I’ve visualized this moment for a long time. When I would be able to finally sit down and write the miraculous story of how our move from Texas to Arizona came to be. I dreamed of the ways God would use us as an example of pushing through the hard stuff while patiently waiting for him to release us. Now as I sit here on my final day in Arizona before flying home to pack up our life & drive it west forever I don’t even know where to begin. I wish you could read my prayer journal as the last 5 weeks have unfolded this move out of no where. From praying that God would move my heart to love where I was at and feel at peace if His desire for us was to stay. To praying for God to bring ALL of the connections together as we laid this move happening NOW on the alter ONE ... MORE ... TIME.
As we’ve begun telling close friends and family I’ve been asked the standard questions like why Arizona? I thought you loved Texas?
On the first of the new year my devotions read John 4:4 “there was a shorter route but Jesus NEEDED to go through Samaria.” That pretty much sums it up. We NEEDED to make a pitstop on the way to our destination. But seriously ... after answering this endlessly the past few weeks I can tell you this. When I left Iowa 6 years ago I can confidently say I ran AWAY from Iowa to Texas. For the first 3 years the move was all I ever wanted. It wasn’t Iowa & that’s all I cared about. Kobi and I learned how to become a team of ONE. We were both so codependently attached to our friends and family we weren’t the first people each other would turn to. Any good married couple would tell you making this a habit is basically at the top of the marriage survival list. We found an incredible church focused on growing leaders. Kobi became very involved with various soccer leagues even getting me to join my first team ever so we could play together. I found my Mastermind group filled with kingdom women God hand selected to mentor me through the toughest season of my life yet ... while they would probably just refer to me learning the art of “adulting”. These women have taught me what true relentless prayer looks like. I have loved living a fast 3 hour road trip away from OKC so I could grow an unbreakable bond with my warrior friends Shelly & Amie. If you know Kobi at ALL you know he has completely transformed himself in Texas. Somedays I am in complete awe of the strong husband ... the leader & provider of our household he has grown to be. But ... if I had known what the next 3 years were going to be like I would have run back to Iowa barefoot.
It was NOT fun.
It was NOT easy.
I cried more in the last 3 years than most do in a lifetime.
I watched everything in my life from friendships to confidence crumble.
I learned what it’s like to NOT be an unstoppable goal crushing champion.
I also became very familiar with the feelings of deep depression.
I knew God was doing something deep within me and most days I had JUST enough in me to make it through the day hoping that tomorrow the sun would shine again.
My poor parents ... goodness I hope I never have to go through the pain they experienced as I called them daily either sobbing in hopelessness or rip roaring MAD and just angry hating God. But like really great parents they assured me God was doing something great and would let me lose my crap for the 87,000th time on the other end of the phone.
All the while about a year into our Texas adventure I began traveling to Arizona. What began with Kobi driving my Cadillac to work that connected us with our new friends Sarah and Joe ... grew a love for this beautiful place in the desert. Let’s be honest it started with MY love of this place. I have a handful of friends that have diligently prayed alongside me for years to change Kobi’s heart to love the southwest. Ok to be completely honest my friend Lindsay and I have prayed to be this geographically close since college. Finally after a few trips to Arizona on our marriage retreats with the Townsend Leadership Program & watching soccer with the Whipple’s ... Kobi too was ready to move to this beautiful place of mountains ... relaxed recreational culture ... and “Midwest nice” type of people. But that didn’t mean we could move just yet.
We both knew while yes ... God had MOST definitely called us to Texas ... and that while it absolutely beat the heck out of us ... it also grew us into warriors that TRUSTED in God’s every move. What we wanted more than anything was to do this move on HIS timing. To be RELEASED and not to RUN. They say God’s delay is never His denial ... but they don’t talk about the season in the desert of the delay. Last summer I really thought everything was coming together for the move. I spent a few weeks in Arizona ramping up my business out there. But as the days went on I could feel the timing just wasn’t right. I returned home with a broken and incredibly angry heart. This was actually what started my 60 day social media fast. On that fast God opened me up to what was REALLY waiting for us in Arizona. I realized how DISconnected we were. That Texas might be filled with incredible people ... and a handful of people we love ... but at the end of the day it wasn’t where our tribe was. I began to STOP seeing Arizona as this plentiful place to explode by business and STARTED seeing it as the HOME God had been preparing for us all our lives. A HOME where Christ centered friends and family of ours have been relocating to for years. A couple weeks ago in Phoenix my mom and I had dinner with friends of hers that she made in Iowa about 40 years ago. The Greens ... unbeknown to us before this dinner ... live 7 minutes from our new Arizona home. We crawled in my car after an incredible night with them and all my mom said was “Wow. It’s like you are moving HOME.” I just wept with a grateful heart.
Now I know another question burning in your mind. My friend Tammy asked me recently if I was sad to leave Texas. I said ... I wont miss the people because true friendship knows no distance. I won’t miss the city because I’ll always visit for work. But if I’m being FULLY honest which we know is my style ... I find myself constantly battling the sadness of ... that is NOT what I thought that would be. That we went there full of hopes & dreams that were smashed into the ground. It was a season of one big heartache after another. I am gratefully taking the wisdom I gained & moving on with not a single glance in the rear view mirror.
To everyone of our friends in Texas we thank you. Thank you for loving us through one hell of a season that seemed to last a lifetime. We are people that NEVER forget loyalty & loving us when we weren’t always at our best. You know the guest room is ALWAYS open for you.
To Shelly. Can you believe it’s here? Can you even believe it. Guys not only did Shelly marry Kobi & I ... but she continued to chase after us with all her guts to make sure we turned to each other no matter how dark it got. And let’s all be honest. Those first few years of marriage are HARD ... so she had her work cut out for her.
To Susan. Thank you for going on this prayer journey with me that unlocked my deepest desires. I DO believe with all my heart we have been released because of our daily prayers we have been circling together. “Delight yourself in the Lord ... and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4. Thank you for joining with me every day to make sure my desires are His.
To our friends in Arizona ... oh man. Sarah & Adriana ... thank you for being the ones that started it all. Whipple family thank you for being the reason I never stopped coming & having a soccer team for Kobi to join. TLP family thank you for being the reason we got Kobi to even get on a plane to visit & showing him he would have friends when he came. Armijo family thank you for always welcoming me into your home all the months I flew in for a fast 24 hours. For praying & hoping knowing that there would be a day we would call this city our HOME. Ashley you crazy freaking friend of mine. Thank you for diligently forcing me to make more and more friends here each time I came so when this vision became a reality I was already surrounded by a tribe. Zach & Megan .... hahaha ... goodness sakes you are my little bro & sis from another family ... and while technically Mary Kay brought us together I love that we all get to build this new great life in a MUCH warmer climate. Thank you to my aunt’s Rochelle & Sue for marrying my uncles a billion years ago so I could move to your homeland years later with cousins just waiting for me. Laura & Kayla we have so many cousin hikes ahead of us ... who ever knew 30 years ago as farm girls in Iowa we’d end up minutes away from each other a thousand miles from home. Tiffanie ... my Iowa Hawkeyes forever Arizonian ... thank you for opening up your home not once but TWICE so I could go before our moving truck with all my stuff and begin setting up our new place. Krista & Lebs thank you for relentlessly claiming alongside me this would be our home. Thank you for showing me WHERE we wanted to live in this big city ... and for giving me a picture in my mind that I focused on DAILY to turn into a reality. Krista you were my HOPE on days I wanted to throw in the towel.
Most of all ... God thank you for letting us go to a place that stands for transformation ... rebirth ... and the ultimate symbol of strength and renewal. Here we go!