So the prayers continued. Nick talked with several people in the church over the phone and via skype and the ball began to roll. I broke down and told my other sweet friends and teammates at work that I there was a possibility that I might not return after my maternity leave. They were all so supportive as I knew they would be. As my due date approached and I was being seen by a specialist twice a week, trying to just survive teaching while being so uncomfortable, and getting ready for Avery to come at any moment, we had to take a break for a minute to focus on that huge life change that was about to happen. She came into the world on October 23, 2013 and we were quickly swept into parenthood and all that comes with having a newborn at home. After a couple of weeks, we knew that we had to talk with our families. Nick had spoken with the church and we were asked to come out for a visit the first week of December. We knew we needed to tell them soon so that we could prepare for our trip.
The conversations were tough. People were upset. And all we could do was trust the Lord and hold tight to His promises and know that we weren't crazy. Or were we?? You really start to doubt yourself some when the people that matter the most are telling you what you are doing may not be right. We continued on though and went to visit FBC Bogata when Avery was just shy of five weeks old! Yes, we crossed the country by car with that little one and she did just fine (-: The church was so welcoming and we knew right away that we would be moving soon...and we were excited!! God was calling us back to the ministry and that is exactly where we were supposed to be. On the way back home we shed some tears of sadness even though we were truly excited! We knew that we would be telling our families and friends that we would be moving to Texas and taking that new grand baby with us )-: It wasn't easy ya'll.
After we got home, things became real pretty quick. We had jobs to quit, families that wanted to have multiple conversations about us going that were never easy, a house to pack, and a newborn baby to take care of. We explained as much as we could that this was God's will for us and we had to go and follow Him, but it's a hard concept to swallow sometimes. And it was for many people around us. How can you leave your job in the middle of the year? Don't you know it will hurt your chances of getting one in the future? What about your retirement? Nick is doing so well with his job, don't you think its crazy for him to leave? What about Avery? How will you survive financially? Don't you know you will never make it? I could obviously keep going, but you get the point. And understand I hope! These were all very valid questions. But the one thing still remained true. The Lord was calling us to go, and we had to go.
As time creeped closer to Christmas, everyone calmed down some and we enjoyed some much needed family time. It was a hard time for sure, because we had nailed down a date to move (January 10th) and it was getting very close. I was trying to pack up a house with a newborn while Nick worked long holiday hours and it was tough. LOTS of time to think about the questions everyone had for us and part of me was really scared. I resigned from my job and it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I loved my school, teaching, my teammates... When it came time to pack it up I had a very hard time. I didn't really talk to anyone about it either. I just wanted to be strong, get it done, and move on. I mean I didn't have a choice. Telling my sweet little fifth graders Mrs. Richie wouldn't be coming back was pretty tough too. Lots of hugs and tears. It broke my heart. Leaving my classroom broke. my. heart. I poured all of me into that classroom for 6 years and I had to leave.
Well, we got everything all packed up and the church sent us a crew of wonderful men from the church body that drove all the way from Texas to Georgia to pack us up and take us with them! What a blessing it was! Leaving our families was super tough and many tears were shed of course. But we got in our car and left Marietta, Georgia. A place that proved very comfortable for us, that provided very good jobs, let us be close to both of our families, all of our friends, and was home to us. The drive was long and this time we had Sadie with us (our dog) and our good friend David to make it more interesting. We made it just fine and arrived to half the town of Bogata (literally) waiting with open arms to cook us a meal and unpack our moving truck! Our house was full of furniture and boxes in no time and people were unpacking things and asking where it needed to go..it was crazy! So a new life began. We arrived on a Friday and our first Sunday at the church was my 30th birthday!
Honestly, we haven't looked back really. We miss our family and friends back home (and yes I say home because I was born and raised in Georgia for 30 years.. I mean it is home) SO MUCH! It's just when you are in the center of God's will, you have a peace that is unexplainable. I am able to stay at home with Avery right now, financially God is providing in every way, and we have people here that love us like we are their own. The church is growing and thriving, Nick's youth ministry is exploding spiritually, and God makes it clear to us that we are right where we are supposed to be. Some days are tough. And some days I question things. I mean who wouldn't? We are love our small little town of Bogata, Texas and are loving watching God move and work in our church and community. Big things are happening ya'll.
Thank you Lord for revealing your plan so clearly and giving us the boldness to accomplish Your will and GO!