It is with extremely mixed emotions that Will and I (and Joey) share that we are in the process of moving back to America. We've known this for a while, but haven't shared any details because of the importance of the Green Card process. We made the decision to move back in the fall of 2017 and began the Green Card process for Will in November of 2017. Earlier this week, he was officially approved (It was a very long process) and now we wait for the final step - his interview in Paris. Will having his green card will mean that he will become a legal permanent resident in America and allow him to work and live there.
Life in Lyon
Our life in Lyon started out incredibly difficult. The first year was so hard adjusting to the culture shock and a totally different way of life. Will had also spent his first 5 years of adulthood in America and experienced work place culture shock here in France. After the first year, God began opening up so many doors and opportunities for us to adjust to life here. Lyon became our home. We found a church body, we both worked full time jobs, we became a part of an incredible community of people, and we totally fell in love with the beautiful city. I have lived in 3 difference places my whole life and Lyon is definitely my favorite home by a long shot. That's what makes this move so difficult... Saying goodbye to a place and a life that we love so much, but knowing for the long-term, America fits more with the dreams, callings, and life that God has placed on our hearts. France has given us many opportunities and experiences we never would have gotten if we had stayed in America, but it also doesn't provide some of the things that we want and need. It's difficult to have two homes (America and France) and to know that you can't have both... You can't mesh those worlds together and take the pieces from each that you want. So unfortunately it means us having to choose which one is better for us in the long run and leaving the other one behind.
The greatest struggle we have faced here that has been a huge factor in our decision to move has been our professional lives. God put a call on my life at 18 to pursue full-time ministry with children and families. I've been a part of the Kids Ministry at our church in Lyon, but full-time Children's Ministry really doesn't exist in France and I have struggled in my current job, knowing it's not fulfilling this calling. For Will as a Business Management Major, his options are extremely limited in France professionally. I'm so grateful to come from the country of possibilities... America provides every opportunity possible for people to pursue their dreams.
Joey and I leave Lyon on Wednesday (Will will stay a little longer) and I have been in denial for the past few weeks. I never thought this move would be so difficult or that I would feel so much sadness about leaving. I'm grateful for what God has done in this time. The first few months of being in France, all I wanted was to go back to America and to my 'normal'. If you had told me then that I would be sad to leave, I would have never believed you. Our time in France is a testament to the goodness and faithfulness of God. That He can take difficult, dark, frustrating, depressing seasons and turn them into wonderful experiences. Our life here has been 3.5 years of challenges and frustrations, but also so much joy and growth. God has spoken to us in new ways, given us additional callings, taught us so many lessons, and humbled us.
Our life in Lyon will always be a part of us. We'll forever thank God for this time here, for the people we've shared life with & for the amazing ways God has worked in us and those around us. We have no idea what lies ahead but in the same way God blessed us in Lyon, we know He'll do the same in Denver...
Life in Denver
We're moving to Denver! We wanted to move to a large city that has plenty of opportunities for us.... We love the active outdoor lifestyle, the mountains, and that we also have some family there too.
It has been hard to focus on the future when I'm sad and scared to leave the present behind, but I know God will have great things for us in Denver. We are excited for new adventures, fun with family, building our new community of people, continuing to grow the Kingdom of God, pursuing our dreams, and seeing what new ways God will grow us.
New seasons are hard, especially at the beginning. Here are some things you can be praying for:
1. The transition to American life - We'll be totally starting over. New jobs, opening bank accounts, buying cars, finding a new church body, furnishing a home, renewing drivers licenses (And driving again!! I haven't driven a car in 3.5+years), building a new community, finding an apartment, etc.
2. Reverse culture shock - Life will look so different in Denver than it is in Lyon. Please pray for that transition.
3. Will's Green Card finalization and our time apart - We are waiting for a date for his interview, which we estimate will be sometime mid-late July. After that, he'll officially move. Please pray for the time we're separated and for me as I start preparing everything in America on my own.
4. Peace as we say goodbye to loved ones and to Lyon.
5. Logistics - Safety traveling (Joey will leave Wednesday morning, I leave Wednesday afternoon), finishing packing and shipping our belongings, etc
6. God's timing and direction - Please pray for God's timing (and our patience), especially over the next few months, as we make big decisions.
7. The glory of God through our lives.
The rest of this week I’ll be focused on time with Will, packing, & getting things settled in in Denver... I’ll get around to messages & questions next week. Thank you for your prayers and support. I'll continue giving updates about life in Denver and our transition out of Lyon... More to come... The best is yet to come!