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Uprooted – Kate Dommel

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Tell us a little bit about your family.

Jon and I got married when we were 20. We ran off to Vegas… not typically the type of marriage that sticks. We’ve been married 10 years now, though! We have two kids, ages 3 and 4.

What do you and your hubby do for work?

Jon is a youth pastor that isn’t working right now due to health issues. He is also a hobby film photographer. I’m a reluctant worship pastor (kind of a story there) and graphic designer and sometimes photographer.

Where did you call home before being uprooted?
Omaha, Nebraska

When did the possibility of relocating first come up and why?

 

October 2012. God really uprooted us before that, but it was a small move, from Lincoln to Omaha. We were in a place where it was hard to hear from Him, but we were so broken. That was in July. By October, we had found a new church, and we were so open to the Holy Spirit to move in us, I think God just grew us and stretched us beyond what we normally experience. When I came across a youth pastor listing online, I started saying, “oh crap, oh crap.” I just knew. I knew. I showed it to Jon, and his eyes got wide. Because we didn’t want to find a job that didn’t pay. Yes, the coast is gorgeous, but it’s also extremely isolated. It was a listing that was well over a year old, that was supposed to have expired, that was not within my search parameters. So we contacted them.

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Were you the instigator of the idea or the follower?

 I supposed I was the instigator. I usually am.;)

If you were the instigator, what brought you to bring it up? How did you know it was right? What obstacles did you face from your spouse?

I just knew. Jon and I had come to the realization before this that he needed to step back into his calling as a youth pastor. That’s something he went to school for, but stepped away from for many reasons, but they weren’t because God told him to. So we had been casually searching the country for youth pastor jobs that would fit.

Describe a little bit about the atmosphere of your home during the deciding process.  What did that unknown feel like?  How did it affect your marriage?  Your children?  The environment of the home?

My parents were not supportive at all. Our kids were very excited, but they didn’t really get it. Once we started to make preparations, it got really surreal. When we left, it still didn’t feel real. But it did feel adventurous.

What about your former city made you feel like it wasn’t the place for you?

It wasn’t that Omaha didn’t feel like it wasn’t the place for us, we just felt like God was calling us elsewhere. Our feelings about Omaha didn’t really change, but we had never felt like it was home. I had grown up in Nebraska, all of my family is here, so leaving the state was difficult, but I didn’t feel homesick once.

What made you consider the next city as a better fit? Did those expectations of the new city come true?

We didn’t evaluate it like that. We focused more on the job stuff, and what God was doing, and knew that He would take care of our needs. We didn’t move to a city though, there wasn’t much information about the town because the whole area is pretty low in population.

How did you decipher between feelings of,”I need to be more content” versus “God is leading us somewhere else no matter how content or discontent we are?”

We really searched for confirmation from multiple sources. We were taught that God confirms through people we respect and that are mature in their faith, through circumstances, through the movement of the Holy Spirit, through the word…so we just impatiently tried to be patient. I think God was really teaching us about how to hear Him, how to know when He is speaking. A lot of it has to do with how clearly you hear Him all the time anyway. We got a lot of confirmation through our church, through the word, and through the pastors who wanted us to come, besides the things that God was doing externally to make it happen. We just took small steps of action, and God cleared the next part of the path. I wouldn’t say it was an open door until we started walking through it.

Did you have work lined up in the new city before you moved? If not, how did you survive when you got there? If so, what did you have set up?

We really started to feel called to the Oregon Coast in October of 2012. We decided to step out in faith in December, feeling very sure of our decision in January 2013. Jon was to be employed as a youth pastor, but missionally. Full-time work, no pay. When we decided that we would follow God’s call there, Jon found a tech job at the nearby hospital. A hospital with 1 tech position…the kind of job that rarely opens up. When he applied, they called to ask if he was serious, since we were in Omaha. When he said yes, they set up an interview, and he had the job within a week. It was all very obvious that God was moving and setting things up for us.

We had enough support from people who had felt God moving them to give to us before leaving (which we did not ask for, so it was surprising but also wonderful to see God working) that we survived for a few months and had a deposit for a rental that we got into within a couple of months of being there. That gave us a little time for Jon to start working and saving up for the months ahead. We literally only brought what we could fit in our car. With our two kids and their carseats, and our dog.

