It’s a rainy autumn afternoon in Buffalo. A second helping of coffee and donuts? I think yes. Our two oldest (known in our home as “the beasts”) run around with blankets tied like superhero capes, while our baby is preoccupied chewing on a toy dinosaur her brother left on the rug. It’s days like this that I slow down long enough to actually process our life. What are we doing here? Even after a year it stills feels strange to write our return address as Buffalo, NY.
Not long ago we were living comfortably on the plains of Kansas, in a beautiful new home, our third baby on the way. We had security. We had predictability. We had much of our earthly desires fulfilled. What were we still lacking that caused such discontentment? There was a void in our daily lives that we couldn’t ignore. What was our purpose? We were mostly living for ourselves, stuck in the rut of fleshly comfort and safety. God was stirring up a storm of unrest in our hearts. We knew we wanted to follow His calling on our lives even if that meant giving Him our security, our safety, our home.
I will always remember the day we packed up our belongings and drove out of Kansas. It felt a lot like I imagine putting on a blindfold and stepping off a cliff would feel like. Our first year in Buffalo felt like a free fall. The church position Darin had taken, which had spurred our move to New York, eventually dissolved and with our lease ending quickly, we weren’t sure if we could even stay in Buffalo. We were frustrated and uncertain what to do next. God continually reminded us, I’ve got this. Trust me. Don’t depend on your own understanding of things. But the bottom of our proverbial cliff was fast approaching, and I admit my confidence in God’s goodness and provision was wavering.
What happened next was simply God’s loving hand catching us at the bottom. Darin reached out to a good friend and mentor from Kansas (shout out to the Lawson family! We love you guys!) He helped us connect with a pastor friend he knew in Buffalo, Jeremy Hazelton. After Darin met up with Jeremy, we decided to check out his church. The community we found at Village Church was so loving and supportive. We met their worship leader, Steve Johnson, and his wife, Lindsey, who immediately started helping us find job opportunities and got us plugged in with their North Buffalo church plant, Anchor Church. Two days before we had to move out of our duplex in the suburbs, Darin found us a place in the city. Phew! So it was settled! We were staying in Buffalo!
The other day we took our kiddos to the park down the street. My oldest was trying to slide down the fire pole, but she was just too scared. Darin stood underneath her and was telling her not to worry. Even if she fell, he was there to catch her. But she was still struggling. “Okay, Rayleigh. We’re gonna do a practice fall. I want you to just jump off so you can see that I’ll catch you. Then you’ll know you can trust me.” Light bulbs went off in my head! Has this last year been a trust fall with God? Pretty much. And we learned we can trust this crazy Dad of ours. He is good. He calls us out of earthly comfort and safety, not to punish us, but to pull us into His movement so we will be able to reach a hurting world that desperately needs to know Him. How can we confidently introduce others to Him if we don’t fully trust Him ourselves? Following Jesus can feel reckless, but we would choose this audacious life over the alternative any day.
As I sit here listening to the rain, I’m filled with so much joy to be right where I am. God has good things for Buffalo, New York. I’m so grateful that He opened doors to allow us to be a part of His plans here. We are excited to continue meeting people and pour out the love that has been poured on us. We are eager to serve our neighbors, give to those who are in need, and be a light to our community.