Our Unbelievable Adventure

I’ve told our story about a dozen times or so over the past 3 years, and every time it’s just as marvelous, magical, and unbelievable as when it was all happening and unraveling before our eyes. When people ask WHY we moved from California to Ohio (which is the typical question everyone asks when they find out we moved to Northeast Ohio, from California), my husband usually jokes and says “we lost a bet”… but the real reason is that we were called. When I say “called” what does that literally mean? Well, it means a Specific. Word. From. God. Yep – it happened, and this is how our divine adventure began…

It was Friday, December 8th, 2017 – about 5:30pm, how do I remember that? Because it was that specific moment that our lives changed forever! It had been 3 days since I had returned from international mission work in the Philippines. 2 days after my son’s 10th birthday, and that evening, Dec. 8th, my husband came home and said, “Ok. We have to talk – something happened today. It wasn’t a thought. It was more than a feeling. God spoke to me, and we need to move to Ohio.”

OK. Stop. Pause… WHAT?! My first reaction was just that, in a selfish way… “WHAT?! God has never ‘spoken’ to me! I want Him to tell me something” (side note: since then, He surely has “spoken” to me, and let me tell you – it’s not always good. Last year He pierced my heart with convictions and illuminated difficult truths that needed to be brought to light, and it was the best thing that could have happened – but I digress…).

And so it was. I immediately jumped on Zillow looking at houses and was so excited about this new adventure, and the real estate in Ohio vs. California (I’m a hobby real state browser anyways). A little backstory: My husband has a very large family in Northeast Ohio, with a Grandmother, several Aunts and Uncles and hundreds of cousins. He spent his childhood visiting and spending summers in Ohio, and we had visited twice through the years as a family. So “Ohio” wasn’t a place out-of-the-blue for us. So Monday morning, JR called his manager asking if there were job openings in Ohio. And from that point… within 4 months, we had packed up our lives and were on the road, moving across the country. Here is how God visibly, unbelievably, undeniably worked this all out for us along the way. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:4-6

JR’S JOB

My husband had been working for an auto-part company for 19 years at the time. When he called his manager that Monday, the ball started rolling from there… he talked to the Ohio Regional Manager (RM) later that week and the RM said “we don’t have any positions open right now, but we’re always looking for good people so we’ll figure something out.” A bit ambiguous, but kind of promising, I suppose – but we trusted that it would work out… and it did. Within 2 months, they had completely REARRANGED territories, making a new territory for my husband, with a lateral transfer as a Territory Sales Manager, in the area we were planning to move so he would’t have to drive more than 20 minutes away from home… WHAT?! REALLY?! AND, the pay was very comparable. AND, to top it all off, just weeks before we were planning to move, his cousin here in Ohio called JR and asked him if he knew about the new Distribution Center they were building just 3 miles away. JR had no idea, he called the Ohio RM asking about it, and the RM jokingly replied “yeah, we’re building it just for you.” It took 2 years for them to build, it’s a 450,000+ sq ft. facility, 3 miles from our house, which JR is now the Territory Sales Manager for! Do you know what kind of an opportunity that is for JR and his career? Just WOW, God is so Good! {Can you believe that as “timing” would have it, after taking 45 days of vacation off for the move – he started working in Ohio, coincidently on his 20th ANNIVERSARY!}

THE CALIFORNIA HOUSE

So, in planning to move, we needed to sell. We promptly started planning the process; selling our “stuff”, researching ways to move our most treasured belongings 2378 miles away – reserved a 8x16ft Pod, and began the daunting task of packing up our lives for the great eastward migration. Let me tell you – THIS was one the hardest parts for me… to keep all the coffee mugs? keep every. card. given. to. me. for. the. past. 2 decades? or ship across the country? Pack every single piece of artwork my children have created? or “lessen the load” and pick which ones were “worthy” (I had to delegate this task to JR – I just couldn’t decide – which he threw 90% away). We had lived in our home for 8 years, so there was copious amounts of “stuff” to go through. LUCKILY, I had jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon years before, so I had been long into the process – nonetheless, there was still a houseful of “treasures” to go through to determine the level of “joy” I wanted to pay to have shipped across the country. We had several yard sales that made us lots of money, and I kept track of the Goodwill truckloads we donated… 18 Suburban loads full! We got the house ready to sell and it got 2 OFFERS OVER ASKING THE FIRST DAY IT WENT ON THE MARKET! Thank you God!

