Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Steps

A big decision has been weighing on our hearts and minds for the past several months. A decision that is both exciting and terrifying. A decision that we question and doubt on a daily basis. And for that reason, this post has been written and waiting in my "Edit Posts" page since September. And I'm only getting up the courage now to actually post it.

It started over a year ago (summer 2009) when Erik and I began talking about moving to Manitoba. Contrary to what many people think, the idea started in Erik's head. When he suggested moving to the place where I grew up, I think I laughed at first. It's not really out of character for him to make crazy and completely unrealistic suggestions. But he just kept talking about it. And I fought the idea all the way. The thought of leaving our lives in Abbotsford and moving to the town of Boissevain was just too... weird.

But, the idea grew on me over time. We even made a list of pros and cons when we got back to BC last year. But even though the pros seemed to lean towards MB even then, neither of us felt like it was enough to just pick up and leave. We decided to stay put and wait for more direction from God. The months went on, and pretty soon I had totally given up on the idea and was convinced that God wanted us to stay in BC. It seemed like Erik had several great job opportunities on the horizon... but, ironically, none of them really amounted to anything.

Fast forward to this summer. When we decided to spend our whole summer in Boissevain, I was totally "over" the idea of moving there. Instead, I decided that we were getting the best of both worlds - spending our summer months in Manitoba while still coming back to our life here in BC - perfect! In fact, I warned Erik on the drive out that he shouldn't get any more big ideas in his head about moving.

But in a matter of weeks (maybe even days) Erik was already talking about how much he would love to live there. Again, I fought it.

Just a little background here: In our relationship, Erik is the emotional, "fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants" one. I'm the cautious one. So while he was pushing ahead with his big vision for our future, I was pulling back on the reins. Hard. But Erik had some convincing arguments and slowly I began to see why all of his reasoning made sense.

One of the biggest reasons is the obvious ease of financial pressure - the unpredictability of Erik's business plus having a mortgage (on a tiny townhouse) in this insane BC market has been super-stressful on us. Another big reason was the change in lifestyle for ourselves and our family - moving from the city to a small town where our kids could go to the same school from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (the same school that I went to for 13 years!) and where we can be involved in a smaller church and a smaller community. Also, moving to Manitoba means being closer to my family for the first time (my parents live in Boissevain and my 3 siblings and their families all live within a 3-hour drive).

And no, I haven't forgotten about the prairie winters; though Erik actually considers that to be an advantage.
I'm not quite convinced :)

We've spent a lot of time talking with friends and family about this big decision. And most arrows seem to be pointing to Manitoba. Even after we've come back to Abbotsford and had many, MANY moments of fear and doubt and questioning, our times of prayer and journalling seem to keep bringing us both back to the same conclusion.

So, with fear and trepidation we are slowly taking baby steps towards making this happen. Testing the waters... and feeling a little fearful of diving in all the way. Today we put our house up for sale on Craigslist (click here to view). Not sure if it will amount to anything, but it felt like a significant baby step. Right now, our tentative plan is to move in the spring or summer.

Honestly, I don't feel like I have any unrealistic ideals and dreams about what moving is going to look like. My cautious nature might be at fault, but I'm kind of expecting the worst. Not sure if this is a good thing! But, I guess I'm just well aware that a big change like this doesn't come without some big bumps in the road. In some ways I feel like we're moving to a completely different country. Small-town Manitoba & greater-Vancouver BC are 2 entirely different cultures in a lot of ways. So, I feel like I'm preparing myself for culture shock, for loneliness, and for the feeling of not quite knowing where I belong. At least in the beginning.

So, we slowly step forward and put each decision and fear and dream into God's faithful hands. If you think of us, we'd appreciate your prayers; that we would have clarity in our decision-making and that we would trust God to direct us on this journey...


Trev and Rebekah said...

Glad you were able to post this. Shows me you are even more ready to walk towards MB. Moving and transition is not easy. Making friends, joining care-groups that are already set, fiding a new's not easy but God is faithful. He blesses those who step out in faith and I know you will experience his faithfulness each step of the way.

We will be right here praying for and with you know that! We love you guys and hate to see you move and yet who knows how long we'll be here either! :0)

Trev and Rebekah said...

Oh, and if anyone comes to look at the place have fresh baking ready for them to eat and smell. Someone told me that people love the smell of fresh baking when they go house hunting and that it makes a place feel like home! Maybe they'd love the smell so much they'd want to call it home.

erin said...

Wow - that's exciting.

We'll be praying for you as you go forward.

I'm sure your parents are super excited!

The Art of Being Frank said...

This is Erica. If your a city person at heart living in Manitoba is going to be absolutely difficult for you and I am not sure if the school option is the best option in the world - I would never send my kids there. I do understand you have family there, but what about Brandon or Winnipeg or some place. The way that school treated me would not make me want anyones kids to go there. Anyways, its understandable that you have family there. Anyways its all your decision. Happy thinking.

kelly ens said...

I have to apologize for my selfish attitude in this. We're going to miss you guys SO much.
BUT I want to be supportive of you guys; no doubt this is not an easy decision and so as you head towards this transition, know that we feel you should be following God's lead, even if that means moving far away from us all here! :)

Jamie said...

Erica - I'm sorry you had such a negative experience at the school there. I'm well aware that there are a lot of difficult things about living in a small community.
And even though Erik and I like the conveniences of the city, I really think we are "small town" people at heart.

