Our two-year stint in San Diego is coming to an abrupt halt at the end of this month. Two weeks ago today Luke accepted an offer to be the head men's soccer coach at Indiana Wesleyan University (side note: I find it funny that Luke went to a Wesleyan high school, Wesleyan college and now will find his first head coaching gig at a Wesleyan university...and we're not Wesleyan). We will be moving to Marion, Indiana--about an hour north of Indianapolis--in less than two weeks!
Luke has been applying for head coaching jobs since the fall season at Point Loma ended. A couple prospects seemed promising, and one in particular at Roberts Wesleyan didn't work out and left him pretty discouraged about the reality that he could secure a full time coaching job this year. We kept saying that even if nothing came to fruition, we would be able to make it work in our current scenario, even with a new baby. True, our apartment is teeny tiny. True, we don't make a whole lot of money. True, we don't get benefits. But we are confident in God's provision and he has never let us down.
After celebrating Christmas in Chicago with Luke's family, we planned to drive down to Charlotte to spend the last few days of vacation. Luke had already applied for the IWU job so we made a slight detour to see the campus. As we got closer to Marion I was reminded of my visit to Houghton College with my parents. It was SO desolate, even for a girl who grew up in rural Pennsylvania. My dad poked fun at me, offering to buy a purple school bus that was for sale on the side of the road leading up to the college. I was convinced I could never go to school there based on location alone. But there can be something inexplicably special about these places and the kind of community they foster, which is exactly what happened for me during college. Marion is in central Indiana, and all I remember are the corn fields and total flatness as we drove into town. My honest thoughts were probably along the lines of "Oh dear God where are we?" We drove onto campus, and thankfully things started to look up. It's a really impressive school on the edge of a not at all impressive town. The women's soccer coach, Tim, met us and was kind enough to tour us around and answer our questions. At the time, I really didn't realize how valuable this visit would be--I'll be honest, I was in a bit of a foul mood. I was cold, hungry and tired from our early wake up call. I couldn't imagine Luke and I leaving our lives in San Diego for this place. Luke and I both left the visit feeling somewhat "meh" about the whole situation.
However, in the weeks to come our tunes began to change. Deep down, I must have already known that this could be our future, because for a couple hours on the remainder of our long drive, I looked at local real estate on Zillow. (Another side note: shockingly real estate low costs. After living in New York and San Diego, there is no other word to describe it. Shocking.) We started to imagine what this opportunity would mean for Luke's career and our growing family. Luke secured a phone interview, and in the days following, we waited anxiously to hear if he would be invited onto campus for a full day interview. The morning he got an email saying he would be one of two final candidates to interview, I've never seen him so excited/proud/relieved. He prepared incessantly until the day he flew out for what was to be one of the busiest and most grueling days of his life: an hour of Q & A with the dean of the chapel about spiritual beliefs and theology, teaching a class, meetings with the hiring committee, HR and men's soccer team, lunch with the interim coach, and finally running the training session for the team that night.
When I talked to Luke that night, he was so happy with the way the day went. He told me that he knew these were good people and that IWU was a special place. He was impressed by the professionalism of the program and the way the school was run. He loved the team and the people he would be working with. At that point, on my end, I'd already picked out a home for sale near campus--you know, just in case. :) We waited a week for the phone call which finally came on Thursday, January 29th. It was the weirdest feeling when Luke's phone rang and he just looked at me, held up his phone and said "Margaret." I flopped onto the couch and listened to him in the other room, knowing right away he was being offered the job. My stomach was all in tangles. It sounds really dramatic...but I can't really articulate what this opportunity means for us and our growing family. I haven't even fully absorbed the extent of all this job provides for us. Answered prayers, goals achieved, and the joy of seeing the person I love most step into a role he has been preparing for for years...and a season of transition and unknown finally coming into focus.
Since that day, life has been a whirlwind. We are in the process of buying our first house, trying to fit as much time in with the people we love as possible, packing up our little apartment and mentally preparing for this new phase. It kinda feels like we're riding a crazy wave.
At the beginning of the year, a mantra came into my head, and it goes like this: "Be generous. Be grateful. Trust that the Lord will provide." In recent months, weeks and days we have experienced generosity in a huge way through the support of friends, family, and even strangers from our new community. The Lord has proven his faithfulness and provision in huge ways. And we are so, so grateful. So many people ask me how I feel about everything that's happening, and the first word that comes to my mind is "grateful." True, I'm also scared, nervous and aware of the great challenges that lie ahead...but gratefulness trumps all, because we are experiencing a truly sweet time in our lives right now. And life, with its constant ups and downs, is worth savoring in those moments when everything seems to fall into place.