Letting my husband guide our family’s decision changed my life. Now, I don’t say this because he had some all-knowing magical power from God or even knew what was going to happen. BUT, God directed my husband in a way that was so off-course from our “plans,” and it ultimately brought me closer to Christ and changed my way of thinking forever. This blog post could be a book; therefore, I split it up into a 4-part series. I know, you are thrilled you have to come back every week to find out more – I know I am! 😊
So what was this “big” decision that changed my life?! It wasn’t just one decision, it was several decisions. Most of which I was completely against. They were decisions that ultimately moved us cross-country to Orlando, FL. Moving to Orlando changed my way of thinking about church and Christianity, community, and my relationship with Christ. (It also turned me into a Disney Fanatic! Stay tuned for my future Disney World posts…it’s going to be some good stuff😊).
Let’s start with some backstory. When we were first married, my husband toyed with the idea of going to medical school. At that time, we lived in my husband’s hometown. Things were already established for us. Church and friendships were basically already in place. There was no church “shopping” or awkward couple dates. It was all set thanks to my husband and his years spent there. Life was easy--no kids, no crazy financial burdens, sunny weather, etc. Then fast forward a couple years. We moved back near my family, where I grew up. This was pretty much the same setup--built in friendships and church. But now add in medical school applications and a baby on the way. Just a little bit more stress.
Now the first decision my husband made… applying to this medical school in Orlando, FL. Not happy about it at all! There were several different med schools we were already applying to in Florida, and since he was a Florida resident at that time, we knew the chances of him getting in to one in Florida were greater. One of his friends went on an interview to the school in Orlando. This friend raved about the school and how amazing it was. But not only did this guy love the school, but he also said several times how he could see my husband there. This friend kept telling him, “You have to just go there and see this place, it’s literally made for you!” My husband really respected this friend and began to consider applying to this school. You guessed it, he applied.
Decision #2. My husband was going to interview at the med school in Orlando. This was a later interview. He already had other great interviews, and one of his interviews was at the place where I WANTED us to go. The med school that I wanted him to go to was only 3 hours from our families in Florida, and he was already accepted there so it was a guaranteed option for us! Also, I did NOT want to go to Orlando. The two places in Florida I absolutely did not want to go were Miami and Orlando. In my mind, this next interview was a waste of time and money. Why spend the extra hundreds of dollars to travel and take off work to interview there? Well, I lost the argument (yes, I lose at arguments too) and guess who went on the interview…my husband.
My husband’s third decision, a HARD NO from me, was going to medical school in Orlando. I knew no one, knew nothing about the city, and on top of it all, we were going to have to move cross-country with a 3 month old baby. If I was a good wife, you would expect the song from Gilmore Girls to be playing in my head as I submissively obeyed: “Where you lead, I’ll follow, anywhere that you tell me to…”--but it wasn’t. It was more like “Don’t go breaking my heart…” playing over and over again in my head! Well, my husband could care less what song was playing in my head because he led us to Orlando. Off we went!
Here is where I am going to give you a quick synopsis of what happened in Orlando that “changed” my life.
To summarize, we had no connections to anything. No connections to church, no connections with people. We rented a house we never saw in a neighborhood that was totally foreign to us. And to top it all off, we (I mean me) were not getting much sleep since we were new parents and still had to unpack and settle in. Where’s the grocery store? How do I get around without paying $50 in tolls? Why is it so hot here and people don’t melt? Thankfully, our families both came and stayed for a bit to help with the initial move and that was great! But to be honest, when they left, it was hard.
The first several months in Orlando were some of the darkest times of my life. Isolation, new to motherhood, my husband’s demanding med school schedule, and financial issues all thrown at me at the same time. It was simply overwhelming. To me, everything was my husband’s fault because he decided we were moving there (which it wasn't). But I put on a strong face and thought “I can do this, and I can do this alone.” Boy, was I wrong. After the first several months, I was probably breaking down once a week (which I never do, tears don’t come out of these eyes, ever). That’s when I decided I cannot do this alone. Not having relationships with anyone face to face was killing me. So what did we do….we went all-in with “church shopping” and if there was a play date, guess who was going—me! And if a random lady at the grocery store mentioned getting together, guess who set up that play date? Any vague acquaintance asked me over for some coffee—you bet, I went!
Having to immerse myself into building relationships, going to random events, being the new family--these were all things we had to do that shaped me into the person I am today. These experiences in Orlando “changed” me, hopefully for the better. Will I change again? Who knows, maybe. But I can say my experience there SAVED me from a false ideology I was carrying with me. I was judgmental. I tended to look on the outward appearance and not on the heart of so many things. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” That’s me—He is talking about me! I literally have known this Bible verse by heart since as long as I can remember, and it never clicked until we moved there. The “Heart.” So simple but so hard to overcome.
In the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing my experiences of overcoming judgmental ideology, visiting churches as an outsider, needing community and friends, and shaping my new relationship with Christ. This series is in no way trying to tear down church groups or people. This is truly my view as someone who needed to find faith, friends, and Joy.
Next week, I will be sharing my experiences with “Church Shopping”. If you never had to do this, count yourself lucky. It is exhausting. But at the end of the day, a church is made by men. So NO, let me repeat, NO church is perfect. Anywho, after that I will be sharing my need for community and putting away pride. And lastly, changing my heart to draw me closer to Christ.