12/07/2010

Prayer & Petition: Part 2 [Big Decisions]


This is a long one, but it has some pretty big news, so if you are people who love us but don't get to be involved in our everyday lives (those who are already know and have been walking with and praying for us) then you want to take the time to read this!

In Part 1 of this miniseries I wrote about the awfulness that is happening in our apartment complex. Today it gets really personal. Jason and I have been praying about this since before the proverbial poo hit the fan, since we anticipated this might happen (that the new owners might want to "flip" the building and put rents out of our affordable range), but things have escalated since that infamously horrible notice was given to our neighbors last Monday.

And, for the record, I really am going somewhere with the famous Bible verses and Prayer & Petition title! So stick with me, friends!

To start, we had been praying about moving for awhile. As I said in Part 1, just when we decided to stay in this place after Roger is born, make it work, and fell in love with the idea of staying (plus the rearrangements actually made our home feel way more homey and we loved it even more than before!), we found out the building sold. I actually asked the new management what we could do to make it work to stay here, and requested info on the new rent to see if we could make it work with our budget, and even if they'd be willing to let us void the rest of our lease without losing our deposit and move into a vacated unit since they made clear from the get-go that they would be renovating. We knew they'd want us out of ours at the end of our lease in May, ergo the attempt to move into a renovated unit (if we could afford it) either then or as soon as possible. With the exorbitant rent increase and the fact that we simply can't in good conscience pay rent to owners who would be so irresponsible, unprofessional, and, honestly, cruel, we can't stay here.

So, now we know we have to move out of this building. As I said, we had prayed about moving anyway, and even considered moving out of Ballard (a pricier neighborhood) up north maybe 50 blocks or so. Something that we started discussing about two months ago, though, was the possibility of someday living closer to where Jason works. His primary job, the "bread winner" and where his career will continue to grow, Lord willing, is based about an hour's commute away in Bellevue. He looks to be at his current company long term, and the places he'd most likely apply were he to leave his current company are in either Bellevue or Redmond (he's in software; it's not just Microsoft, mind you; thanks to Microsoft, other software companies have a sort of "hub" in that area, which in our area is called "the eastside" because it's on the eastern shores of Lake Washington; Seattle is on the western shores). For the non-locals, Bellevue and Redmond are in many ways one big city that bleed into one another.

Then we started thinking about schools. I've never felt any desire to homeschool, and while Jesus could change that and our financial situation, we don't foresee being able to afford private school. That means the public school we send our child to, if indeed that's what's best for them (again, I will homeschool if that's what's best for my child, and I trust Jesus to provide for private school if that's best), needs to not be horrible. Seattle's public schools are pretty horrible. Bellevue's are pretty amazing. So, again thinking it was like 3-4 years away, we thought maybe someday we might consider whether Jesus would have us move to Bellevue.

You can guess where this is going. We are praying about moving to Bellevue. I honestly can't believe it, and we've spent countless hours in prayer and discussion. Literally, this has been on my mind every minute of every day, and I've prayed about it almost continually, for the last week and a half. Again, we've been praying about moving for a long time, we just thought it was whether to stay in the heart of Ballard or to move a wee bit north.

Bellevue: It's Not Seattle, but is it Home?
Here's the biggest thing: Jason takes the fastest route possible to work. It's still an hour each way, sometimes more. When it's raining it easily takes an hour and 15 minutes, sometimes an hour and a half. When it snowed last week it took three hours, and Jesus blessed him with sweet timing (he did leave work at 4 pm) because some people took 5-6 hours on the same route. Regardless of inclement weather, that's 2 hours of commuting every day. If we lived 5 minutes away from his work then he would have almost 10 more hours a week at home, namely to spend with Roger once he's born.

Even more, and this is mindblowing, those weekly 10 hours work out to be basically 21 days a year. TWENTY ONE DAYS. As in three full weeks that he could either be driving alone in the car somewhere on the I-90 bridge, stuck in Mercer Island traffic, or playing / praying with and discipling and being a daddy to his son. If we wait 4 years, suddenly that's three entire months of days, a quarter of a year or 1/16th of the total time, that Jason and Roger could have had together, let alone time with subsequent children and giving me a break. We've already found two top-choice places we would try to rent from, both within that 5 minutes away range.

Secondly, in terms of relationships, the place where Jason is most likely to meet people who don't know Jesus and build relationships is his job. Since I work from home and will be an at-home mom I'm most likely to meet people consequential to our location. For this reason, the best place for us to be is Bellevue, since if Jason wanted to invite a coworker to church or community group he'd either have to ask them to commute an hour (which doesn't plug them into community) or pass them off to people he doesn't even know at the Bellevue campus (which makes it highly unlikely that the person would be interested in going). Then there is simply being hospitable and having his coworkers over to our home--much more suitable and probable if we live in Bellevue and not an hour away. Though I can meet and share Jesus' love with people here or in Bellevue, Jason's work relationships tip the scales. In terms of where we'd be best positioned to share Jesus and make disciples, it's in Bellevue.