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What were some of the hardest parts about relocation?

Just finding a place, understanding the laws and the things that are different. It’s also hard to settle in a new culture. It’s hard to get to know people. I got involved with a softball league, and that really helped me because I was working from home and with the kids all day and I needed an outlet. It’s important to get involved in the community, be Christ to them, and see your new surroundings as your mission field. To not compare. To explore.

What were some of the best parts about your relocation?

Stepping out in faith is never a bad thing. God really rewards you. It’s like the act of doing something radical for Him really opens you up, and He just pours into you. As much as Jon and I grew before we left, we matured years in our 10 months in Oregon. It was so good for us in so many ways. We learned to rely only on ourselves for everything out of necessity. We learned that it’s okay to ask for help, too, especially when you have kids. Seeing God move in the lives of our little congregation was amazing. And exploring a new place was probably my favorite thing about it all.

What were some of the unexpected, tough things that you’ve experienced that you didn’t take into account when you were deciding [to move]?

We were so much more isolated than we had any idea that we would be. We were three hours and a terrifying mountain pass road from a Target! (I kid, but seriously.)

The culture was so different. There were hitchhikers and backpackers everywhere. There were beggars and people searching. There were so many homeless. And in such a small community. The country was wild and unforgiving. And so beautiful.

What were some of the unexpected blessings you experienced that you didn’t expect?
I feel like I got to experience thin places… where the spiritual and the physical worlds almost collide. It was scary, but it was also pretty awesome. We developed relationships with the most unlikely people, and we made lifelong friends. We did better financially with less than we ever had before. We were living life so on the edge, that we had to cling to God the whole time. There was no other option for us. It made us feel very alive and very aware of Him.

Did you regret your decision to take this leap?

You know, if you knew the whole story, you might think I do. Because about 7-8 months in, our pastor really lost sight of the vision he had for the church. He was so burned out. 9 months in, they left. We knew a little of the circumstances and where things might be going with them, but one Sunday they told us they would probably be moving on Tuesday, and even though they tried to continue with the church, from 3 1/2 hours away it’s pretty difficult. Especially when there’s a mountain range between you and winter well on the way. Jon had been getting random symptoms for his undiagnosed autoimmune disease (that we had naively thought he had recovered from the year before) and with the stress of taking of many pastor duties, running the youth group, and working a full-time job in another town, his health deteriorated fast.

So things collapsed, kind of. Only they didn’t. We clung to God through it. What else could we do? We traveled to Portland for health care. We packed up our belongings and said goodbye to our friends and the people that had become like family to us in a place where our closest family was 2000 miles away. God just showed up. He showed us the way back home, He provided in astounding ways. Jon couldn’t drive because of seizures, and three guys from our old church decided to meet us in Idaho and drive us the rest of the way home. God did things like this the whole way, took care of us.He does that.

He spoke to me. He said, “it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you are seeking Me wholeheartedly.” It’s so true. All that matters is Him, that you are passionately in love with Him, and that you are seeking him with every fiber of your heart and soul, strength and mind.

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Was there a point in this process where you and your husband were not in unity?

Kate: I felt sure while Jon wasn’t sure yet, but it didn’t affect us in a bad way. It brought us together because we knew one of us was right and the other was possibly not so we needed to pray and seek together.

Jon: I was cautious. It was a major, major decision. Moving my family across the country wasn’t something to take lightly. I think I resisted a little at first. By now, I’ve learned that my wife’s intuition seems to be a Godly gift, but then I didn’t know what to think. She was pretty sure, but then she was scared because of it. It took me a few months to really get ahold of what God was doing and begin to step out in faith. Even then, I wasn’t totally sure, but God kept confirming it, and I chose to believe that’s what He was doing. He gives us just enough faith to step out, and then when we do, He rewards us with more.

Tell us about that moment you decided to stop talking about it and make it happen?  What did that process look like? 

I can’t remember the exact moment, except I remember that we did. And it was like we decided with our hearts, not our minds. So when we did that, our hearts just started moving. We started looking for houses and jobs and researching. And I think that is when God really started moving around us as well. 

What were some of the practical steps you made to make the move happen?

