I’m sitting here on my couch, surrounded by boxes and strewn toys. We have had a crazy weekend getting everything organized and packed around here, as the moving trucks are arriving tomorrow. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been mass chaos like I thought it would be, more like organized shuffling and stuffing. I even have enough time and “packing peace” to sit down on the poor forgotten blog and jot down a few bejumbled thoughts rustling around in my sleep deprived brain.
Some people grow up just itching to get away from their hometown, moving away does not hurt their heart or make them cringe. But not me. I always imagined that I would live out my days here in Olathe, KS, close to my folks and those who I’ve known my entire life. But life changes and so do dreams. That’s what happened when I met my husband, and here we are today, getting ready to move to Milford, NE and start a new life farming. It’s incredibly exciting, terrifying and awe inspiring all at the same time. To say I’m not ready to leave is an understatement, but to say that Milford is exactly where we belong is so true. Do you see my predicament?
I, we, have been so blessed the years that we have been here. Growing up in Olathe, I have become very much a part of this special community in many facets. I have had so many people POUR into my life while I have been here, most of whom are still an important part of my life today. From the early days at OBC, whether it be at a staff event or a youth group activity, there were so many wonderful people who impacted and changed my life for the better. The countless hours spent in Bible study, cell groups, Christmas Eve Service practices, Kingdom Kids, Fall Retreats and my parent’s worship practices shaped me into the person that I am today. So many fun memories of all the pastor’s kids running up and down the halls of the old building! All of the hours that so many Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, pastors and parents volunteered their time to spend it with a bunch of kids meant more to this girl than you will ever know. And it wasn’t just that you were “there,” you were present. And for that I am so grateful! I also had so many teachers in the Olathe School District that impacted my life, and still do to this day. I was what most people knew as a “brown noser” or a “goodie-goodie” growing up. The truth is that I was brought up very sheltered and had a very honest case of naivety. This meant I got along very well with almost every teacher. But a few stick out to this day: Miss. Morris, Mrs. Stone, Mrs. Warner, Mrs. Chandler, Mr. Ramseyer and Mrs. O’Brien. These teachers believed in me and really took a special interest in my life. And that does a lot for a young lady. And for their impact on my life during my younger years I am so grateful!
I have had the joy of living here for the last 7 years of my life after graduating from nursing school, including 5 1/2 years living here with my husband. We have had so many people love and encourage us in our marriage. We had wonderful premarital counseling with Randy and Cindy Bentele, which created a great foundation to start our marriage on. We were blessed to be a part of “The Dream Team” life group with the Weils, Dunbars, Praueners and Browns. It was the first time as a couple that we truly discovered what a Godly community looked and felt like. When we had to make the difficult decision to leave the small group after we changed churches, we felt an incredible sense of loss. But God was so faithful to bring us to another church and we got plugged into another small group with the Leepers and Boyles. This group was different than the first, still so full of encouragement and community, but this time there were lots of kids between the three couples! It added a new dimension to what accountability and community looked like and we learned so much from these two families. Not only did we connect in a big group, but us girls really got to know and love each other in such a beautiful way. Jodi and Karlynn both have three kids, and with me coming in with just one, I had a lot of learning to do. They let me ask questions, bounce things off of them and pour my heart out. They were so patient, sweet and encouraging. While we were at this church, I also had a woman reach out to me who touched my heart in such a special way, named Janet. Janet and I became friends very quickly when we discovered our many commonalities. She and I have spent many hours talking over coffee, walks and taking dips in her pool. We talked about gardening, children, future plans and Jesus, and we both would usually end up crying about something by the end (come on, as if you weren’t surprised!) The one thing that Janet has taught me in the past few years of knowing her is to take a step back, breath and enjoy all of the little things that bring you joy. It seems so simple, but she lived this out in a way that she spread joy wherever she would go. Another joy that Eric and I got to experience together was helping out at our church’s youth group. This is something that we both have a heart for and were so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of something so important. It was such a wonderful time getting to know the kids, being a part of their lives, going to their events and just hearing their hearts. Eric and I were both so greatly impacted by our youth leaders as kids that we were grateful to have the opportunity to (hopefully) do the same for others. We love those kids, many of whom are going to be seniors this next year (holy smokes!) and are so excited to see what God is going to do in their lives! I am so grateful for the impact that the people we have met in our churches have had on us. They have brought us so much joy!
And then there are my parents. My goodness. I have no idea where to start. This has been the hardest part of the transition for me. My parents have been my heros for as long as I can remember. They have set the best example for me since the moment I was born. They provided me with Godly truths and promises that allowed me to grow up to find my own identity in Christ and become who I am today. The one thing that has and will always stand out about my parents growing up is this: they always tried to do the right thing. Whether it was helping someone in need at the drop of a hat, being kind to someone who didn’t deserve it or saying that they were sorry – I always remember them explaining their actions by saying that it honored God and that it was the right thing to do. And even though the past few years have been terribly difficult and heart breaking for them, they have always stayed true to who they are and been the hardest workers of anyone I know. And it makes me so proud. They have done nothing but bend over backwards to help their kids, Eric included, and we always know that they are just a phone call away if we need them. I know that I will miss having them and my brother right down the road, stopping in at Zuzu’s to visit mom at the store and seeing them everyday. It hurts my heart that we won’t live in the same town, let alone the same state, but right now I’m just thanking the Lord for technology and Skype. But I am going to desperately miss my mom, my best friend. It just hurts my heart. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for my parents. I just can’t.
So as we leave this week, I can only look back and say how grateful I am for those we are leaving here. Eric and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the hours you have spent pouring into our lives and encouraging us along the way. We love you all more than you will ever know!
P.S. We expect lots of visitors 🙂