up at least 10 times a day and my heart hurts that for now we just are not able. It makes me so sad. And I feel stuck.
When it’s late and the house is finally still my heart cries out for a home for our family, a place to belong and to no longer feel like we are on the verge of being uprooted. And even with how badly I long for that I have to also confess there have been days I have chosen not to pray about it anymore. Sometimes I feel like no matter how many times I plead the answer remains a “no.”
When we were sorting through other options of places to move to earlier this year there was, at one point, nine different locations we were considering. And one by one, the doors began to close for all of them, some by us, some by them, except the one here. At first we were really excited that we didn’t have to choose, because we would have grieved making the decision to leave here. We even laughed and celebrated at the thought that “God chose for us!” But when we turn our faces back to the specifics of the role Matt now has it doesn’t match up to the financial needs required for our family to be here. We have begun to wonder…and really question…and doubt…
Have we missed something? Did we get it wrong somewhere along the line? Is there something we need to learn? Have we been disobedient in some way? Do you hear us anymore? Have you forgotten us?
We don’t want Matt to have to work multiple jobs to have to make ends meet here…we want to be able to live simply, without rush or chaos, without such a financial strain, and cherish this time with our kids…these days are precious and we don’t want to be in a place that compromises our convictions of living simply, and living intentionally.
And the plan of us staying here doesn’t seem to make sense yet…I’m having trouble trusting…
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do want to be vulnerable here in this space and let you in on something so dear to our hearts. We are both in a place of really struggling through this, yet at the same time not wanting to lose hope or stop trusting in the Lord.
I think being honest about it here is a good thing. One, because it’ll be something I know I’ll continue to work through and would love to remain vulnerable in the broken and tender parts of my life.
Two, because maybe you’re going through something similar and need to know you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve thought you’re the only one having these kinds of struggles and maybe you need to hear that He sees you and be encouraged to remain faithful even when life doesn’t make sense. I do know that His grace is made perfect in our weakness, so I’ll use this struggle to share where I’m broken, in the hope that in some way it might encourage not just my own heart but yours too.
And three…if we should ever have this dream come true, should God answer our prayer for a home and settle us somewhere where we can envision putting down roots…should financial provision come or should we see God provide…I would want to celebrate it with you all as well.
If you think of us we’d love your prayers…pray for us to continue to wait on His timing, to trust He is leading, to hope that He is doing a great work even if we should never receive what it is we ask for…Pray for us to believe He is good and that we would look to Him instead of run away in our weak moments. Pray we would not remain discouraged, that there would be no division between Matt and I, that we could love our family well, and lead them through this too as we all continue to wait on His timing, that He would provide another stream of income for us to be able to supplement what Matt is doing now…and…if we could be so bold, that we would one day be able to buy a home.
(***By the way, I’ll just put this out there…seeing as I have no idea where this post will reach or who will read it, if you are going through a similar struggle or difficult season please let me know so I can be praying for you in your journey too. Should the Lord answer your prayer and provide what it is you hope for I’d love to be a part of rejoicing with you too.)
An incredible thank you to the Monterey Hotel for sponsoring this post. This time away for us was such perfect timing. And thank you so much for letting us know that the only way to heat our room was to use the fireplace! 🙂 Cuddling up on the couch, with our late night dessert, and talking through life together couldn’t have been more perfect.