I Am Home

Sometimes I cannot believe I am back in Santa Rosa. Just can’t believe it. When I left in 2002, I didn’t know if I would ever come back. But I hoped. When I married Brandon, I pretty much gave up the idea. He was born and raised in Stockton, and furthermore we had chosen ministry as a career…we most likely could never afford to live in Sonoma County again as living in the San Francisco Bay area is expensive. VERY expensive.

Choosing Ministry as a career was not an easy option for me. I was raised with a lot. We always had more than enough. And here I was, entering a world I was unfamiliar with…it was scary, stressful and sometimes frustrating. But I had known since I was 12 years old that I would be a youth pastor’s wife. And I could not deny that doors were opening that could only be a God thing, so I walked through them. And I was blown away by what God did, just by my simple act of faith by stepping out.

When Brandon and I got engaged, we began looking for a home. We had some money set aside and wanted to invest it wisely. We started looking right at the very beginning of the San Joaquin housing market boom, so thankfully, prices of homes weren’t too high {although definitely higher than normal}. We wanted to purchase a charming little old bungalow downtown by the Universtity of the Pacific, but my dad {THANKS DAD} talked us out if. He explained that we would spend years on end and lots and lots of money fixing it up. He suggested one of the track homes being built on the North West side of town.

I cried. At the beginning of our dating period, I made Brandon promise me that we would NEVER, EVER live in a track home {they don’t have much of those in Santa Rosa and I thought they were so very ugly ha}. But I knew deep down my dad was right. We finally found a development that wasn’t too track home-y and went in with our preapproval letter from the bank, thinking we’d find a home pretty quickly. Ha. What a joke. There was a giant waiting list for homes. We were out of luck.

Brandon and I prayed. We told the Lord exactly which house we liked in the development we were looking at. Asked Him for a corner lot. Explained to Him the color choice we liked. We also told God that in the house plan we wanted…there was an option for a 4th bedroom in place of a 3rd garage. We wanted that too. We were specific. A couple weeks later, the realtor for the housing development called us. She had a house whose buyer feel through, would we like to come look at it? We drove over and looked at the paperwork she had for us.

It was the exact same house we prayed for. Exactly. 

Needless to say, we bought the home, moved in and lived seven wonderful years there. I love Stockton and always will. I consider it one of my home towns. I lived there for 9 years, and that does not include the 5 years there previously attending Bible School. Combining those years, I have lived in Stockton for almost as long as I have lived in Santa Rosa. It will always hold a special place in my heart. ALWAYS.

This morning I was reading about the exodus of the Israelites in the book of Exodus. I came across a verse I have never noticed before:

“So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing…..With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.” {verses 34 and 39, NIV}

Wow. They left with something, but not everything. They had part of the ingredients to feed themselves, but not all. They walked out on FAITH. I can’t be positive why these verses really hit me, but I think it’s because that is how I felt leaving Santa Rosa for Stockton…and then Stockton for Santa Rosa this time around. I felt scared, wondering..feeling like I had a little bit of the equation, but not all. It was new, unsure.

I had the dough, but didn’t know where the yeast would come from.

The cool thing about these verses is that they ate the bread without the yeast. And they still survived. In fact it became normal to them. And that was ok. I love that. That’s exactly how I felt when I moved to Stockton…it was strange. It was foreign {IT WAS HOT!! ha}. It wasn’t home. But it became normal for me. It became home. And I was ok with it. I embraced it, and I loved it. God provided. ALWAYS.

When it came time for our Stockton chapter to end, Santa Rosa seemed unattainable. Even when God did another miracle with our new home {you can read about that HERE}, I felt a little bit like those Israelites, walking away from their home with some ingredients missing. I had no idea how it would work out. I still don’t to be honest. We live by faith. ALWAYS.

But…even still, I am home. I am home! I am where I grew up and with my family. I am shocked and surprised. I never thought I would get here. That unleaved bread of Stockton became so normal for me. It became a place I loved. So much so that I didn’t know if I wanted to come back to Santa Rosa. But it was time. And God made the impossible, possible.

