I had this all written up two weeks ago to share with you, but computer issues prevented its publishing.
We arrived back in Brooklyn on July 15, 2015. This left us just two months as Brooklyn residents. Realizing this is definitely bittersweet for me.
Around Labor Day, and until September 15th, we will be moving into temporary missionary housing until our deputation phase is complete. This will allow us to save money on expensive NYC rent so that we can better prepare for moving to and settling into the Bronx next spring. We are making preparations to put all of our worldly goods into storage and then we will mostly be on the road until next March.
For my non-NYC friends, many times it is required to put three months rent down in order to secure an apartment. We are estimating that an apartment to fit our family of seven will likely cost $2000+ per month, so that is a sizeable “down payment” needed. Moving into temporary housing will also grant us greater flexibility, so that when we find that right apartment, we can jump on it and be ready to move in right away (or wait and fix it up a little) without inconveniencing our current landlord.
So…this decision is bittersweet for me. To be completely honest, I am not really excited about moving to Cornwall NY. It means packing everything for storage and not knowing exactly what to leave out for easy access. I have four (almost five) growing children whose needs change frequently. The house is outside of the city, so I feel a little like I am saying goodbye prematurely. Yet there are benefits – besides what has already been mentioned. The kids will love the outdoor playspace and nearby river. There is a washing machine, and even a dishwasher! I won’t really even be there very much the remainder of this year.
When we moved to NYC I guess I somehow made the assumption that our ministry would remain in Brooklyn, but probably be in a different neighborhood once Bethel Baptist sent us out to start a new church. I never imagined that God would take us to the Bronx. (I am excited about it now, and I know it’s His Will, but it doesn’t line up with my original expectations).
I think it goes without saying that we will miss the people most of all. My church family has been my real family these last five years, since none of our relatives live nearby. My children have been raised here thus far, and this is all they know. It is going to be difficult to know that we can’t just call a friend and meet for lunch at the park (without a two hour commute, that is!). But we are asking God to give us a family to work with us in the Bronx that might help to fill that gap.
Brooklyn is where I cut my teeth in regards to city life. It is the place I came to know and love New York City, and I will definitely miss it. I can’t really remember parallel parking before that day we pulled with the moving truck, and I somehow had to get the Camry over next to the curb. I never imagined parking in NYC with a 12 passenger van! Brooklyn taught me everything from living a pedestrian lifestyle, to embracing doing laundry at the laundry mat, to appreciating the many parks and playgrounds that dot our city. (Parks really are sanity savers, and for just a few minutes they can almost make you forget that you live in the inner city). I’ve learned to live in small spaces and to love all of that sauce on my Brooklyn pizza. (Okay…that last one didn’t take too much convincement to learn!).
But perhaps the greatest lessons I have learned through this grid of pressure and urban living is that God is more than enough. I have learned to depend on Him in ways I never imagined. I don’t have it perfected…there are many days I default to my own strength and fall flat on my face. But those times remind me that I am NOT enough. I can’t live here, and raise five children, and minister to other people, on my own. I have seen God provide for our family financially in miraculous ways. It is truly all of Him that we are still here.
And so it is bittersweet to be saying goodbye to Brooklyn. Sad, but exciting to step into the next phase of God’s plan for our family. This has been the goal in coming to NYC in the first place: to branch out into an untouched area of our city and start a new church work. Now it is finally close enough that I can taste it. And that is exciting (and scary!) too.
I will always be grateful for the wisdom of my husband in bringing me to NYC before we were ready to start the church. I can’t imagine learning all of these lessons and going through this adaptation at the same time as church-planting. That will be an intense phase of life all its own. But these last five years have allowed me to grow, to learn, to develop, and now to embrace city life and to know for a certainty that God has brought me here and that God wants me to live here. I was raised a suburban girl, but I feel like an urban mama now. There have been sacrifices and difficulties along the way. I wasn’t always glad to go through the difficult times or to experience the pressure that comes with this city life, but looking back I am glad for the experience and the things I have learned. I wasn’t always happy to make the sacrifices at the time, but I have learned how good they have been for me. And if my kids never have a backyard to play in, or a dishwasher in our home, or their own room (pretty sure that one’s not gonna happen!), they will have seen God do amazing things in and through and for our family as we live in New York City.
Bittersweet. I hate to go. But I’m excited to leave.
"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."
1 Thess. 5:24
1 Thess. 5:24