And we love it. But most of y'all already know that, and since that is not the purpose of this post, I won't elaborate on that point at the moment.
What I really wanted to talk about here is the process and experience that led to our dramatic and significant life change. I've had several people ask me how it was that I was so sure this was the right thing to do. Certainly along the way there were challenges (and still are!) which might lead some to believe that God was throwing up roadblocks. I mean, we do still own our house in Nashville. . . (not-so-subtle hint to anyone who is interested in taking that bad boy off our hands in the near future :-D) BUT--to answer that question-- How did I know? WELL--I'm no theologian, nor am I any sort of teacher/leader/counselor who should be giving advice on how to hear and interpret the voice of God. But I can share my experience for those who are interested. And if it helps, then thank you Lord for using my experience in spite of my weakness to share it effectively. ;-)
This is what I remember-- Mass chaos. Ok, not really, but kinda sorta. It was a WHIRLWIND weekend to say the least. Packed with activity from the moment we landed until we were back on the plane headed for Nashville exhausted in our bodies but exhilarated in our spirits. We had meetings and activities scheduled throughout the weekend. Dinner with the pastor search committee and their families the first night, women's breakfast in one building and men's breakfast in another building the next morning followed by lunch with our hosts and a tour of the area (the closest city, the house that was being discussed as a rental possibility--which we now live in, etc.), church-wide game night that night, church the next morning (Jared speaking of course) followed by Q&A time then soup Sunday gathering then meeting with the deacons and then youth group meeting that night. Go go go go go!!! Of course we wanted to fit in as much as we could as quickly as we could so that we got a chance to meet as many people as possible and understand as much as we could about the church and the community. To say it was a busy time would be like saying chocolate is pretty good. !!!!!! So understated it's really not even true! Pretty good?!? Come on, people! Chocolate is MAGICAL!!! But I digress. . . .
Here is what else I remember-- Overwhelming peace. In the midst of what really did feel like a tornado of activity at times, (Jared and I still laugh about hardly remembering even talking to each other that weekend because we were so swept up in everything else that was going on), I experienced the greatest peace I can ever recall in my entire life. It was so real and so complete to me, it was almost tangible. I have never heard the voice of God audibly. I believe He does still speak to people in that way, but for whatever reason He has never chosen to do so with me. But He does speak to my heart in a way that I can't deny. And in that weekend, He did so in a way that I will never forget. Little whispers all throughout the weekend in the midst of all the activity and then warm, rich, full conversations in the rare moments of time alone. Again, nothing audible. Just thoughts and perspectives and realizations that I knew I could never have generated on my own. This is one of the ways I recognized God's voice in my heart. I knew that prior to this visit, there was no part of me that wanted to move to Vermont. (Sorry, VT friends--nothing personal. I just didn't want to take my family ANOTHER 20 hours away from all the people who loved them the most--we were already about 12 hours northeast.) I mean, obviously I was trying to be open-minded, or I wouldn't have agreed to make the trip in the first place. But these people had A LOT of convincing to do! :-D Little did I know, God had the intro and closing argument all tied up already--and all points in between. And he presented them to me so sweetly and gently throughout that weekend, I could hardly wait to start packing as soon as we got back to Nashville. And at this point, they hadn't even "officially" offered Jared the job yet! Didn't matter to me. I knew in my heart what God had told me, and I was ready!
I can't say this happens to me as often as I'd like. Many times, God's answers aren't nearly as clear to me. But OH when they are, what a beautiful blessing to let Him sweep me off my feet! How could I NOT love it here when I feel like I've been picked up and hand-delivered by God Himself? Awesome.