Finding work, lining up housing, packing and getting a storage unit for our things at home. Deciding not to take everything – something my mother-in-law told us God told her, which none of us were expecting – and that God would provide for us (which He did!).

What was the scariest thing for you and your spouse about the thought of moving? Looking back, do you feel like these fears were warranted?

Kate: Firstly, being far from the known and from my family, and secondly, not having our stuff…sadly. But it was also invigorating and exciting.

Jon: Taking the kids somewhere that we might fail, and what would we do if we did?

Kate: No, I wouldn’t [say they were warranted], because the growing process was so important and I wouldn’t be where I am without all the tough stuff.

 

What would you tell people just starting this type of journey?

Well, one thing that helped me a lot was realizing that in 50 years, this one thing will just be a small thing. We might look back and say, remember that one time we lived in Oregon? Haha! We thought that was such a big deal.

But also, just press in to God. Do more, pray more. Fast and pray about it. Worship and pray about it. Keep your thoughts centered on Him and knowing Him more and explore what it means to really seek Him with your whole heart. He will lead you, and He won’t be vague about it. He gives us what we need to follow Him. It’s not a test, it’s an adventure. And God is always with you!

Did you experience a feeling of peace and “settled” in your new location [Oregon Coast]? What did it feel like?
Peace that passes understanding! [It feels] like joy, like safety, like I’m in His hands, no matter how much everything around me feels unsafe or dark or unsettled.

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Do you feel that when you’re where you’re supposed to be that there is a peace and a rest that comes with that? Or do you think we as humans will always feel unsettled this side of heaven?
Absolutely yes. I think there is a certain unsettlement this side of heaven, but I think that we are here for a reason and there’s a certain contentment that goes with fulfilling it.

Have you ever considered moving back [to Omaha]?

Well….I did. And I’d go back to Oregon in a heartbeat. So I guess it was a good experience! Actually, I know it was. I would go back to Oregon, I would go to Djibouti. I would go anywhere. I feel like the experiences I had with my faith in both moves really gave me the faith to go anywhere and do anything now.

What would you say people considering this should have in place before they make the move?

Well, the only thing I’d say that is important is to know what you’ll need financially for the first 6 months at least and have that saved before you go. Other circumstances can vary so much, and that isn’t a requirement, but it would help a lot. Lining up some sort of position is also good. And don’t take everything. We have too much stuff, and there’s always more stuff, so just let go of your stuff.

Who are some women/families that were an inspiration or pillar for you during this time?

Elizabeth Eliott

Were there any specific verses you clung to during this time?

Psalm 121:1-8, 1 Corinthians 9:23-25, Luke 2:19, James 1:2-8

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You can find Kate on the web at Homespun Branding. Read more of her story of moving and serving at Farrago Grey. Instagram: @homespunkate 

Do you have your own Uprooted story to share? I would love to hear from you! Click here to share your story and you may be featured in the Uprooted series!

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Uprooted – Jenny Rydstedt

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Tell us a little about your family.

My husband Stephen and I have been married for 5 1/2 years and were high school sweethearts. In fact, we just celebrated 10 years together on March 5th of this year! We have a 18 month old son, Connor, who is nothing short of incredible! He is a true blessing in every way.

What do you and your hubby do for work?

My husband is a carpenter and I nanny two boys (and I can bring my son with me which is AMAZING!) and I also am a photographer part time.

Where did you call home before you were uprooted?

Eugene, Oregon. We were both born and raised there and had never moved out of the city before coming to Boston!

When did the possibility of relocating first come up and why?

Every summer the church I’m a part of has a huge conference in LA where all of our affiliated churches (that we have all over the world) come together to worship God, hear incredible lessons, and get tons of sweet fellowship. At every conference, we send out mission teams to different parts of the world. At this specific conference in the summer of 2011, the desire was on mine and my husband’s heart to someday go on one of these mission teams and it had always been a dream of ours. We knew our good friends, Coltin & Mandee were slated to plant a church in Boston in the summer of 2012, so we had a brief conversation with them, explaining that we might want to go but that we were going to pray about it. In the second week of January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant and was due September 15th of 2012, and about a week later we were officially asked to move to Boston.

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Were you the instigator of the idea or the follower?