Janelle said...

i think you already know how i feel about this. and how incredibly excited our family is to have yours close by. :) :) :)
BUT i also know the other side of this, having just left my family.
so we will pray as specifically as we can for the issues that we know are still yet to arise.
it's GOOD to be hesitant Jamen! don't discount yourself in that. that's what makes you guys a great couple, and allows you to work together and work THROUGH things together.
can't wait to see what God has in store for you.
we love you tons.

Anonymous said...

wow, what a big step!
we just moved out of the city into a small town (not closer to any family for MANY reasons, though) and it is not easy. i got so used to having everything close by, to have several "church-options" (here it's only one) and to start with the whole new "finding new people to share life with"-thing.
but, acutally, it's nice! i love being OUTSIDE, not just a park to have a small kindergarten/school- (till grade 12 as well) option and to live a quieter and slower life!

happy thinking:)
great day for you!

Kathy said...

I am super excited for you Jamie!!....well maybe even excited for myself as well....I have really missed the friendship we had growing up. Even if we have been here for 4 years, I can't say I have many Christian friends that I can hang out with, chat with, have my kids play I am a bit more excited for me I suppose....
Blessings on your journey, and praying for His peace in your lives as you venture this way....

Sarah said...

Jamie, I will pray for you as you come to mind. You know what's strange? While reading your post I was actually a touch jealous - a small town, slower paced life sounds really appealling to me! I hope that you and Erik really sense God's leading as doors open or close and that you have real peace in wherever the Lord leads. Blessings to you both as you pray, take baby steps, and wait.

amanda salmon said...

i think the "plan" sounds lovely!
although i dont know you very well, i'm very excited for you in this adventure towards simplicity and financial responsibility.
we want to live simply and i really am trusting God that one day he will give us the small chunk of land we are hoping for here (since our families have moved here to be close to us!).
i look forward to reading how this adventure unfolds and when your house sells!

rachel joy said...

As Kelly said, you will be so missed here! But, I think it's fantastic that you have this opportunity and are at a place in life where you can really see if that's the door God wants you to go through. And I'm more that just a touch jealous. :) Reading about your summer there was so refreshing. Of course there will be challenges and struggles and adjustments, but if you're following what God has laid on your heart, there will be blessing and rewards in abundance too.

The Keowns said...

i think is excited!
first of all, for the kids. To grow up closer to there cousins and to get to know them so much better. As for school, I always wished we lived in a small town, just because of the small schools. I think thats why I love my kids school so much because it has that 'small comminuty' feel. The public schools in winnipeg scare me!
culture shock will be huge, even going to winnipeg from Brandon was a whole different lifestyle, but I think you will adjust quickly and the slower pace will be refreshing.
I remember the decision to move to winnipeg did not appeal to me at all and it was the best thing for me and I am SO GLAD we did it. I had so many hesitations and it was so scary.
Steve has this 'idea' that we should move to a small town too. Reading your story makes me a little scared because he sounds so much like Erik LOL!
Yes, the winters are nasty but you learn to deal with them and remember how beautiful our summers our!

rachel joy said...

I was going to say that the one school thing is really cool. Of course it has its issues, but I sure like the sounds of that rather than all the transitions between elementary to middle to high school. It's too much! I think my only option to avoid middle school for my boys will be homeschooling! Glad I've got some time to work through that.

Jen Glen said...

I know how hard this decision has been for you guys and you also know what I think! Baby steps are good. Change is always scary and hard, even good change. And take it from one who moved back to the place she grew up still takes awhile for it to feel like home again.

the Dees fam said...

Your home in BC really is beautiful, Jamie and I hope you have NO TROUBLE selling it! I hope the way becomes clear and the excitement and anticipation builds for all of you as you look forward to the future in Manitoba. You will be in our prayers!

Anonymous said...

You will be in our prayers - I can understand that this is a big decision and will involve lots of change good and challenging. Ultimately I will pray for peace in your decision, trust in the Lord that he is faithful, and joy in the process. And if you do move to Manitoba, please know that you have friends here already.
Rachel Bamford

Bonnie said...

I wondered if this might be the case when I saw your craigslist ad on facebook the other night.
But just to add some encouragement for you---
Jon and I often spend our commute into Abbotsford everyday (for missions training), praying together. We pray for some specific things, but then we also have a time of "listening prayer" where we wait for God to show us what HE wants us to pray for. About a month ago, or so, we were praying on our drive in, and after some time of "listening," I told Jon that I felt really moved to pray for you and Erik. I had no idea why, or even what I was supposed to pray for, but I felt like God was saying, "intercede for them. They're going through some tough stuff."
So now...... having read this post, I think it makes a lot of sense. You guys have obviously had a lot on your minds lately. So I wanted you to know that we were praying for you, and now that I know about this big change, I can pray more specifically for you guys.
Blessings as you make this big change. Its one I can relate to, as we anticipate our big move to Thailand. Thinking of you guys!

Anonymous said...

I have to still pinch myself sometimes. Never did I ever dream you would move back home. We are so excited to have our whole family in Manitoba, although I will sure miss our annual trip(s) to Bc. Yes, there are many friends here already, and a church that has already embraced you. They are so excited. We have lots to pray for, and I am specifically praying for an earlier surgery date for Erik, and that the house would sell. "For man this is impossible, but with GOD, ALL things are possible. Sometimes "STEPPING OUT" is risky, but as christians, we always know GOD walks ahead of us, pointing us to the left and to the right. His ways are ALWAYS best. Love you guys. Love mom