The day finally came. The offer letter came on a dreary Friday afternoon and Andrew and I could barely believe what was happening. Here was our chance. Our chance to move back to family on the east coast. Our chance to (Lord willing!) buy a house and (Lord willing!) start a family. So many thoughts swarmed through our heads that afternoon as we took in what this would mean for us. But somehow, after years of waiting, we felt so torn.
First, let me take you back to the beginning and let’s rewind to five years ago. I was a junior in college at Penn State and Andrew was graduating in May. We were dating at the time and he had just recently visited Monterey to check out furthering his education. He was offered a position at the Naval Postgraduate School to work as a research and teacher’s assistant all while pursuing a master’s degree. The opportunity was just what he was looking for, in the field that he dreamed of…rocket science. We knew the distance would be hard but that this was an incredible opportunity for him and hey, it was only for 18-24 months.
Long distance was harder than we had imagined. But, in November of that year while visiting Andrew on Thanksgiving break we got engaged, perched on the rocks on the beach down on Cannery Row. Somehow, the distance seemed more tolerable after that, knowing we would be together soon. Seven months later we were married and I moved to California where we would start our journey as a married couple. At the time, the plan was for Andrew to finish up his Master’s within the next year and then move back to the east coast. It was hard to be away from family, but knowing that we’d be going back soon helped soothe the loneliness that we first felt…until we realized that moving back east was a little farther out than we had originally anticipated. For reasons outside of our control, graduation was delayed…by two years.
Not knowing when our time would be up in California was such a challenging experience for us. Speaking as someone who likes to plan, I wanted to have everything lined up for our future. I wanted to realistically think about kids and buying a house. Heck, I wanted to plan out vacations and yet that didn’t seem like it was happening anytime soon as all free time was spent visiting our families. This time seemed never ending and sometimes I went through the days hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel and clear vision on what our future would look like.
But you know what? During this period of waiting, God was doing something beautiful. He was bringing people into my life and our life that would walk with us through this journey. He was working on my heart and my need to control and bringing about His perfect will for us. I leaned into the Lord so hard these last few years and prayed daily for His provision. It was actually recently that the Lord began working on my heart to pray not to move to the east coast, but instead to move us to where He would have us. I prayed for His perfect plan to be worked out in our lives.
Andrew graduated last June but things at work were going super well and I had just received a promotion at work. We both were in agreement to stay another year to develop our careers and stay in Monterey a bit longer. We also had begun to travel more of California in early 2016 and were so eager to get in as many trips as we could and see more of this beautiful state.
Fast forward to a week and a half ago (whew, did you think we’d ever get there?), and here we were with the chance in our laps to move home. What we did not expect was how we felt. Both of us felt so torn. Extremely torn. This feeling shocked and surprised both of us and of course, made us doubt the reasons of wanting to move east. We began to imagine a life in California and what that would look like to raise a family and buy a home. We went back and forth for days, made pros and cons lists, talked to family and friends, and prayed like we’ve never prayed before. What scared us the most was starting all over again. Over the past 4-5 years we found an incredible church and made amazing friendships. We both have really good jobs in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It seemed silly to leave, absurd even. But what we couldn’t get past was that our family would still be 3,000 miles away.
Both of us thought long and hard and prayed for God to give us clarity on what He would have us do. We envisioned our future, and what was still clear was our desire to be close to family. After what seemed like an eternity we made the decision to accept the offer back east and move home. That’s right, WE’RE MOVING!! The position is in Andrew’s hometown of Buffalo, New York. Most of my family is a few hours away and it will be so nice to drive down for weekends and see them during the holidays. I can hardly believe it and it still feels a little unreal and slightly overwhelming. While we are a bit scared about starting over in a new community, we are trusting the Lord to provide in this way, just as He did for us here in California.
Now we’re gearing up for an incredibly busy next few months. We are winding down our time at our jobs and are getting ready to pack up our place and ship it off at the end of the month. We are finally going to visit Hawaii after dreaming up a trip there for years. And then we plan to make the trek across the country and visit some places along the way. It will be a crazy next few weeks before we officially make it to Buffalo. We are so excited about this new adventure and can’t wait for what the future holds!
-Keri and Andrew