Neither one, really. I would say it was equally on both my husband and I’s heart at the same time. Although, after I found out I was pregnant, I quickly became the follower, as I was TERRIFIED to move that close to having a baby. My husband was amazing though, and helped me understand the bigger purpose in our move. He always encouraged me to pray when I felt anxious about the move which helped tremendously.

If you were the instigator, what brought you to bring it up? How did you know it was right? What obstacles did you face from your spouse?

We were both kind of for it. We just had an overwhelming desire to make a difference in people’s lives. Not that we couldn’t do that in Eugene, but we just felt it was the perfect opportunity to truly do something solely for the Lord. In that moment nothing else mattered.

Describe a little bit about the atmosphere of your home during the deciding process.  What did that unknown feel like?  How did it affect your marriage?  Your children?  The environment of the home?

I was definitely an emotional roller coaster. One minute I would be totally gung-ho and the next I would be [literally] bawling and wouldn’t want to go. The unknown was what totally killed me. We were so comfortable in Eugene, and the fact that we were moving and I had almost no control of what was to come really freaked me out. It caused me to lean on God SO much more because I really had nothing else. I had to trust Him.

What about your former city made you feel like it wasn’t the place for you?

I love Eugene, and I love Oregon, but we just got to a place where we felt like we needed to get out of our comfort zone. We had everything in Oregon, including all of our immediate family and our closest friends. We were ready to go on an adventure and really focus on our relationship God.

What about the city you moved to were you drawn to? What things about it led you there out of all the cities you could’ve moved to? What made you consider the next city as a better fit? Did those expectations of the new city come true?

Boston reminded me somewhat of Portland (Oregon) which was encouraging, and I knew that it was a beautiful place, full of history which was cool. But honestly, it really had nothing to do with the city and everything to do with living out my purpose as a Christian.

It was completely and totally free from distraction, and completely and totally full of new beginnings, which was so exciting. Not only have we really been able to grow tremendously as Christians here, but Boston has been an amazing place for me to grow in my photography business, and for my husband in his field of work. There is so much opportunity here!

How did you decipher between feelings of, “I need to be more content” versus “God is leading us somewhere else no matter how content or discontent we are?”

Honestly, it was never really an issue of needing to be more content. I have a deep conviction that my purpose has to be the same as Jesus’ purpose which was to seek and save the lost (Luke19:10). Another scripture that continuously rang in our hearts was Matthew28:18-20 which says “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” As a Christian, I firmly believe that our heart has to be willing to go anywhere for the sake of the gospel and to spread God’s word.

What are some things that you did during that seeking phase that were instrumental in making your decision?

Prayer, prayer, prayer. Oh, and some more prayer!

Did you have work lined up in the new city before you moved? If not, how did you survive when you got there? If so, what did you have set up?

Not. At. All. Before we moved, I was a hair stylist full time and my husband did HVAC full time. We both gave up our careers to move and had nothing really lined up before we moved. Thankfully, my husband was able to be an intern for the church and also worked part time at Starbucks to make ends meet and until he was able to find a full time job that would support our new family since my plan was to stay home with our new baby.

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What were some of the hardest parts of relocation?

Sometimes when I’m feeling faithless, I can doubt that it was really God’s will for us to move here. I can think to myself “but why ME?” Or, when financially things get hard I can be tempted with the thought “Well, maybe we should just go back, things are more ‘stable’ at home” (which is NOT true, lol).

What have been some of the best parts of relocation?

Being able to share the message with people and see peoples lives change and make Jesus the Lord of their life is priceless. It has nothing to do with me or the things I do, but everything to do with being willing to share the truth with people. Aside from that, it has definitely been fun getting to know a new place and meeting so many new people!

What have been some of the unexpected blessings you never thought about before you moved?

There are truly so many. One of the biggest ones is right after we moved here, we immediately started searching for an apartment. Fortunately in the mean time we were able to stay with some friends, but being so pregnant there was definitely a rush to find a place so we could settle in. We finally found a place that was in our price range, but it wasn’t available until 2 weeks before my due date which was obviously cutting it a little close, but we decided to go for it. As we were signing the papers for our apartment we were sharing with the lady that was helping us, and telling her why we moved here. She was so impacted by our story that she allowed us to not have to pay our security deposit (which was almost $2000!). We were BEYOND grateful! Also, when making payment arrangements for my different postpartum bills, one of my largest bills was “miraculously” reduced to $120 from originally over $4000. I 100% believe that was the Lord.

