For the last few months Jason and I have been pondering, praying over and weighing some pretty big choices in front of us. I knew before I moved here that the Young Life ministry in Mansfield had proved to be more challenging than Jason originally thought it would be. Sure enough, it has been a particularly difficult season and we were faced with the realization a month ago that the area would not be able to sustain Jason's Area Director position for much longer. Mansfield is a "bedroom" community just outside the Metroplex (Dallas-Fort Worth) and has a pretty interesting personality. Folks are pretty much on the go all the time, pulled in various directions, and any sort of deep rooted community was very hard to find.
This was especially hard for me, moving from as much amazing community as I did. I've struggled and mourned the fact that we couldn't find folks to invest in us as a couple, me as a person, or Young Life. That's not to say that there haven't been some outstanding individuals and families here. The YL leadership team is awesome and there have been several key folks who have loved on us during our time in Mansfield. But it just wasn't what Jason and I have experienced in the past, love, and (deep down) know that our hearts and souls need to thrive. Bottom line: we knew we wanted and needed to leave Mansfield.
At the same time, neither one of us wanted Jason to leave YL staff. It's a calling for him and I have deep love of the ministry as well. But December is an awkward time for YL staff transitions and we were faced with the reality that Jason might have to step off staff for a time. We have spent countless hours praying over that. We both wrestled with the less than desirable reality of being poorer (is it possible?) than we are now and wondering just where we were going to live. The two options came down to Abilene and Lubbock. Both spots have Jason's family there and I loved the idea of being near some family again. Jason has lived in both places and so there is community already there that know him and love him. It wouldn't be my community just yet, but it would be a wonderful start.
Honestly, I felt a little ambiguous about the whole thing at times. I mean, I don't have a job that's keeping me anywhere at this point, no deep friendships or commitments outside of the pretty major one I made on August 5th. At the same time, I have been positively aching to be in a place where I knew I could put down roots and truly invest in folks and have them invest in me. The combination of those two states of mind have made me feel a bit adrift. Lost. Unanchored. Jason has been a saint, loving me in the midst of my confusion and longing. He wrestled with some stuff of his own, but that's his to blog about and not mine.
Long story short, the Area Director position in Abilene opened up and we were asked to interview for the job. Yes, I say "we" because as a Young Life staff spouse, I am in the trenches with Jason as he does this ministry. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Yesterday was an amazingly full day of meeting some awesome folks, interviewing, really good questions, some pretty impressive answers on our part (ha!), and a job offer at the end of it all. So, I'm still a Carolina Girl through and through, but now I'm an Abilenian as well. Who knew?