I'm moving again. Back to Chicago. On September 1st.
I just finished reading my original "Change of Plans" post and saw that I wrote with the intention of only being back in Michigan until the Fall so I guess this really shouldn't come as a big surprise but it does feel dramatically different. I appreciate the support and prayer of those who have an interest in my and since people don't usually move to different states as often as I have done recently so I thought this post with help with any motion sickness incurred while trying to follow my journey in life.
So yes, I'll be back in Chicago but this time I'll be in the city. I really liked a lot of my experience last Fall living in the suburbs of Chicago but even then I found myself longing to be back in the city. I think it might have been that I was so close to the city but still not in it. It was strange because I didn't feel that same way necessarily while I've been living here in Michigan. Yes, it was really hard to leave people like Jon and Jill Huff, Emily Logan, Michael Jordan and Rahm Emanuel but I'm also really thankful for the past 8 months that I've been back home.
As for the specific place to leave, my good friends Jon and Jill have been tremendous in connecting me with someone from their church who was looking for a roommate. The apartment is almost fully furnished (only my bedroom is empty... and even a bed has been graciously provided) and it's in a nice neighborhood with families and most importantly, plenty of places to park. (I'm terrible at fitting my car into tight parallel parking spaces.) God has really worked it out in ways that I wouldn't have imagined.
Another sign of God's grace is that like He provided during my move to Michigan, I have a job to start as soon as I get there. It's (once again) at Panera Bread. ;) This position is for 25% more than I was making here in Michigan though so it should go a lot longer towards being able to pay my bills. Even if it might not be ideal, I don't mind working at Panera for awhile longer though because it's all part of the process of moving towards the bigger goal of finishing grad school and working in vocational ministry.
As for school, my plan is to head back to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (north of the city) in January. The place I'll be living is farther away from the school in actual distance but will be about the same time commitment because I'm right next to a major highway. It'll still be a stretch to pay for financially, even with the pay raise, but after looking at other options for grad school in the area I realized that I wasn't excited about any of the other programs that I was looking at. I could go to some other schools, good schools, and it'd be cheaper. I don't want to walk away when I'm finished with just a piece of paper though. I want to be able to look back and say that my time at school was as beneficial as possible to future time spend in vocational ministry.
God has been so gracious in providing somewhere to live, a job, friends nearby that I believe that He'll provide the ability to pay for this education as well.
In my blog post about moving back to Michigan I wrote that the top two motivators of moving me back home were money and church. I probably didn't save as well as I could have while I was home but I didn't go into debt and I learned the necessity of having (and keeping) a budget. As for my church, I believe that God had me home to physically be with my church during this time. Over the past few months I was able to see the fruit of all of the hard work of putting together our Saturday evening service. I was able to really connect and be mentored by church leadership. More than that, though, was seeing my church come together in difficulty. As painful as that difficulty has been, I've seen God's active hand in these people and in the ministry there. Even though I'll be another city, a part of my heart and my prayers will remain there with them.
Even in the area of finding a church, though, God has provided. The church that number those close to me call home is right down the road from where I'll be living. Mayfair Bible Church is a solid, small church that I believe will provide me with the opportunity to use my gifts and my calling for God's glory. I've visited there on numerous occasions in the past but I am excited at the prospect of planting myself there for this season of time. I may need to get involved with a parachurch organization as well in order to be able to use my gifts to minister to youth but this church has an incredible support system consisting of prayer and genuine relationships.
I'm not sure when "Change of Plans Part III" will come but I've seen God's evident hand in bringing these things together and I'm excited to see where He takes me on this stage of my journey.
"In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."- Proverbs 3:6