Josh and I moved to Clarion County in July 2007. We had not been married even a year yet. We rented a tiny house on Barber Street and without even knowing it began growing our family. We had no indication when we came that we would spend as many years here as we have. I think likewise we didn't realize the blessings God would have for us here, and probably haven't even recognized them all except maybe from a hindsight perspective. Like looking in a rear view mirror you can see them passing quickly behind you. Jobs, homes, babies, relationships, etc.
As of last week, we have officially sold our home and will be moving on to Pittsburgh. I have many mixed emotions about this, but if there is one thing I can say about our time here, it is that I think we have lived life to its fullest, truly experiencing the best of Clarion County. We have been surrounded, supported and loved by the best people I have ever met. We learned from our church what it means to truly live in community and be family. Cook Forest was like a second home, the ALF 5k was a regular part of our fall activities, Saturday mornings in the summer required a stop at the farmer's market, and a drive to Walmart provided a view of some of the prettiest landscape I have ever seen. I hope I always remember those drives.
We don't know where we are going. It is no small thing to find a rental big enough for a family of 6 and a dog...unless you don't mind paying a fortune or are willing to give up eating or something like that. It is no small thing to find somewhere that has a yard or sidewalks or enough space between homes that you can't reach out your window to touch your neighbor's house. I'm no city girl. I covet those drives with rolling farmland, flocks of sheep, and that cow that always seems to have a bird sitting on its head. Thinking about a 10 minute drive taking 25 minutes because of traffic makes me want to cry a little. And if you turn me around twice I'm likely to get lost, so city driving and me are not really friends. Add to this that we are walking away from a home we love. It is big and beautiful, full of character, and has a pool that is an endless source of summer fun. Owning a home was not in the stars for Josh and me. We know that God provided this place for us and we have appreciated every bit of it. We would often look around and say, "How the heck did we get this place?!" And now...it is time to say goodbye.
Although I don't know where we are going to live, and despite my aversion to city living, I am not discouraged. Not even close. In fact, I'm excited. I once heard, and truly believe, that the will of God is our home. I know that God is calling us to move on. It has been a long time coming. And it has been painful, like slowly ripping off a band aid. I know that taking a step in obedience will open doors for the Spirit to move in our lives. And I know that we could stay here forever, clinging on to all the comfort and sentimentality in the world, and miss what God has in store for us and what He has called us to. I want the adventure. I want to make my home in the will of God. I'm looking forward, expecting God's faithfulness ahead, and praising Him for all those blessings I see in the rear view mirror. Clarion County...thanks for loving us. I am grateful for you and will always hold you dear in my heart. Let the adventure begin!