12/26/2010

Why We're Moving to Bellevue

I know I've written some about the decision to possibly move to Bellevue here on my blog, and I've sort of alluded to it on Facebook, but now that we've been given permission to break our lease early without penalty and a deposit is down on an apartment and our Christmas cards have announced it to our closest friends and family it's time to make it full-on official--we are moving to Bellevue in a little less than a month. Part of this is for my own purposes, for posterity, and part of it is for those who weren't able to be intimately involved in the decision making process with us.

We're moving across "the lake" & becoming eastsiders.
We take moving very seriously. We lived in Bothell when we got married in September 2007 and expected to live there forever; however, in November of that year Jesus led us to Mars Hill church and told us very clearly that the Ballard campus (in an awkward-to-reach part of Seattle) was our home. We commuted from Bothell to Ballard one to three times a week for months and Jesus made it clear that it was time to move to be closer to our campus and immerse ourselves in community there. We struggled with the decision, wrestled with Jesus ala Jacob, if you will, but in retrospect are so glad we obeyed. Though this decision to move to Bellevue was made in less than a month, and still seems crazy to us, we have peace that we see Jesus' hand all over it and we are once again obeying his call even though it's not what we expected nor would have wanted for ourselves until He changed our hearts.

It's interesting, because each time we've moved somewhere we wanted it to be our last "big" move. We know that until we buy a home (which is in our 5-7 year plan, as we don't want to buy until it's a home we can hopefully live in for a LONG time, possibly die in) renting means we may move around a bit within a neighborhood. But our hearts' desire is to move to a place, put down roots, and stay there long term. We don't like starting over, and we really, really take seriously what it means to be immersed in community and then to leave. We want to know and be known, to have deep roots where we pursue Jesus in and with others who love us and love Him. Jesus blessed us with that here in Ballard and the decision to move was one we really struggled with but we see His hand leading us to Bellevue.

Here is how / why, intentionally ordered from most to least important to us:

1. Fatherhood

Jason becoming  a daddy really changed things for us. With Roger due in March, the extra two hours a day of commuting to his job in Bellevue, as I've said before, becomes 3 weeks a year of Roger's life that Jason would spend sitting in traffic on Mercer Island instead of knowing and discipling his son, not to mention being able to love and support me.

And, as I've said before as well, we had been discussing a move to Bellevue / Issaquah in 4 years or so if Jason's career stayed cemented there; I did the math and that would be 3 months, or 1/16th of those 4 years, of Roger's life that Jason would miss, besides any siblings Jesus may give Roger by then. After Jesus, Jason's primary calling is to be a husband and father and so this is the main reason we began praying about the move.

2. Community / Ministry / Disciple Making for Jason

Jason, as far as we can tell, is called to community group leadership. As it is now, his only connections to people in Ballard are those already in the church. We realized he literally knows NO ONE outside of church here in Ballard, and with his job we can't see where he could even artificially force trying to meet people, let alone actually begin building gospel centered relationships with non-Christians. He struggles with having time to even deepen his relationships with the men in our community group. He'll have even less time once he's a daddy, which is why it makes sense to be where he already naturally intersects with people who don't know Jesus (at work); it makes no sense to invite people who live in Bellevue, Kent, and Tukwila to our home 1-2 hours away for dinner or to our community group.

When he lives 5 minutes from work, however, it does become sensible to invite friends over after work for dinner, or to come swim in our apartment complex's pool on the weekends, or to a Superbowl party or community group or whatever it is we choose to do! He'd also be better able to lead a community group of people in our same geographic location and build relationships within community that have far more depth than what is allowed in a few hours on Tuesday nights.

3. Community / Disciple Making / Ministry for Me

I adore my community group, and it's hard for this to even be a reason we had to consider, as I have dear friends who have been trying to get pregnant for over a year and I have prayed for them almost every day, aching for them to have a baby. However, in our community group I am the first to get pregnant and was caught off guard at how lonely I felt. Now, my hormones have been wild, but I've found myself in forlorn tears many times in recent months at the prospect of mostly figuring out this motherhood thing by myself. We have moms in extended community, but that's simply not the same.

I want to buck up and put it on my shoulders to be the example for the other women who don't have kids yet, but unless Jesus is calling me to that then I need not martyr myself. The women in my community group understand this, and tacky as it sounds, they love me enough to let me go. Each woman has told me, separately, that as she prayed for me she felt peace in her soul that Jesus' best for me is to put me in community with other moms though it breaks her heart to see me go. The desire in my heart to be around other moms is palpable and as best I can see it's from Jesus. You can't be at the Bellevue campus for more than 30 seconds without seeing 10 pregnant women, plus countless children (I am not exaggerating this point!) and the group we are looking to attend has other moms with young children.

A short caveat is that as I transition to motherhood my best ability to meet those who don't know Jesus will be other young moms, and I can do that wherever Jesus has us. Since Jason's best ability is in Bellevue, then we trust Him that is where Jesus would have me be a disciple maker. And, with regards to ministry, I'm most deeply involved in writing and Redemption Groups / counseling; already we have the opportunity for me to transition to those ministry areas at the Bellevue campus with recommendations from my leadership at the Ballard campus.

4. Financial Wisdom

We are working hard to get out of debt. We only have student loans (praise Jesus that we were able to pay off our "stupid debt", credit card debt we both racked up as fools in college!), but some of them are high interest private loans that suck up nearly a quarter of our monthly income. We need them killed and gone! Living in Bellevue not only dramatically cuts our car expenses in terms of gas and maintenance but it also allows us to be a one car family, so we don't have to save up as aggressively to buy a second, family-oriented car and can focus on paying off debt. This isn't as crucial as other factors of the decision, but it does matter!

***

Those are the primary reasons. Add in that Bellevue is much more family friendly, and our hope (though we hold it in an open hand) would be to eventually buy a home in Issaquah, which is even more family friendly. It's not that we think we couldn't raise a family in Seattle, but we want to be where Jesus is leading us. We fully recognize that though we hope we're going to Bellevue to live there for a long, long time Jesus could easily move us again in a year or two away from Bellevue and we would need to obey Him and His will for us.

There is much for me to write about concerning the actual move, so I'm saving it for another post. I hope this helps people understand the decision, why we made it, and regardless of where others stand we have peace that this has been Jesus leading us. We're super grateful to our community group, who pursued us, asked questions, and engaged us, not to mention their fervent prayers on our behalf and their willingness to support us as we go despite how hard it is to say good-bye. The greatest gift in life is people who pray for you, petition Jesus on your behalf, and talk to you and not about you--that's what truly living out community is and we have that. We pray Jesus will give us that in Bellevue!

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