Friday, April 22, 2011

Huge Life Changes

So, it's been quite a while. Life moves along at a rapid pace and then something happens and you are stopped dead in your tracks. I had something like that happen to me in December and it came to fruition today.

My dear friend, Christie and her husband, Jon, (who was also our pastor), went to dinner with us before Christmas to let us know that they were leaving the pastorate and moving to Christie's home town in Iowa. I was completely surprised by this news. Stunned to say the least. Christie and I have not only been close friends for over 20 years, but we have been the kind of friends who have done all of life together. We talk on the phone nearly every day and it was not unusual for us to talk several times a day. She was like the sister I never had. Our kids were also super close. She had two boys, one 18 months older than Davie, and one 18 months older than Ellie. We spent so much time together. Once I knew they were leaving it was tempting to pull away in order to somehow lesson the pain, but I promised Christie that I wouldn't and that I would spend as much time as ever with her until the day they left and today was that day. I am so so sad. It's not that I'm not excited for the adventure that is ahead of them. It's not that I don't trust that they are following God's will. I am just so sad because my life will be so empty without her here to share it. We have committed to staying in touch and sending lots of photos, but we both know that this move changes everything. I have tried to be brave and pretend that somehow they will be back, but today I realized that they really won't. Every year that we could we spent Easter together. We had our final Florida Easter together on the 10th of this month. We had a nice time that ended with some tears. These are photos from that day.

Last night we had our final Chickfila dinner with the kids. Poor little Davie cried all the way home. She dearly loves the Dunwells and listed all the things on the way home that she would miss about them. I didn't do that last night, but I will do it here.

My ode to the Dunwells and some of the things I will miss about them...
hanging out in their driveway while the kids play on all their fun toys
talking about nothing and everything
spending birthdays and lots of holidays together
their boys and how sweet they were to my girls
Christie's help with all my decorating projects
swimming together all summer
Addison's attempts at eavesdropping
Jon's joking with my girls
talking about adoption
beach days
her family's visits
Chickfila on a whim
Chipotle meals outside
talking on the phone on the way anywhere and everywhere
walking in our little Mayberry town
Christmas parades
4th of July
my Christmas lights by Christie

The list could go on and on. God promises to comfort those who mourn and I am counting on that. Grief is such a hard emotion to process. I want to move through it so quickly and as I do I find myself in a bad place...stressed to the max, eating too much...not healthy choices. Davie had the right idea...bawling your eyes out...pretty darn healthy, but not something I do very easily so I'm blogging instead :-) I have loved my time with Christie and have no delusions of replacing her, but I am trusting God to fill my heart with Himself and new friends to live life with.

Which brings me to the second huge life change for us. After much prayer and consideration David and I have decided together to leave our church and follow God into a new journey with Him. That decision also brings huge grief to my life. We know He is moving us and we trust Him to guide us, but it is a bit scary. The people of Westwood Church have loved us well. We have loved them and served with them for our entire married life. There isn't a single ministry there that we have not participated in at one time or another over the years. Leaving our "home" to strike out and find a new place to be able to minister and be ministered to is a daunting task...impossible...if He did not go before here's to the Lord God Almighty who goes before and behind's to celebrating Easter and our Risen Lord in a new place, with new faces and an anticipation of new things to come. I certainly pray that your Easter is spent with ones you love and that the reality of His resurrection is new for us all this year.
He is Risen!
With much love,


Lydia said...

Love and prayers from a fellow-transitioner! I have lived for four years away from one of my closest heart-friends now. I pray that all the times you are able to visit on the phone and the rare times you can travel to see each other are precious! May you feel at home with your new church family VERY soon!!!

Forever Fu Family,

Kelly said...

LOVE your new layout!! I know how you feel on the "leaving" grief! It was a hard process, but necessary for us! Dunwells will be missed!!! Here's to new journeys!!! :o)

Doreen said...

So sad, Jackie. But, God WILL see you through. I pray for strength and guidance as you break out and find a new church home. I firmly believe that God puts people in our lives for a reason or a season. Some seasons last longer than others. You were blessed with your lengthy season with your friend. But I think she was also there for a reason - so you could walk together in your journey with Christ. May God continue to bless you and your family... :)

Largaespada Family said...

Tears swelled in my eyes as I read this. So hard Jackie. I love you. Praying for you on the journey.

And those pics of you and Christie...BEAUTIFUL and Sweet :)

Excited to hear what our Wonderful Savior has in store for your family over the next year and years to come!


Dearest Jessica said...

Been there Jackie, I felt the same way when Brandi and Greg left. Life is still not the same.

Love your new blog.

Know you will be missed! Love you :)