Thirdly, while it's less of a factor, instead of saving to buy a new car, we could focus on paying off debt and be a one car family. We have one dependable car, and Jason could easily bike to work and still have a minimal commute (plus he's hit that magic age of 30 where he needs to get more exercise!). We'd be close enough that when it's ick weather I could drop him off and pick him up. Even better, Roger and I could easily meet up to have lunch with daddy, or he could come home for lunch, at least once a week, if not more. The money we would be saving is very significant, and it would be great for Jason health wise to ride a bike since he sits at a desk all day.

Fourth, while I love the women I am in community with SO much, and they know that, it's been increasingly difficult to be the only pregnant woman. I know some of the women closest to me ache for babies, and I ache with them. They are nothing but loving and sweet and supportive and the thought of possibly moving away from them literally makes me cry. That said, we do feel that it could be very healthy and helpful to me to be in community with other young moms. The culture at the Bellevue campus is simply far more family oriented while Ballard is heavily singles oriented. We wouldn't have a kid and flee to another campus; that said, since other weighty factors point to Bellevue, the community orientation toward young moms could be a big blessing and bonus. We already found a group to get in touch with if we do go, and it's primarily young married couples and some of those couples already have young children, so we'd be able to find that support hopefully even before Roger is born if the move happens as fast as it may (more on that later). Either way, support within my community group from other moms could be a big blessing; even one woman in my community group who loves me deeply has already told me that while it would be so hard to see us move she would love for me to have that support that she knows she can't give. That meant the world to me, even if we don't go. So, it's not a reason to leave, but definitely a factor that is to be considered when weighing out options.

This would be a major change though. We'd be right by the current Mars Hill Bellevue campus, but we know very few people there and would be starting fresh. We'd be starting new relationships, immersing ourselves in a totally new community (we already researched a community group and Jason will write the leader once we get closer to the actual final push if indeed Jesus leads that way) during one of the most vulnerable times for any marriage and any person--as new parents. We know that if this is Jesus calling us there (and there is a tug, but we're still highly conflicted, so we're asking Jesus if it's him or just the logic of living close to Jason's work) then He will provide. But it's very, very hard. We love Seattle. We love Ballard. We love our community group, our friendships, our church campus. We've loved our time in this city, and leaving won't be an easy thing.

We attended the Bellevue campus yesterday, to simply see how it went. We attended one other Mars Hill campus when we first came here (to Mars Hill) and knew that it was not for us! Then, one visit to Ballard and it felt like home. Just the thought of leaving Ballard makes me cry, yet I know that I would NEVER consider this if it weren't Jesus calling me to seek and trust Him. That said, we felt right at home in Bellevue. There were lots of young married couples and young families, and we actually ended up socializing more than we even would at Ballard because of a friend whose family transitioned from Ballard to Bellevue in this last year and then we also were able to chat with one of Jason's coworkers who immediately started introducing us to people. He, Jason, and one other coworker at Jason's workplace who goes to the Bellevue campus meet weekly for lunch to talk about what Jesus is doing and both men are very pro-Hagglund's to Bellevue :)

No decision is made. We were going to be secretive until we were sure, but we realized that we don't like living that way. We don't want to worry people or get them worked up; that said, we do want people to pray for us to lean on Jesus for his wisdom. We shared with our community group and since the people who read my blog are primarily people who love us, support us, and will pray for us regardless of the outcome we felt it was best to simply be out with it. To be clear, this isn't us looking for advice from people far and wide. It's not that we don't welcome wise words or godly counsel, but we don't want anyone to get the impression that we're flapping indecisively in the wind and anyone's welcome to enter our city and opine. We covet Jesus' will and the prayerful love and support of the body of Christ that He has blessed us with--for most readers, that's you!

So then, while we are endlessly grateful for your prayers for Jesus' wisdom, ultimately those closest to us are the ones already speaking into our lives and praying for us. There are so many decisions to be made (more of which I'll get to in a second) and we only care what Jesus thinks. However, how encouraging it is when someone says, "I'm trusting Jesus and you can be a part of it by praying for me as I rely on Him"! That is our desire in sharing this.

Here is the biggest of those decisions: when to try to move. Do we wait until Roger is born and stay through the end of our lease (May 31)? Do we ask to be let out early (January 31)?

