Short Story: Surprise! The Cisneros Family is moving. We are actually in possession of the keys to our new home as I type this and are in the process of transferring whatever possessions survived an epic purge from this house to our new home. Good times!
Long Story: Grab some popcorn and settle in friends. I have been trying to put into words how this move came about since we put in our application to move on June 5th but the story just keeps getting longer.
The fact of the matter is in retrospect I can clearly see God pruning my heart and preparing our family for this adventure. I became a Bible study teacher for the first time last August. I don’t believe it is a coincidence the studies I have taught thus far (Beth Moore: Children of the Day, Priscilla Shirer Jonah and Breathe) have required me to process the ideas of mobilized ministry, pursuing my personal Nineveh and adding the margin in our life necessary to not only observe a Sabbath but to head the call on our life.
In addition to the studies, I was chosen to be on the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s upcoming book For the Love being released on August 18th. I encourage you to pre-order it now. It is life changing, as you will soon see.
I have highlighted so much truth from this book but not one single statement sums up the stirring in my heart it caused. It was the collective message of grace, hope, love, standing firm, using our gifts, knowing truth, raising kids, being a neighbor and for the love, laughter. The stirring was accelerated by the private face book group consisting of the 500 members of the launch team.
This group lives out the message of For The Love on a daily basis. I have never been a part of an online community that is as authentic as this one but more importantly accepting through love. Opposing ideas and views have been shared and discussed in such a civilized way it makes my heart yearn for this kind of world. We may have all drank the Jen Hatmaker Kool-Aid but the flavors vary!
I then went out and bought Interrupted also by Jen Hatmaker. I was sitting in the softball stands as usual reading the book and watching my daughter play. It’s a gift only an experienced baseball mom could pull off!! Tears started to run down my face. Let me back up. I have a tendency to always cry. Sometimes I look at my kids and I just burst out into tears because they look older, showed character, smiled at me or just because.I’m an emotional wreck, whatever. It happens all the time so tears streaming my face in the stands is normal. What wasn’t normal was the words on the page and the scene playing out in front of me intersecting so perfectly the it was causing an uncontrollable tidal wave of tears and the convulsing of my body.
My daughter was playing in a less than affluent neighborhood. The team she was playing against had so much potential but it was clear this may be the first year they picked up a ball, whereas the girls on our team have been playing for eight years (since they were five). Why? Because the opportunity is available and the high cost is afforded in our neighborhood. That is not the case in the area she was playing in.
I remembered this feeling from when my daughter was playing Junior High ball against other areas of our city. It was the same thing. Our girls would dominate because it was clear the opposing team may have just recently started playing and they were using school issued gear. It is a contrast to the tee ball kids showing up with hundreds of dollars worth of gear they will out grow in less than a year in our league. No joke!
I went home that night and prayed through tears. I didn’t even know what I was praying about but I knew I was being convicted about something. I clearly heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Stay unsettled, keep your eyes open and wait.”
I continued to pray for clearer answers because at this point I was just so confused. I wanted to serve, be a neighbor, be a better steward of not just our money but our gifts and talents. I wanted to stop blessing the blessed! At the same time I knew that the Holy Spirit would never contradict the Word of God. Never. So I prayed that whatever was happening would be made clear by Mr. C and I being on the same page. I couldn’t go and do this calling without Mr. C.
I shared my feelings with Mr. C and we started to have some great conversations. We were not always in agreement but we talked in great depth while sharing each others perspective. I still didn’t have any idea what was going on inside me.
Waiting is not exactly one of my qualities. I started to look at houses in the area I shed my tears and sent them to Mr. C. He started to drive me to look at said houses and the blithe of the neighborhood with a firm, “No.” Then right before we left on a five-day camping trip he sent me the picture of a house in the downtown area that neighbors my target area. As in we would share schools but be adjacent to the historic area and within walking distance to Main St. and the future light rail. However it was hundreds of dollars outside of our price range. A no-go even in our imaginary world.
