Chris got a new job in December. Not just a new job, but the job. After 5 years of school, waiting, praying, and more praying, Chris now has a full time pastor job. This is so exciting for so many reasons, and I think I'll need to dedicate an entire post to how the job came to be (because obviously there were a ton of God orchestrated things that happened leading up to it!) but for today I want to talk about the biggest life change that is happening because of this job- we're moving!
Chris and I both grew up in St. Albert, and for the most part have lived here our entire lives. We love St. Albert and probably always will. More so than just this city, we love the house we live in, which happens to be the house I grew up in. When Chris and I first got engaged my Mom announced she was planning on moving out. My two sisters and I were shocked and saddened because we all grew up in this house, and the significance of living in only one house our entire childhood and adolescence (and adulthood for a couple of us!) was not lost on us. We all love and value this house. It has always been home. So when my mom decided to leave, it was the most natural thing in the world for Chris and I to decide to rent the house from her. It also ended up working out very well for us financially while Chris was in the school, because my mom renovated the basement to accommodate tenants which offset the amount of rent we paid. Such a blessing!
So now fast forward to 5.5 years later. Not only did I grow up in this house, but now I have lived here as a married woman and begun a family here. We have made this house completely our own- we painted and decorated, removed things and added plenty of things. We tried our hands at gardening for a year or two, then turned the existing patch of dirt into grass, and now have placed a giant playset on top. We have hosted parties, potlucks, playdates, big family meals, games nights and get togethers. We have returned from short retreats and long vacations, collapsing onto the couch or into bed exclaiming how good it was to be home. We brought one baby home, and birthed one baby in this living room. We converted my childhood rooms into two nurseries and now one big boy room. My children's doors still have my childhood height markings etched into them.
There are a whole lot of memories all wrapped up in this house. A lifetime.
And now, we move.
When Chris first got the job in Westlock I avoided thinking about moving for at least a week. I didn't want to open the floodgates. I knew this would be a hard thing and it was just so much easier to avoid thinking of it, so quite simply, I just didn't. Instead I prayed. I asked the Lord to give me a peace that surpasses all understanding. In all worldly thought, this move will be heart wrenching, but I know that I have a secret weapon. The Lord really truly can make this easy for me. I wasn't sure how, but I knew he could. And so I prayed and I waited.
And in His faithfulness the Lord highlighted a conversation I had with my nieces and nephew. They were over at our house, staying the night and as usual, they were all eager to hold their baby cousin. One of them was holding her when she started to cry and so I took her back, and as babies tend to do when given back to their mommy, she settled down immediately. My 11 year old niece Dez asked why she calms down so quickly when she's in my arms. I told her "She knows me. My smell, my voice, my heartbeat. She lived inside of me for 9 months and so, to her, being in mommy's arms is like home." And as I said it, it clicked.
Home isn't four walls and a roof. Home is the sound of Chris' belt clanging when he's getting dressed. It's Elliott snoring in his bed, and the sound of his footsteps in the morning as he runs from his room to ours. It's the weight of a baby sleeping on my chest, and the tight squeeze of Elliott's arms around my neck when he hugs me goodnight. Home is the smell of fresh laundry as I fold and put it away. The creaking sound that Audrey's swing makes as she snoozes during the day, and the joyful new sound of her laughter. It's sitting around a table together eating a meal, and it's Chris calling from the kitchen asking if I need anything before he comes to join me on the couch after a long day.
Home is the smell, sounds and feeling of my babies and my husband. My memories are all wrapped up in them, not in this house. Every single significant memory in this house is attached to a person, not a structure.
And so I will pack up our belongings with care, I will take all my boxes and I will take all my people and I will unload them into a different set of walls and roof. I'll put my babies to bed, listen to Elliott snore, hear Chris' belt buckle hit the floor before we climb into bed and whisper how good it feels to be home.