THE OHIO HOUSE

So, where were we moving when we got to Ohio? Well God had that all planned out for us too. JR’s Grandparents had built their home in 1970’s (with several of their kids also building homes, next door and all on the same street, whom most still live there), and JR’s Grandmother was unable to live in the home any longer. The house had been vacant for over a year – so JR talked to his Aunts and Uncles and arranged for us to move in there and rent for a few months while we got our bearings and figured out what we were going to do. We ended up loving the home, our familial neighbors and the area and (spoiler alert) ended up buying the home just 5 months after we got here. A beautiful blessing from God to be able to buy the home JR’s grandparents built, with so much family history, and we completely remodeled it to make it our own.

NEGOTIATIONS

To go back to the story of selling our CA home – there was an incredible experience JR & I had while we were in the process of selling. Although the initial offer went so quick and smooth – it got really bumpy and ugly real fast. Can you believe in the first round of negotiations, the buyers countered with wanting us to put on a NEW ROOF, worth $10,000?! Who does that?! We got bids for the roof repairs and it surely wasn’t a completely new one… it all went down hill from there. For WEEKS, we went back and forth… time was ticking, our Pod was packed, scheduled to be picked up soon. The buyers were completely unreasonable (they were moving from the Bay area, if that tells you anything). We went through rounds of the back and forth, trying to settle on a deal. For several days I woke up gut wretched, stomach in knots – not knowing what to do. JR and I tried to figure out every angle, trying to figure out what we should do. We were at a point where we were considering canceling the whole deal and putting it on the market again. Then one day, JR & I talked about it, and decided to give it to God. We prayed together right then, on the deck on a Spring morning – I vividly remember that moment, that prayer, that time that we truly let it go to Him. We consciously verbalized it, wholeheartedly decided it… put it in His hands and trusted Him with it all. Ok, get ready for this – not more than 2 HOURS LATER, our relator called us with a counter offer BETTER THAN WE WERE EVEN ASKING! It was truly unbelievable! I am still baffled about how that all happened. It is such a truly, powerful reminder about the importance of wholeheartedly trusting God and not trying to take control over the situation… “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

THE EASTWARD MIGRATION

We had planned to move on our family’s special little holiday “Love Day” on April 18th, but the prolonged negotiations put us back a week from moving. But get this… the route we were going to take through Yellowstone National Park was still closed on 4/18 due to the snow. The roads cleared and it opened just days before we got there. Seriously?! All in His timing! When things don’t go as WE planned… we need to trust in Him… “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. AND, bonus… that delay gave us extra time with our loved ones. He had a beautiful life in California, lots of wonderful friends, lots of great family. The hardest part of leaving CA was missing out on the day to day life of those we love. The last month in CA we spent with our loved ones; weekend at the cabin, packing parties, I took a quick trip to San Diego, we hosted our Love Day party, family trip to San Francisco, play dates at the park – it was a beautiful time with some of our favorite people:

On April 24th, we blew up the air mattress, had our suitcases packed and had our last slumber party in our beautiful, empty CA home together.

Early Wednesday morning, April 25, 2018 we piled into our super packed Suburban, towing a trailer with our most treasured possessions, and our 11 year old dog Chica, and started the 8 day adventure of our lives.

