Two & a half plus years ago, when I started my journey to the Pacific Northwest, I decided I needed to hone up on my Seattle culture. So naturally I turned to the wit & wisdom of television’s favorite psychologist – Dr. Frasier Crane.
He’d greet his listeners with: “Hello Seattle, I’m listening.”
That was my motto for the journey.
I’m listening. I’m open. I’m willing. I want to learn.
Now, transition beckons.
#pacificnorthwelch, it’s been real.
In July of 2016 I took a crazy, wild, unexpected, holy risk, accepted a job, & followed the Holy Spirt’s prompting to Seattle. Thus starting my #pacificnorthwelch journey. It began the season of life in the Pacific Northwest.
As this season comes to an end; as transition beckons once again; I find myself reflecting on the wild ride this one simple act of risk opened me up to. If I don’t say yes in July of 2016, I shudder to think about what my life would be like.
Where would I be? Who would I be? What would I have become?
I left home. I left sun, I left beaches – glorious beaches to go to the land of Twilight, the land where sun goes to disappear and take a vacation. I left So Cal when my NFC Champion LA Rams had just moved home & were utter garbage, to go to the land of the cult of Seahawk. The land where a certain pastor had left a bad taste in the water of Seattle’s church culture. I left the home of the mega church to go to a land where churches go to die. It was a risk, but it was a holy risk.
I knew I must go.
So, I went.
That first year in Seattle was truly the best year of my life. It’s the year that made me, me. I’ll always be grateful for everything I learned from Bethany Community Church & the wise men & women who serve God faithfully there. This season taught me to preach, taught me to pastor. It taught me the importance of community.
I met a man who would wind up in my wedding party. A man whose friendship & brotherhood has made me better. A man who I’d choose to have on my team – every day. If it wasn’t for him, I wonder how my #pacificnorthwelch story would have been written? Would I have not liked it? Would I have wanted to go back to So Cal?
We’ll never know…
Most importantly, if I don’t say yes to the Holy Spirit, I don’t wind up on a #pacificnorthwelch journey that turns into #pacificnorthwelches. If I don’t leap, I don’t meet my beautiful, smart, funny, sexy, wise, adventurous, jesus-loving, caring wife. I don’t meet my best friend.
I cannot imagine what life would be without her.
She makes me better. She makes me wiser. She makes me more loving. She makes me a better pastor. She teaches me how to love & care for people. She love me just as I am – even when my 8w7 can be a lot to love. She does.
Even if nothing else would have come of my risk – it was worth it because of Ellie. It was worthy because of Josh. It was good for what I learned. It was needed because of the college men I saw God move in.
Seattle was exactly what I needed.
I knew Seattle wasn’t forever. Just knew. But loved the PNW, & God called asking us to start over, in Central Washington, in Wenatchee.
It was a risk. A bigger risk than Seattle. But, we knew we had to say yes.
This season, was less than ideal.
But, it was worth it.
We met some incredible people; people who will forever be a part of our story, our life. People who have shown us incredible love & support these past several months. It’s led to me meeting another one of my best friends, who if we got married today – would find himself in my wedding party – my doppleganger.
We saw God move in leaders. We saw God move in students. We saw God move in us. We saw God teach us about trust in the midst of unknown.
We saw God teach us about trust, hope, & faith in the midst of the massive unknown.
We got married here. We had our first home here. We had fights here. We made up here. We cried. We laughed. We lived. We became a team here.
We became inseparable here.
Two were made one.
The fire refined us. The fire joined us together.
Now, as we reflect on the ending of a chapter – we can celebrate that we didn’t let the now define the next. Or, we didn’t let the then, beat the now.
#pacificnorthwelches is in it’s home stretch. Soon, we’ll be on an epic cross country road trip. Soon, we’ll wipe the dust off our feet. Soon, we’ll leave Wenatchee in our rear view windows. Soon, we’ll breathe deep & fully begin to let the Spirit do it’s healing work. Soon, we’ll be driving down the west coast – laughing like we’re in our honeymoon again.
We’ll miss the coffee. We’ll miss the people. I’ll miss rooting against Pete & the cult of Seahawk on their turf. We’ll miss the hikes & we’ll miss the camping (Ellie more so…). We’ll miss getting excited when the sun comes out. We’ll miss the glorious six weeks of summer. We’ll miss being in awe every single time it’s clear enough to say the mountain is out. We’ll miss the Oregon Coast, Canon Beach, and Blue Star Donuts. We’ll miss being so close to America’s hat – the land of mounties – Canada. We’ll miss our walks around Ballard. We’ll miss our Leavenworth days. We’ll miss our times of getting that chip sampler from South at Pybus. We’ll miss the pizza with bacon & apples – seriously. We’ll miss the drives of exploring the scenery of where God led us. We’ll miss our people, our friends.
For awhile we wondered if we’d be sad to leave. Thankfully, we are. We are sad to leave. We’re so excited to be going where God has called us, but in this season, as we transition, we feel the heaviness.
Who knows when we’ll be back?
Will it be with our kids so they can meet Aunt Karissa & Uncle Luke, my doppleganger, & see where their Mom & Dad had their first date, first kiss, got engaged, got married, & fell in love? Will it be on vacation? How much will things have changed before we get to enjoy an amazing Blue Star Donut again or take a sip of the most amazing coffee you could dream of?
#pacificnorthwelch, it’s been real, but it’s time to go.
It’s time to go.
To the Palmetto State. To South Carolina. To the South. To the Low Country. To Charleston. To Mount Pleasant. To the East Coast. To history. To beaches. Glorious beaches. To an Anglican church.
It’s time to take what we’ve learned on this #pacificnorthwelches journey & apply them to #inserthashtaghere. It’s time, to once again live into holy risk & see what Jesus does.
Saint Andrews & Mount Pleasant, I can’t wait to see you.
It’s only fitting, in this season, to end where it began – some time in Seattle & some time with the insightful, Dr. Frasier Crane: