I am sitting here trying to write my first blog post on our life here in Zambia. Where do I start? How do I begin telling my story? Where did this journey really begin? As I reflect back momentarily I realize it wasn’t when we boarded that plane in Atlanta. Nope. Go back a few months… it wasn’t when we decided to uproot our home and life in Tennessee either.
I know God has had a plan for me since He created me. And I am learning to see His love demonstrated through His story fulfilled in my life. The parts of my life that didn’t make sense, fall into it’s puzzle place a little more snuggly now as I see how they have helped shape and prepare me for my new life here.
But fast forward to that phone call. Yes, I remember it vividly. I was at work, sitting in my office chair probably laboring over the staff schedule or something, when my husband’s number appeared on my caller ID. We often check in with each other throughout the day for a quick chat so this was nothing out of the ordinary. Barely after we exchanged hello’s he dropped the bomb. “So what would you think of us moving to Africa?” I’m like “Huh? Whaaaat? Wait, wait, wait, what are you talking about?” He then precedes to tell me that he just finished a conversation with someone wondering if our family would be willing to move to Zambia and work at Riverside. And then just as quick as the conversation started, it ended. I told Craig, “Don’t initiate conversations like this while I’m at work! Now I have to get back and my head is spinning.” He laughs in his usual Craig manner and hangs up. The rest of the day I felt quite useless and distracted. Did he just ask me to move to AFRICA???
I sat in my chair and looked around me. I was passionate about my job and loved the people I worked with. I had spent 12 years there to get where I was and knew that if I left, I wouldn’t be able to return later and pick right back up where I left off. I would start back at the bottom of the totem pole.
And Craig? He was in love with his job at Outpost Centers International and also making good progress with a new business venture that would take a few years to fully see fruition. We were NOT looking for a new adventure and while foreign mission work was something we had talked about passively from time to time, it was definitely not something we were pursuing.
Within a week Craig got an email from a different person asking if we would join the work in Zambia- unbeknownst to the first inquirer. So I told Craig I would consider considering it.
We talked and prayed about it, of course, then life got busy and a couple months went by. We didn’t talk about it anymore. Temporal things absorbed us. Work was intense and I was wrapped up in the chaos. My house needed some TLC. I dreamed of re-decorating and remodeling. We even considered putting an addition on pending the sale of one of Craig’s real estate listings. I forgot about that phone call.
I forgot until phone call number 2, that is. Apparently my husband forgot his directive about life-changing, rock-my-world phone calls at work. This time I’m at the front desk of the nurses’ station, I think, when my husband calls me to let me know an important board meeting is coming up where some decisions need to be made and we have 2 weeks to give our answer. Once again my head goes in a tail spin.
How do you make a decision like that? Whether I stay or whether I go, I know we can be serving God. So how do I know if this is an impulse to distract us from our ministry here, or if our comfortable life at home is pulling us away from another plan He has? Knowing God’s will seems like a huge mystery sometimes, making us yearn for direct and explicit answers in life. But then it seems drastically simplified too when we take self preservation completely out of the picture and find joy in true obedience.
At first I wasn’t all head over heels about the idea. But somehow I felt moving to Zambia was really the direction we should take. So I prayed that if I followed the Lord’s will regardless of my emotions, that He would align my heart and emotions in the same place. And you know what? He did. I don’t know what clicked, or what changed the affections of my mind, but after Craig and I together made the decision to go, I felt elated. I was enthusiastic about our new journey and excited about raising my family in a simpler environment.
So there you have it, a little (or not so little) snapshot of what brought us here. I won’t bore you with the crazy details of our chaotic last few months in the States. But it was nuts. To give you an idea, both Craig and myself worked overtime to save some extra money while my mom and grandma helped at home with the children. Craig closed his businesses and rented out our home. We move to a temporary apartment. And all within a few months before leaving we reached our deductibles on every insurance we had- car, home, health and phone- due to accidents, power surges blowing out the appliances in our home, Wesley’s seizure incident and a mishap destroying my new iPhone.
All that craziness is over now. And whenever we talk about it we just chuckle and think—nope, the devil didn’t like that decision!