It is with mixed emotions that we announce our family is moving to Arizona. First, let me address the sad emotions. We are leaving a dream of something we expected to invest decades of our life developing. We are leaving a community we love. And we are leaving a state that has forever captured my heart with its amazing weather, landscape, and culture. We didn’t move to Oregon to live here for only three years. And we have had to grieve that reality. (Sidenote: Michelle and I are about to spend a week with a counselor to process through all of this. I share this to counteract the stigma often associated with getting help from a professional if you need it).
I’m a big fan of theology, so I’ll unpack how I make sense of this experience. I don’t think the way things played out in all of this was God’s ‘plan A.’ Free will is real, and often human decisions can alter what God may desire to happen. This should be expected when God is non-coercive love itself. But thankfully, Jesus isn’t a one-plan type of God. In fact, He’s really good with ‘plan B,’ (and plan C, D, E, etc). That doesn’t make a ‘plan B’ moment any less sad or disappointing when it happens, it just means we need not give in to despair or throw in the towel when we find ourselves in this situation. Jesus pivots and invites us to trust Him with something new.
Thankfully, sadness isn’t our only emotion. We now have enough clarity on the next steps to make this move. And the surprising beauty is that Jesus has shown up in new ways and breathed a new life into us. We are dreaming up new possibilities and having creative conversations that would never happen had our lives played out as we thought they would.
Michelle will continue doing real estate in both Arizona and Oregon as she had been. We are so grateful for those of you who have trusted her with that process as we’ve relied on this to provide for our family during this time. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in either of these states I’d highly encourage you to reach out to her. I may be biased, but I also get to see firsthand how good she is at her job. You can connect with her here: MichelleJernigan.com.
Rather than jumping back into a church staff full-time, this season has allowed me to rethink how I might best steward my spiritual gifts and serve the local Church. As a result, I will be pursuing speaking and writing full-time. This means I will get to partner with lots of great churches in a variety of states and utilize the robust Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix to get me there on the weekends. I’ve already begun some of these conversations with church leaders but if you know of a church that could use a guest speaker or even a backup communicator on a more regular basis… let me know! (Click here to contact me).
I also plan to begin work on my third book this next year. I’m excited to be able to dive into my writing and speaking with more time and attention. In addition, Michelle and I are entertaining some very out-of-the-box ideas of how to leverage other things we are passionate about. Stay tuned.
I hope you’ll stay connected with us on this next step of our adventure. We couldn’t have written the script to play out like this but we have no regrets. We will miss Oregon (like a lot) but I will hopefully be back regularly to speak at other churches. We leave with gratitude for our experiences and the perspectives they have given us. We are excited to be living closer to family and to reconnect with our AZ community.
The French author AndrÃ© Gide once said, â€œOne doesnâ€™t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.â€ Or, as Franklin D. Roosevelt said, â€œA smooth seaÂ neverÂ madeÂ aÂ skilled sailor.â€Â The last few years required lots of risks and involved sailing out far enough to lose sight of the shore. But it also allowed us to discover new lands in the process. And even though the ocean has been choppy, we are learning our sea legs just might be stronger than we thought.