We were in a rut, but that is a blog for another time! So busy and so exhausted! But God! God had stirred our hearts for a few years about making a move.
People always ask us HOW we made the move from Texas to Florida, so here's our Open Door story....
We began anxiously and casually looking around our community for a new house. Beginning with a neighboring community with acreage and the possibility for enough land for horses. Off and on for a year, we looked with open hearts and minds.
Summer 2014 came and we were facing the oldest's last year of high school. We only had a few months to make a move and take on a little "adventure" as a family of 6. And yes, we thought moving 20-30 minutes away was an adventure. But nothing felt right. Doors only closed and we never had peace about any of the houses or areas we looked at.
We prayed that if that if God wanted us to dare to trust bigger, we were willing. Sure enough, we both knew He was calling us to uproot bigger, we just didn't know where He would lead, but we were ready and willing for one year!
We already had our annual plans for New Braunfels which is a home away from home with dear friends who are like family. We LOVE it there! We both felt a prompting, "What if it's NB?!? How amazing, but scary." It would be a huge move in our minds to be 3 hours from Houston. We had to keep reminding ourselves it was just for a year's time.
We felt the shift we were being called on to the water, which was weird because we had been searching for acreage for horses. In the meantime, I began cleaning out "the closets" and the garage, and under the beds, and more closets...3800 sq feet of space!
With great anticipation about New Braunfels, we prayed for God to confirm it if it was where He was leading us and open every door, close every door not meant for us. We were hopeful for His Yes because it was still close enough to family and work, just a few hours drive away. We pulled out the laptops and looked for one year leases and made appointments to go look at houses.
The first one was scheduled for the hour we were to arrive, and the relator called us an hour before we arrived and told us the people decided to stay, closed door....and the other appointment cancelled their showing, closed door. Ummm....okay. So, God had other plans. We drove around the neighborhood and wandered if it was a By Owner kind of thing, but we never felt it or saw it.
We were still excited to see where He would lead us. We enjoyed this annual get together with life-long friends who are like family, played on the water and were awed by the awesome firework display just as we had been years before. It was a special weekend, but it wasn't our new home. We prayed hoping it would be since it was a place we had talked about for many years, but God did not confirm it to us.
Our last morning there, sipping coffee on the back porch, sad the Lord had not been more clear, my hubby said to me, "I think God is calling us to the Florida Keys." I laughed....rolled my eyes...and said "Whatever." "No really" he says. I replied clearly, "No.way!" There was no way I wanted to go that far off the mainland, Hello Hurricane Central. I didn't want to go to the Islands of Party (I assumed) which surely had no churches and talk about driving distance...too far of a drive at 24 hours the last time we drove it years previous.
My husband was sure there had to be churches there and if there weren't, maybe God would call us there for that reason to start one. My word. I walked away, scared he was serious and hoping he was seriously joking. In years past he had joked about living on an island and be missionaries because he'd had a bad week at work or felt overwhelmed and really just needed a beach vacation!
I kept my No firm all morning until he said those words, "Will you promise to pray about it?" He just had to ask....he knew I would. Well, I did that night. I woke up that morning and to my total and unbelievable surprise, I felt a sense of peace and anticipation. Deep down, I was hoping it wasn't so but felt it could be, but I figured God was just testing my faith and willingness. Yes, I was willing. No, I didn't want to. NB was just enough of a big move, a grand adventure for this girl!
Well, all the doors closed there in NB. We prayed and prayed hoping God would confirm NB while we were there but He didn't. On our way home, my hubby gave me that look, you already know where we are going. Trying not to think about it, I mean really, The Keys, so far away?!?! It didn't make sense.
So we tossed around other "far away" destinations we would want to live and our hearts kept showing us closed doors to the ideas and pulled us back to going to The Keys, open door every time we prayed. It was kinda fun to consider but it would also mean huge sacrifices too, like being away from family, possibly having to find another job if his boss didn't allow him to work remotely, being away from our comfort zone of amazing friends and a wonderful, supportive church family where we had led for 12 years. It was a big testing of our faith and made us pray hard! It sounds funny and obvious I guess to the outsider, but to people who are the "drive it till it breaks, stay where you are, comfort zone, very active in church leadership kind of people," it was huge to move far off, even if it might be to a beautiful destination like beach or mountains.
The following week, we booked airline tickets and made our way there so we could pray with our feet on the ground and take inventory of the area in view of raising a family there and to confirm if we were hearing Him right. It was still mind blowing to think so. Where was the ram in the bush?!? Believe me, I was looking! While God has softened my heart and replaced the fear with joy, in my head, I still wouldn't choose to be there.
God was beyond gracious to give us sign after sign after sign...even in NB. Devotionals we did with our friends pointed us there. Sooo many open doors...Our Bible study lesson pointed us there in Acts 16. Sermons pointed us there. And check out the sign at the restaurant we were eating at while in New Braunfels...Find your beach!
Needless to say, God did call us here. One day I will write out all the "signs" but for now, what a journey to reflect on. What a grand adventure for sure! We were scared yet excited, more fearful for me but I was able to say yes by faith. We packed up our house of 11 years (had it rented within the first week on the market! Sign!) and The Dickerson 6 were here August 2nd, 2014.
Time has flown!!!! This has a been an amazing year with so many blessings! We have grown in our faith so much and our family has grown closer together. The impacts on us are beyond all that we can imagine. In one more month, we will be driving our oldest son back to attend college in Texas and we will return back here to our one more year home in The Keys.
We are so excited to continue our adventure here even though it will be harder with our first son moving out, and away, 24hrs, 1200 miles away, back to the place we have called home our whole adult life! This year was what we all needed, for such a time as this.
I know God has a plan and will once again, supply grace and peace as He has for every step so far. I am counting on it, by faith! We are so thankful for our super supportive family and friends who journeyed the fear, shock and excitement with us, backing us up in prayer and love and for those who He has crossed our paths here with people who welcome us with open hearts and homes!
People ask us how long will we remain in Florida, and honestly, we don't know. We never could have imagined being here in the first place, so it's hard to know what God has planned. There were dreams of horses and mountains and beaches, so who knows! Maybe we will have houses in several places! What we do know, is that we are here another year and will pray fervently every year for His direction for our next one. It may be one more year and back to Texas, or another state, or maybe this will be home for the next 60 years. We don't know.
Wherever He leads is where we want to be. It's truly where faith is! I guess it's how we should be living every day anyway. By faith, with intentionality to serve God and enjoy life, living each day to its fullest, where He calls us, for however long He calls us.
How about you!?! Are you willing to walk through His open doors? What if He's asking you to Find your "beach!" You never know, it might be right out your back window and you are already there but are you living life with open doors on your beach?! And perhaps you have been running from the open door...let me encourage you to walk towards it by faith! I know its scary but I promise you it will bring you joy if it's a door God has opened!
Wherever you are, live it fully!!! By Faith!
If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or drop a Hello in the socials!! Feel free to share with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!
While it could be a whole Encyclopedia, here's a little Guide with things I have
implemented since 2009 to help me live a life of greater Peace and Joy..
Heart Hugs and Blessings,