5 years ago we began our church planting journey. We knew our calling was to an urban, secular, pluralistic, post Christian, global city. We had it narrowed down to New York or Seattle. We took our first trip to Seattle about 3 years ago. We fell in love with the vibe of the city and the Ballard neighborhood in particular. We formed relationships to prepare to plant in Ballard. As we were preparing to go, we felt God was telling us to wait. Not knowing what all that was about, we stayed in Texas for a bit longer, helped plant a church for a while and continued to seek god for where he wanted us to be. God was calling us to a season of preparation for planting. We felt that NYC was where we needed to explore and were led there in many ways. Mike got a leadership residency with Fellowship associates who have been training church planters for over 12 years. Our residency was hosted by Irving Bible Church where Mike was invited to both contribute to the worship and preaching teams and also learn from a healthy church who had like minds and like hearts. In the meantime we took many trips to NYC in preparation starting with our first one almost 4 years ago. We formed a relationship with Brian Moll at Forefront church in Manhattan and were preparing to plant with them, Forefront Upper West Side. It was during this time that one of Mike’s mentors/friend, Bruce Martin, contacted him about a church in Ballard, the very neighborhood in Seattle that originally had stirred our hearts. As we talked with the people of the church and made a few visits, we realized that God was calling us to partner together to seek the renewal of the city. Although we love New York and always will, we felt a burden for the people of United in Seattle, WA. Our journey to plant in NYC led us back to Seattle and also prepared us in many ways for Seattle. The preparation we needed came from New York (preparing to church plant in Upper West Side), but through this God was actually preparing us for Seattle. The two journeys have gone hand in hand and we needed both to land where we are today.
On our last trip to Seattle for a final interview, God tied our hearts together with these people. It felt like an instant family. This is probably one of the biggest decisions we have ever made. One of my main fears was wanting to do the right thing for my babies. It’s frightening to think of moving to a brand new place across the country thousands of miles from everything familiar and farther away from family to a big city. Yes, we were in the same boat with NYC, but at this final interview, it was time to face it immediately! I’d be lying if I said that we were strong the whole time. My mind started to spin and I couldn’t think straight. We went through 8 days of interviews. It was amazing and beneficial, but exhausting and intense! At this point I asked God to speak thought my children since they were the ones I were worrying most about. Ella, one of the toughest critics I know with many opinions, absolutely loved Seattle. On the morning of the vote, as Mike and I were eating lunch at a bar with the kids watching the Seahawks waiting on the vote, Ella said, “Mom, can this be our new home. I love my new friends and my new church. I want to live here.” All fear and questions went out the window. I knew God had answered my prayer. That was the last bit of confirmation I needed to see God 100% in this move. I did not need to question or be afraid…I needed to be still and listen. Since then, we have seen God provide and bless us in unimaginable ways to show us every step of the way that He is in this. We are so excited to have come full circle back to Seattle and to begin this new journey.
We will make our move the 2nd week of April. We will spend our last 7 weeks here cherishing the last bit of our beautiful adventure in Texas that began in 2007. We will be soaking in time with our friends that we will miss dearly and spending some time at home with family before we jet across the country. Mike and I moved here shortly after we got married. We had our babies here, started careers here, finished school and built many lifelong friendships. I didn’t expect to grow roots in Texas, but I sure did. It has been one of the richest times in our lives that I know I’ll look back on forever. Thank you all so much for your prayers and friendship through our church planting journey. It’s been a long road to get here and it’s only just begun! We’ve had our ups and downs. It definitely hasn’t been an easy road but it’s been amazing. We thank those who have stood by us and celebrated us through the good times and carried us through the bad! We love you all!