Exactly one year ago, we arrived in South Florida to begin our new journey! We arrived with so much excitement, uncertainties, hesitation and expectation! Florida is known as the “Sunshine State” and let’s just say- it gave us a very different welcome. It poured down rain for 2 weeks straight upon our arrival! Moving boxes in and out of a moving truck was extra difficult, as our items were soaked, some even damaged in the process.
We had made a ‘blind’ move if you will to our new home in Florida. We had some friends come check out our new apartment community and surrounding neighborhood prior to us moving; based on their comments, we felt it was a great place to land. Well, we were wrong! Our apartment community was a nice area to be in, during the times the sun was out! Once the sun went down, it was a whole different story. So, we packed up back up and headed to a different city in South Florida.
In a matter of 6 days we had already lived in two cities! Anything and everything that could have gone wrong during these first few weeks here went wrong! When I say everything, I mean it, everything!
Everything Is Different.
Just a few weeks prior to moving to South Florida, one of our biggest investors had to rescind their offer to us, creating a need for us to find full time jobs upon our arrival. So, in the midst of finding a place to live, we were also on the job hunt! Good times!!!
I don’t know if you have ever moved to a different city or state, but if you have, you understand how everything about your new city seems SO much different than what you are used to. All of a sudden you catch yourself comparing every Starbucks experience, grocery store trip and even the way people drive to what you are used to. For some reason, you predict that what you are used to is “the way it should be.” This feeling only makes you frustrated and vulnerable.
It was tough, and there were plenty of moments where I considered going back! I remember being on the phone with BJ one night- He was loading up our U-Haul truck for the second time while I was sitting at a restaurant with the girls. I told him that I wanted to go back, that I didn’t want to be here any longer and that somehow we must have “missed it!” How can so many things go so wrong if you believe what you are doing is so right? Surely we had missed it!
He listened, took a minute to respond, and then asked a simple question that changed everything. “What will we do when we go back?” I fished for words, but couldn’t find any. I didn’t have a strategy plan or even a clue. Going back wasn’t an option, not now, not ever.
Victories In Hardships.
In the midst of great challenges there were victories that served as grace to our crazy, new life here in Florida. Our team, including us, found full time jobs in a matter of days, we found the perfect apartment community, city and place to land and call home.
After unpacking our things and deciding that we weren’t going back, we began getting to know our new city! We like to say, we began romancing the city-exploring new places to eat, meeting new people and most of all discovering the needs of South Florida.
Romance The City.
We’ve never wanted to come here with a cookie cutter, already thought out strategic plan to win South Florida for Jesus, but instead we knew that as we made this place home, God would show us how we can bring resolve to so many of this regions problems.
We’ve established community here through what we call City Groups and have served a local, low income neighborhood through Adopt A Block every Saturday morning. We have adopted a family for Christmas, partnered with local charities and organizations who have served South Florida, as well as met some incredible pastors and churches here who have given their lives to serving this place we call home.
It has been an incredible journey! By incredible, I mean it has been the most rewarding, most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. There have been times when we have felt like everything is stacked up against us, times we have felt so alone and times we have felt so uncertain about our days ahead, but, in all those moments, God has proven himself faithful.
I have learned that the will of God for our lives is the most uncertain, daring, crazy adventure you will ever be on. I have learned that God is not concerned with making us comfortable, but instead, making us dangerous. So many people give up too soon, retreat and choose the safe route instead of the road less traveled.
I don’t pretend to know everything, but what I do know, is that God is searching for people who are willing to stick it out, willing to look at adversity and challenges square in the eye and face them! He is looking to do miracles through us! We can’t be a part of the miracle if we are not positioned for one!
Before we moved 3,000 miles across the country God spoke to me so clearly. He gave me some foresight of my season to come.
“It is not going to be anything like the way you see it, but I promise, it will be everything you ever hoped it would be.”
This one statement has been grace to me in this season and for every season that is to come. It has not looked like anything I have ever imagined it would be, but it has been everything I have ever hoped it would be. I’m thankful that we didn’t give up, throw in the towel or go back!
Cheers to another year of adventure!
TRUTH: “You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough”
DARE: Don’t give up, give in or turn back. Be dangerous!