We enjoyed every second of it, had pool parties each night at every hotel (complete with poolside music, pizza and libations), we went through 11 states, visited Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer’s Last Stand, the Black Hills, pizza in Chicago, sunrises to sunsets, map navigating practice, sing alongs and naps (for me) all along the way. Not a hitch, not 1 flat tire, not 1 problem, not an arguement, not an accident… it was a glorious trip

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

THE ARRIVAL

And we got here. Ohio. From California. All in 4 months, from beginning to end. It didn’t feel impossible, or fast, or rushed while it was happening. Yes it was busy. Yes it was emotional. Yes it was difficult at times. But it all felt right. Looking back, I can’t believe God did all that so quickly! He carried us thorough and paved the way for us to Ohio. He called us, and absolutely lead us “…where God guides, he provides…” (Isaiah 58:11 paraphrase). It has been an incredible adventure so far. We love it here; we have grown beautiful relationships with family and new friends. We don’t know exactly why he brought us here – but I suppose that doesn’t matter, and we may never know. What we DO know is that God is so good. God’s timing is perfect. 1 month after we moved here I was asked to photograph a cousin’s wedding. Grandma Reville, 92 years old, the matriarch of the family, had failing health but was able to attend, little did we know it was going to be her last event. I had the privilege to capture some precious moments with Grandma and the family… this one was my favorite: the oldest and youngest of the beautiful Reville legacy.

2 months later she passed away. We were able to say goodbye, spend some time with her and share how grateful we were to be able to stay in her home. It was an incredible time with family those next few weeks. I had the honor of creating Grams Life Tribute video – the privilege of pouring over pictures of one’s life is something I cherish every time (I’ve done several over the years and each time is so beautifully special).

CONFIRMATION

Although JR, specifically, was called – he still was wanting confirmations. It’s not an easy task just to pick up and move a career, family and life across the country. I have the gift of faith, so for me it was easy to accept this and move forward – for JR, not so much. So he prayed for confirmations, and confirmations he got! There were several signs in the beginning, big subtle confirmations that were special and meaningful to JR & I. Here’s an incredible sign to share (among the dozens we received those first few months)… On Christmas, JR’s Dad and Stepmom came over for the holiday and JR told them about what happened and how we were considering the move (big convo there). His Stepmom had asked how far away it is, and I google mapped it… what happened was UNBELIEVABLE. I took a screen shot of this, because it didn’t seem possible…

This may not seem like a big deal – BUT, my favorite # is 23, and JR’s favorite # is 78. How can that be? Honestly, it seemed unbelievable. From our home in Orangevale CA, to Northfield, OH was 2378 miles?! Also, do you see anything else about the significance in this screenshot? 3? Does anyone know what the significance of 3? The Holy Trinity. The “all knowing Google” says this about the significance of 3 in the bible: “The number 3 biblically represents divine wholeness, completeness and perfection. If there ever was a desire to highlight an idea, thought, event or noteworthy figure in the Bible for their prominence, the number 3 was used to put a divine stamp of completion or fulfillment on the subject.”

As I write this blog post about how God has worked so incredibly, undeniably, unbelievable through our lives, and especially with this move, I am still blown away that 1) I live in a quaint ski-town in the midwest (never in my LIFE did I think I would ever say that -ha!). 2) God made this all happen, so quickly. 3) How good our life is here in Ohio – we are so incredible happy and truly enjoying this adventure. 4) We had the privilege to see God working so unbelievably mighty through this divine journey.

So as we wrap up such a profound year of this decade, or perhaps millennia… 2020, with all the twists and turns it’s had – I’m thinking about life adventures, and the adventures to come in this next decade. Has God ever “spoken” to you? (“Hearing” God I suppose is another topic for another day). I believe many hear from God and ignore it, or push it to the side, or doubt it because the ask may be stretching them, uncomfortable, seem impossible, or too difficult.

I pray that reading a glimpse into our Divine adventure; what God did with those 3 little words He impressed in JR’s soul, “move to Ohio”, and how He made that all happen so beautifully – will prompt you to listen more intently, trust wholeheartedly, and buckle up for the ride of our life because God has plans bigger for us that we can’t even imagine. All we have to do is ask, seek, knock… “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”(Matthew 7:8).

Thank you for taking the time to read this – it’s been on my heart to share and I hope in some way it has impacted you, your relationship with God and how he’s present in your life. It’s not always rainbows and blessings – but even through the though times, He can still be there for us, loving and guiding us along our way – if we accept His gift of grace and salvation.

Truly,

Deserea

One thought on “Our Unbelievable Adventure

  1. Our moves from California to Ohio and how they came about are so similar with God leading the way. It was so enjoyable to read and relate to your story!

    Like

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