We left on our camping trip and unplugged from the world. I spent my time praying and reading God’s word and begging for Him to lead us. All the while twice I told Mr. C I couldn’t get the house he sent me out of my head. I couldn’t. We just laughed. It’s a new build with modern upgrades and sure to go quick.
We bailed on our camping trip a day early. It wasn’t even planned. Mr. C came back from fishing with the kids and asked how I felt about packing up and leaving. I responded by packing everything up. On our way home, Mr. C looked up the house on his phone. It was still available and they dropped the price to within our price range. We went to straight from camping to go look at it. We all fell in love. Our family joined hands and prayed at the house for doors to be flung open or slammed shut because we are prone to impulses.
That night Mr. C had a heart to heart talk with the kids. He discussed what moving means including moving schools and sports. Our kids have built their own community here and have been steeply opposed to moving out of our boundaries in the past. All three of them were adamant about wanting to move and acknowledged the changes to come. Mr. C was beside himself.
He is a practical man and doesn’t make decisions lightly. He is a man of facts and reasons. A move didn’t make sense. We were comfortable living under the idea that we are supposed to give our kids a better life than we had. Our kids were in an excellent school district, with phenomenal sports programs in our area and in a safe neighborhood. We agreed to sleep on it.
The next day we went to visit the property again. We walked around the neighborhood and ate lunch at a local establishment. As it turns out Mr. C knew the family who owned the restaurant. We had a great conversation about the area and we felt like we were already home. We went back to the house and Mr. C wandered around alone and then we prayed, again. We went home and submitted our application.
On June 8th our application was accepted and we made a good faith payment. Since then we have been on a whirlwind adventure of purging (the new house is significantly smaller), packing, giving our 30 day notice and freaking out.
We have told very few people about our move but we have been bombarded with more questions than support. The biggest concern has been about our kids. Why?
Their Current School:
8 out of 10 Rating, an A+ school.
61% White Vs. State Average of 42%
22% Hispanic Vs. State Average of 43%
01% Black Vs. State Average of 5%
38% Participating in Free/Reduce School Lunch Vs. State Average of 47%
1 out of 10 Rating
03% White Vs. State Average of 42%
92% Hispanic Vs. State Average of 43%
02% Black Vs. State Average of 5%
97% Participating in Free/Reduce School Lunch Vs. State Average of 47%
I get it. Why would we give up the comfort of what the world is striving for? The only thing that comes to mind is Mark 8:36. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
In full disclosure I have freaked out more times than I can count. I’m talking about grasping for a paper bag because I am either going to hyperventilate or puke type freak outs. I woke up one day crying because I was so scared and questioning my sanity. At one point I was completely okay with the idea of losing our $700 non-refundable good faith deposit because we could use the rest of the deposit money we had in savings for a fun Summer vacation. The struggle and Satan is real, YO!
Then I cried more because we have the privilege of walking away from $700 without it interfering with our lifestyle. The majority of the people in the community we are moving to do not have that choice. Most live where they live out of necessity. There is not an option to send their kids to fancy schools (we live in an open enrollment area so technically they could enroll them in another school but transportation would make it impossible for many reason) and the equivalent of a rent payment for competitive sports.
In the midst of my break down I read Wrecked by Jeff Goins and I thanked God for the extra support and validation this book gave me in this journey. It is a phenomenal, transforming book.
Please hear this. This move is not some sort of pat on the back type of sacrifice our family is making for the greater good. I mean if anything we are gaining so many more perks than we have here. We are moving into a newer house in a sought after area. I will be within walking distance to three, THREE coffee shops and less than a mile away from great friends who we consider family. AND we are only moving 8 miles south of our house now, For.The.Love!
There are still so many unknowns. I still don’t know how/what/where serving will actually look like. All I know is we are moving and will have the benefit of becoming neighbors to a community in need.
I believe without a doubt this a God ordained journey led by the Holy Spirit. I mean so many unlikely little and big details had to fall exactly into place for this move to happen and they did in less than month!
I am filled with excitement and Holy fear as we start and share this new journey with you.