If this post dates correctly, we will be on the road as you are reading this. We're on our way to Michigan (again, you say?), but this time it is not for a family celebration (although if everything works out I have a feeling our families will celebrate...). We are on our way for Lucas to candidate at a church! And not just any church!
The church that is considering Lucas for their full-time lead pastor just happens to be our old church. The church we attended before moving to MA. The church where Lucas was the youth pastor when we first started dating. The church where I first witnessed (and fell in love with) Lucas' passion for ministry. The church where I heard Lucas preach for the first time and thought, "Yeah, I could listen to him for the rest of my life." The church where, in the sanctuary one evening, Lucas asked the life changing question, "Will you marry me?" and I responded "Are you serious?" (and then YES!). The church that threw us a surprise wedding shower, whose pastor (our professor and Lucas' mentor) flew to NE to marry us, and from which several members traveled to attend our wedding. The church we first attended as a married couple. The church where we began our partnership in ministry with the youth. The church that we were broken-hearted to leave behind (ask Lucas, we're not sure that we have ever cried more than we did the night we said goodbye to the youth). This church was our HOME.
We would appreciate your prayers for us and the church as we test if this is God's will. We are so excited about the possibility to be able to return to a home for the newest phase of Lucas' ministry.
That being said, my heart is a little heavy as we embark on this trip. If everything works out this will be the last time we return HOME to MA. That makes me sad. Because as much as we want to move back to the midwest to be closer to family, so much of our lives has been here (actually, more of our life together has been here than in MI).
MA was the place where we began our "adventure" - living in a new place, away from family, starting out together. MA was the place where I got my first job out of college. Where we made our first "couple" friends. Where we celebrated various accomplishments - my Activity Director Certification, Lucas getting his Masters, Lucas' first job as a pastor out of seminary. Where we overcame challenges - the struggles at our church, the my stressful wrok environment, infertility. This is where our babies were born. We brought them home to this house. I held them, fed them, rocked them, and watched them sleep in their little nursery. They learned to crawl here (and very likely may learn to walk here). MA is embedded in our heart.
When we left MI we always knew we would come back to visit that home - probably often - because we had family there. But I don't know how often we might visit, or what or whom might bring us back to MA. While I know it is time, and I am excited about the possibilities the future holds, I know I will be sad when we cross the border and see the "Welcome to Massachussets" sign because I know it might very well be the last time that sign means "Welcome Home."