It has been a bitter sweet few weeks for us. Get ready for a long explanation of what's next and why...
Bitter because to move means we leave our time here at Broadstone Memorial Apartments serving as the CARES Team.
Many of you have walked this 2 1/2 year journey with us. It was when Karis was just a newborn that we first put our house on the market to move out the Katy. Within weeks we read Radical by David Platt and knew there was more for our family for this time. During a conversation with my brother, he mentioned we should think about doing Apartment Life Ministry/CARES Team (a community building partnership). I had done it before in college, but hadn't considered doing it as a family now.
This job and ministry was exactly what the Lord wanted for us as we felt called to simplify our lives, learn to love our neighbors/others and break out of the Christian bubble we had suffocated ourselves in (without realizing that's what we'd even done).
It took 10 months for our house to sell. We were so frustrated and so discouraged at so many points in that journey. But the day after we got an offer on our house, we got an invitation to interview here at Broadstone Memorial. As soon as we toured and met with the fabulous manager we knew why we had to wait 10 months to sell our house: We needed to be the team here, it was a perfect match.
And it has been. Chris and I LOVE our, now expanded, family here at Broadstone Memorial. The staff have become people that we genuinely enjoying working with and sharing life with. Karis looks forward to going up to the Club House to visit them. And the residents have become true friends. Coming from a neighborhood where you'd occasionally get a wave from a neighbor, it was refreshing and convicting to be placed in the role as CARES Team and realize how much neighbors want to be known, want to connect.
So it's sad to leave all these people.
Sweet because to move means we are confident we are doing what's best for the staff, residents, and, ultimately, our family.
We weren't supposed to leave till the end of May but an unknowing and rather random encouragement came from our Pastor, Curtis Jones, one Sunday. He read Philippians 2:3-4:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Some back ground... we had been feeling torn about staying, but never felt the release. And we had felt torn for 2 reasons:
1. We had found a team to take our place. Long story short, a couple in our complex has become close friends and they felt called to do CARES, after hearing that we would be leaving when our term was up, we all (the couple, us, our complex management and Apt Life) felt like they'd be the best team to take our place. They were eager to get started, but also willing to wait till our term was up.
2. We got pregnant real fast. As I've shared before, due to health issues we expected getting & staying pregnant to take some time. We were not expecting to have a baby while still a CARES team.
Anyway when our Pastor read those words of life from Philippians 2, it struck a chord. I sat on them for a couple of weeks before even sharing them with Chris. I wanted to make sure it wasn't an emotional chord but a true conviction.
During many a quiet afternoon (love a good nap time) I would meditate on those words and ask God for wisdom and the questions would swirl... Was it "selfish ambition" to stay? Because we loved CARES team and love being a part of this family, was that our flesh that wanted us to stay? Was it selfish ambition to stay because doing so allowed us a break in rent that has allowed us to get debt free and now build up savings? Should we count the new team as "more significant than ourselves?" We loved doing our job and our manager loved the job we were doing, but, if we were honest, could the new team offer something we couldn't? Had we looked at other's interests really and not just what Chris and I would prefer? Would it be better for the new team who was eager to get started? Would it be better for the residents to have a team who isn't distracted by 2 littles at events (even though the residents love our kids)? Would it be better for the staff to have a team that could dedicate the time to be even more creative and encouraging to them? And finally, and most importantly, would it be best for our girls to really be our primary ministry?
You can imagine the weight of that. Chris and I battled with it and prayed through it so much. There was so much peace in the journey though. We were on the same team. We never felt emotional one way or another. We never tried to manipulate the outcome. We wanted what God wanted for us... we just didn't know what that was.
We felt like 3 things needed to fall into place for us to leave and boy did they fall into place fast!
1. We needed to both feel as certain as you can that it was time to go. As soon as Moriah was born Chris and I both had this indescribable peace that it was time to at least start looking for a house and see what happened.
2. We needed to find a house that was within our budget. We truly thought this would take months and months... maybe even all the way till our end day in May. Nope! We started looking at houses less than 2 weeks ago and the first house we saw we loved. Made an offer to rent the next day and it was accepted with the condition of a move in date of Feb 1 (just 3 weeks later).
3. The team that was set to take our place in May needed to be willing to start once we were ready to leave. The new team was and is more than ready to take our place! And the best news is we get to be their Mentor Team (even though we aren't technically a part of Apartment Life/CARES) and serve on their prayer team.
So feel free to say a prayer for the Kisers... we are moving. Yep, with a 3 week old we have less than 2 weeks now to pack up this house and move into a new one. So very crazy.