So last week was the last week Stephen and I could officially call Chicago "home", although I think a little piece of us will live there forever. It was where Stephen and I lived right after being married, figuring out the other person and what married life for us looked like. It is the home of our rock-solid church, The Moody Church, where on any given Sunday, you can walk into the breathtaking sanctuary and hear the truth of God being spoken. It's also the home of a lot of our friends, friends that I didn't necessarily have 2 years ago, but in a short time became dear family to me. I kicked and screamed (figuratively, not literally) when Stephen first told me that he didn't think Lexington was where we were supposed to live right after we were married. I wanted nothing to do with the conversation. Didn't he know how amazing Lexington was?!? Didn't he understand that God had blessed my life over and over again in Lexington and that we had such amazing friends in Lexington?!? Didn't he know that I was serving in a ministry I loved, had a job I loved and had zero complaints about my city?! The real question is, didn't I know that God had an amazing journey planned for me? Silly, Kari, always forgetting how big God is!
Now I'm going on and on and on and on and on about how much I love Chicago and how much I miss it, but don't get me wrong - while there are MANY things that I miss desperately about Chicago, there are just some things that I won't miss about that city. I will share my misses and my easily forgets list :) below:
Things that I will most definitely miss.....
My Small (or teeny) group
Sad doesn't even describe the way I felt when I moved away from all of my dear friends in Lexington in the fall of 2009. I had many teary moments following that move, some even happened a year to a year and a half later. I missed my friends, I wanted to be with my friends and I wanted to continue to serve in ministry with them. As soon as I was able to let go of my sadness of missing my friends, and understand that just because I lived in Chicago didn't mean that they were no longer my friends, something strange happened. I was able to finally see what God had been trying to show me since I moved to Chicago: I could make friends there (very elementary-ish revelation, but unfortunately, I still have them)! God blessed me with amazing Chicago friends that I hold very dear to my heart. These friends love the Lord with all their heart and I know my relationship with God is stronger because of them. I know that is why God blessed me with them! Stephen and I both loved to spend time in fellowship with our friends, our small groups and church family and we will most definitely miss that!
Our 1st Home
I absolutely loved almost everything about our apartment. It was a great first home for us to share, and it served a great purpose of hosting many-a fellowship gatherings, small groups, small group parties, sewing dates, intimate dinners, game nights, etc. with our friends. Stephen and I made memories in that apartment that we will never forget and those memories, and the people in them are memories that I thank our amazing Father for and will hold close to my heart forever.
Our Church home
stolen borrowed from Wickepedia)
From Sunday services, to our Covenant Sunday school class, to Christmas festivals and Fall festivals, to just about anything, Moody Church was definitely beginning to feel like home to me, and I know that it was home to Stephen. We will miss hearing Pastor Lutzer teaching on how to live a Biblical life from the pulpit every Sunday morning. We will miss going to our Covenant Sunday school class and sitting with friends and learning how to be more like Christ to our spouse and to others. We will miss everything about Moody church and look forward to visiting it soon!
While I won't miss my night grad-classes, I will definitely miss the great friends I made at UIC and all of our fun times together. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of these great friends, but I'm confident that we will keep in touch!
Now, onto a short list of the things I won't miss (no pictures for these, sorry):
-Traffic; it seriously takes a long time to get anywhere. period.
-Parking; I'm over driving around our apartment for 20-30 minutes looking for a spot because it's the wrong time of day. WA-HOO for driveways! Double WA-HOOS for garages!
-Honking; seriously people, chill out.
-A long winter; where I grew up winter was from late December to mid March...not in Chicago! Winter is from early November to late April. Ugh! But I will miss Chicago summers! (I got confused, this is the "not-missing" section, why am I talking about what I'll miss?!?)
-No laundry room; my parents water bill will most definitely lower now that we won't be bringing our laundry home from Chicago all the time!
-Free nights!; okay, so technically this wasn't Chicago's fault, but I was in grad-school 95% of the time we lived in Chicago and was taking night classes. Now that I have my nights back, I don't know what I'm going to do with myself!
When I first moved to Chicago and was so sad about not being in Lexington with all my sweet friends, my amazing Bible Study leader, Frankie said some hard truth to me. In her words exactly:
Kari, regardless of what happens or doesn't happen, is Jesus enough for you; if Chicago is to be your home for the rest of your earthly life, could you live with that, is Jesus enough for you?" Once we've settled on that issue what else do we need? What else could we possibly need?
Jesus was enough and IS enough. As soon as I got that through my thick skull, I was freed up to see the blessings that He had planned from the beginning. I learned a lot of lessons while living in Chicago, and I have stories upon stories where God's mighty hand prepared our ways and placed us where we were. Because of that I have a renewed since of hope, joy, faith and gratitude.
"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
When God calls your life to begin taking a different path, fight the urges to kick and scream. Cling to Him and trust that His blessings are abundant and that only He can give you life to the full. Even though Frankie doesn't live in Chicago, I'm so thankful for her in my life. Find someone who can love you enough to speak truth that you don't want to hear, but need to! They will definitely be part of God's blessing.
Whelp. This is a long post and I still have so much to say. What about the exciting news?! I'm going to be ANNOYING and hold off. I feel as though I've typed all I can for now. Don't get too annoyed with me that you don't come back! I want someone to share in the exciting (no, I'm not pregnant) news with!!!