Reasons to stay:
  • Our hospital and my OB, both at Swedish's Ballard campus, are right down the street.
  • If we stay, we'll save on rent for those extra months, since the places we're finding that would be best for us are $150-$200 more a month.
  • The owners might not want to let us leave early, so we'd have to stay because otherwise we'd lose our $1,000 deposit.
  • We'd have community we're already close to around us during those crucial first three months after Roger is born, people to pray for us, come around to love on me, already with offers to clean for me and bring meals, etc.
  • We'd have more time to pray about where we'd actually move to, be it still Ballard-ish or Bellevue.
  • Jason's biggest concern: if we moved at the end of January then I could be less than two weeks away from giving birth. My due date is March 3, but I'll be 37 weeks (which is considered full term) on February 10 and since Roger is measuring so big the doctor may want to induce me before 40 weeks. I really want to make it until March, but I may not have a choice (especially if he just comes early on his own!). 

So, those are all good reasons to stay. There are probably more I am forgetting :)

Reasons to ask to be let out early (assuming we would be able to do so without losing our $1k deposit and with most reasons assuming it's a move to Bellevue):
  • Since they want people out to flip apartments, they might be more amenable to it than a normal landlord.
  • Living here now is stressful--for one, we don't trust them to not come up with some lame reason why they say they are evicting us, especially since my husband is acting as an advocate and informing our affected neighbors of their rights. They seem to think 36 hours is plenty of notice, which would be just impossible for us.
  • It might seem silly, but I could "nest." The desire to nest and create a Roger-ready home is growing increasingly strong and since we're definitely moving in May then we aren't going to clear out our spare room; Roger will sleep in a bassinet next to me for those first three months and we'll save the money we'd have otherwise spent on a storage unit. Still, I have no "nesting space" for him, just cramming his stuff wherever I can stow it for now. A new place would have a space to "nest" in and make Roger-ready.I know other moms must know what I'm talking about!
  • The stress of the decision hanging over our heads would be relieved, and we could move before Roger is born and be fully settled into a new home, as opposed to moving with a 3-month-old.
  • Moving is much harder on babies that are OUTSIDE the womb. While moving is hard on a pregnant woman, I can turn to Jesus in the midst of my stress but my instincts want to protect my son as much as possible!
  • It wouldn't be easy, but we could trust Jesus and be vulnerable with a new community group and it would be a sweet time to allow them to minister to us, when we feel so weak, moving right before having a baby and then leaning on new community after he's born.
  • The previously made point about being in community group with other young moms when Roger is born, who can answer questions and just help out of their own experience.
  • Jason feels better about moving after Roger's born, but I feel better about moving before he's born, even apart from "nesting" the thought of trying to set up a home when I'm a new, exhausted mom who barely has time to shower, let alone coherently organize a new home to be friendly to our new family of three, makes me exhausted even now!
  • Rent prices are at their peak in May/June--when we'd be signing a lease for a new place. We'd likely save upwards of $200 a month on a 12 month lease if we moved at the end of January as opposed to the end of May.
  • Those first three months of Roger's life would already add up to Jason being home over 100 hours to help me, and those are the hardest and most demanding months for most new moms. This is crucial since Jason only has one week of time off before he has to be back at work full-time.
  • Also, Jason would be super close and could get home quick in an emergency.
  • I would have access to a car as soon as Roger is born; if we wait to move, then if it's to Bellevue I won't have a car until we move, and if we stay in Ballard I wouldn't have a car until next fall most likely. It's not necessary, but it's a really helpful thing for new moms to have a car in case of an emergency.
  • The financial aspect of not needing to buy a new car and be a one car family (we would get Jason a bike; it would help him be in shape and Roger and I could easily give him a ride if the weather's ick!)
  • The new owners will be doing remodeling. Already they are painting the common areas and the fumes have caused all kinds of problems for me (headaches, nausea, and the like). The apartment across the hall is going to be empty at the end of the month, so remodeling will likely start in January when I'm nearly 8 months pregnant. The two apartments above us are on month-to-month leases and did not receive the notice, but will presumably be vacated and remodeled in the next 1-5 months of our remaining lease. Not only will the materials likely be a aggravating to my hyper sensitive pregnant body (not to mention not good for my unborn baby) but the sounds will likely be very disruptive, especially since I'm still having a hard time sleeping and the preponderance of my sleep happens from 7 am - 11 am.
  • In the same vein, remodeling issues would not be good at all for Roger during those first three months, especially as we seek to establish healthy sleep patterns for him, plus the various health related issues we'd want to protect his tiny developing lungs from. Every unit has it's original carpet from 20 years ago, for example; what if pulling it up releases mold spores? Their clear desire to make money doesn't comfort us that such things would be handled properly and with protecting current tenants in mind.
As with the first list, there are probably things I am forgetting. Those are the major factors, however.

So that is the big decision. But now you see just some of the things we're going to Jesus with, so we are very thankful for your prayers and support. Once the decision is final I'll be sure to write about it!

Writing this part exhausted me, to be quite honest, so I'm going to have to make this a three part series and you'll just have to tune back in later this week!

1 comment:

  1. wow Tami - big stuff...praying for peace and clarity for you and Jason as this chapter unfolds. Love you!

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