I guess I am writing this because I want to encourage someone who is feeling like they just ran out of their life with the dough only. Like the Israelites leaving the yeast behind, you feel like you have left all that was important to you and moved on. You may feel  {and SEE} God opening doors for you to do other things and step out of your comfort zone, but like I was, you are scared, maybe frustrated at times. Everything feels foreign. The unleavened bread that you are now eating tastes funny. It doesn’t seem right. But don’t give up!! I promise you, those 9 years I lived in Stockton, married my husband, stepped into full time ministry, began a family…they are some of the best years of my life. And I know that if God leads you, He will fulfill His promises. HE IS FAITHFUL.

And now I am home. And it starts all over again. I am learning to live here, just as I learned to live in Stockton. It is a new chapter. Life is full of them. But now, because I stepped out before, I’m not as afraid to step out again. I believe with all my heart that God will take care of us, that He will provide, that He will make my home REALLY home again. Because that’s what he does, He “…calls things that were not as though they were.”{Romans 4:17}

I love you dear friends. I pray for whoever is reading this who needs encouragement. You can make it. I believe that with all my heart. Follow what God has asked you to do. You will never regret it. NEVER.

Beautiful Sonoma County. I am home.

xoxo

8 thoughts on “I Am Home

  1. 1

    This is an amazing post. Last year, my husband had to make the hard decision to walk away from a very well paying job with partners who were not using money the way God intended. Those partners (fellow believers) threatened to ruin us. They tried very hard too. They valued their money more than their integrity. But God provided a job (except with a 75% paycut). Now we are at a moment where he sold our very expensive for our new budget home. We have no idea where we are going. What it will be. But we are trying to be faithful and follow him just as we did last summer. It is scary. I hope one day soon I can write a post just as this. I know I will, until then I wait and find encouragement from your words – thank you

  2. 2
    Ally says:

    Thank you! I can’t put in words how this touched me today. I’ve been struggling, frustrated that my family doesn’t understand choices I’ve made, may never considering we’ve been married for three years and still they judge. Like marrying a man called into the ministry regardless of finances. Learning how to trust God one step at a time for our future regardless of how things look. Thank you for writing even when you didn’t fully know why!

  3. 3
    Bethany Watkins says:

    Wow Amy! I absolutely love this post. Very inspiring. I am so happy you and Brandon are here!

  4. 4
    Rhonda Wasmundt says:

    Wow. This sounds like my life. I won’t go into any details but I want you to know that God used you today to speak to my heart. Thank you for being obedient. I am encouraged and God IS Faithful!

  5. 5
    Susan says:

    Amy,
    What an inspiring blog post! I am sharing it with my daughter. :) Hmmm….I think Brandon could turn this one into a sermon!

  6. 6
    Theresa says:

    This was for me. Every bit of it. The parallels to our life are incredible…thank you for sharing!

  7. 7
    Susan says:

    Amy – once again, thank you for being so transparent and sharing from your heart! Love you!

  8. 8
    Heather says:

    Again, wow! It’s like reading my own journal at times when I read your blog! My husband & I married in October 2002 & I moved from KY to TX – I was 860 miles away from my parents, 2 sisters & a district that I was VERY involved in. My Dad was full time pastor & I homeschooled so my life was constantly filled with church, conferences, camps, etc. When I married, I married a “normal” guy- lol. Who led a very normal life- work 5 days a week, 3 weeks of “pre-approved” vacation & a very tight budget! I went into major culture shock-but in the last 9.5 years I have learned that “yeast” isn’t everything & flatbread can be very tasty- lol. Then a year ago, my husband & I felt the “unsettled” feeling that comes with change. We sold our home & have, in the last month, moved from TX to PA and wow what a change! Once again, my bread & I have left the yeast behind! New state, new job, new school & the scariest part, new church! But we are walking in faith & watching Him unfold everything as we need it! It’s such a scary journey but so rewarding in the end!!!

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