The past year has been full of unexpected change. Last year at this time, I was making plans to turn my longtime passion for photography into a portrait business. It was something I’d contemplated for years, and the time finally felt right. I was excited! I love shooting portraits. The ability to capture a fleeting moment and preserve a memory of it forever feels like a wonderful gift. I was busy writing a business plan, figuring out which products I would offer my clients, ordering samples, and gathering the necessary paperwork to legally open my business in the state of Georgia. I was happy.
If you had told me then that in less than a year, I would both open and close the portrait business, I would turn down an exciting teaching opportunity, as well as other professional opportunities, we would sell the house we’d so lovingly renovated and decorated, and we’d move our family 350 miles, leaving behind family and friends, and forcing our children to switch schools (yet again), I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet that’s exactly what happened.
It hasn’t been an easy year. My faith has been greatly challenged. In late May, my husband’s employer broke the news that they were restructuring, and my husband’s position was being relocated. They couldn’t tell us for sure where they planned to send us. They simply gave us a list of potential cities and told us there would be more information to come. The catch was that we had to move in less than three months. We were in shock. We’d already made arrangements for school for the following year. I had portrait sessions scheduled. We had vacation plans. Making another long distance move hadn’t been a consideration. We immediately began to pray for God’s guidance. As the days went on, my husband started to feel unsure about whether his company’s plans were in our family’s best interest. So he started making calls and talking to recruiters, and I researched schools and real estate in a handful of cities while we continued to pray for God to show us His will.
Weeks passed. Friends continually asked me how we were going to move so quickly, when we didn’t yet know where we were going. My answer was always the same. “I don’t know. All I know is that we can’t make it happen in this time frame. Only God can. We’re trusting Him to make it all work.” I have enough life experience to know that God’s plans work in His time, not ours. Leaving Columbus, GA in 2016 may not have been in our plans, but it was in His plan for us.
Finally, at the end of July, the pieces began to fall into place. My husband got a great job offer in Charlotte, NC. Amazingly enough, we’d become good friends with a family who’d moved from Charlotte to Columbus two years before. We’d heard them rave about the beauty of the city. When they learned that we were moving to Charlotte, they quickly gave us hints about neighborhoods we should consider, as well as contact information for doctors, babysitters, and a fabulous piano teacher. Another Columbus friend connected us to a top-notch realtor who went above and beyond the call of duty to find us a house in record time. My sister-in-law put us in touch with a parent at the school our children would be attending. At every turn, doors were opening. We even booked a moving company during the busy season with only two weeks notice.
Through it all, we continued to put our trust in God. That doesn’t mean it was easy. Blind faith isn’t simple… at least not for me. On the morning that school started in Columbus, I sat in my closet sobbing. I was supposed to be packing. We had to be in Charlotte in six days so our boys could begin the year at their new school. But I’d taken a moment to hop on social media and wish all of our friends well on their first day. Seeing all of the sweet faces, full of hope and anticipation of a new year at a school we all loved dearly and knowing my boys weren’t among them broke my heart. Although I knew God had big plans for us in Charlotte, sadness and uncertainty gripped me in that moment.
Now, four and a half months later, I’m gaining equilibrium and peace. We’re slowly getting settled in our new house, painting rooms, hanging artwork, and making it feel like our home. Our boys love their new school and our new neighborhood more than I ever thought possible. And we’re finding unexpected blessings. Amazing people whom we didn’t know we needed have come into our lives. There have been moments when my husband and I have looked at each other and said, “Is this why we moved? Was this God’s purpose?” God weaves things together for us in ways that we never could have dreamed. We just have to wait patiently for all the glorious details of His story to unfold.
As for the future, I don’t know what lies ahead. A lot of my new friends have asked when I plan to start booking portrait sessions here in Charlotte. I don’t have an answer. Right now I’m taking life day by day, and doing my best to rejoice in my blessings along the way.