God’s Call to a Reluctant Suburbanite

I craved life in a city center or a rural idyll. He wanted me to hunger after him instead.

On the day the moving truck pulled away, I was the last to leave. The walls were empty except for the black and white stripes we’d painted, and that little spot of white on the turquoise kitchen wall we covered up with a frame (thinking one day we’d get around to fixing it). There was no bump-bump of children running up and down stairs, no circles of noisemaking.

I stepped on the floorboard that always creaks—to hear it one last time. What was once something to fix was now dear.

I ran my fingers along the living room walls. “Thank you,” I said as I touched the walls that had seen so much life and laughter, so many tantrums and tears. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I walked around the room, blessing this house and caressing it like the lips of a lover. I prayed the house would be a sieve where our crazy would get caught and our love would pour out to the next owners, another pastor’s family.

This move from an urban neighborhood in Salt Lake City back home to the suburbs of Southern California was clearly where God was calling us next, but that didn’t prevent the leave-taking from feeling like a kind of death. This was the home we’d known the longest as husband and wife. We brought home half our children to this spot of earth. This was the house with the 15-year renovation dreams attached to it. This was the house with the bookshelves my husband, Bryce, built for me to hold the weight of my years of study.

We were leaving the creaking, 100-year-old floorboards Bryce had refinished to follow God’s call to plant a church in the land of plenty and cookie-cutter tract homes. Roots, when exposed to the light, quiver a little.

Markers of Belonging

At first, I scoffed …

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