What are some of the unexpected tough things that you’ve experienced that you didn’t take into account when you were deciding?

I think just the financial stretch that comes from living in such an expensive place. We told ourselves over and over again that it would be expensive, and we did plan for it, but it’s still just challenging when your in the middle of it. We had so many luxuries in Oregon, and many of those things we had to give up to live in Boston, so that took some adjusting. But we love living a simpler life, and really are happier.

Do you regret your decision to take this leap?

Absolutely not. Has it been hard? Definitely. Do I get homesick? Frequently. But it has been far more worth it.

Was there a point in this process where you and your spouse were not in unity about the decision?

Not really for any extended period of time. Like I mentioned above, when I would get emotional and full of doubt, there would be some tension that raised, but my husband was great about encouraging me to lay all of my anxieties on God. He (God) is capable of handling it, in my own flesh, I am not.

Tell us about that moment you decided to stop talking about it and make it happen?  What did that process look like? What were some of the practical steps you made to make this happen?

Haha, I don’t think I will ever forget it. We met up on my lunch break and went to a Mexican restaurant that was right next door to my job. We made a list of all of the pros and cons of moving that we could think of, and agreed that we weren’t going to leave the restaurant until we had made our decision. Ultimately, the pros outweighed the cons and we decided to go! What a CRAZY feeling that was. We really just had to come to that though. We had to stop talking and just make a stinking decision. The wavering between the two decisions killed us!

First we had to communicate with our family/friends/jobs that we were leaving. Not. Easy.

Next, we made a loooong list of everything we need to sell on Craigslist, organized many garage sales, and make trips upon trips to Goodwill. We got rid of so much stuff. Aside from that, we just really had to focus on how we were going to financially be able to do it and survive.

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What was the scariest thing for you about the thought of moving? Looking back, would you say those fears were warranted?  What would you tell your former self about taking this leap?

The scariest thing about going was knowing that our parents were NOT supportive, what-so-ever. I felt like I was really risking everything by going, including the fears of them “not loving me anymore” (which would never happen) but I really convinced myself that that it would. I told myself over and over again that I was a horrible daughter for moving so far away from my family when I was about to give birth to their first grandchild that they were SO excited for. I had to develop a deep, deep conviction that I could NOT live my life for anyone except for God. I couldn’t make huge life decisions and only base my decisions on what other people thought was best for me, which is sooo my temptation. I like to make everyone happy, and by doing this, I was definitely NOT making LOTS of people happy. That to me was terrifying.

What was the scariest thing for your spouse about the thought of moving? Looking back, would he say those fears were warranted?  What would he tell his former self about taking this leap?

Us not being able to afford to live in a big city. It is definitely more of a financial stretch living here, there’s no doubt about that, but it couldn’t be more worth it. It has caused us to really go after our passions and give our heart, and the money has definitely followed.

What would you tell people on the other side? Those of us that are just starting this journey into uncharted waters?  What do you wish someone would’ve told you?

When I first told my dad that we were moving, he was definitely very sad, but he said something I’ll never forget. He said “Jenny, as much as I don’t want you to go, you will NEVER know what it’s like if you don’t go.” As simple as that was, the more I thought about it, it was SO true. How would I ever be able to see what it was like if we didn’t just make the leap? How would I ever be able to witness these blessings from God if I would have just lived in fear of the unknown and decided to stay put? Fear is such a controlling thing, and you CAN’T let it control you. ESPECIALLY fear of the unknown…because you will never know if you don’t go!

Have you found a peace and “settled” feeling in your new location that wasn’t there before? If yes, how does that feel? If not, do you think you’ll ever feel settled? Do you feel that when you are where you’re supposed to be that there is a peace and a rest that comes with that?  Or do you think we as humans will always feel unsettled this side of heaven?

Yes. AMAZING. Again, it’s still not “home” in Oregon, but, it’s home for now. We have an incredible group of friends here that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I definitely think that there is an aspect of both. I definitely feel that we have a peace and rest that we didn’t have before. It was hard having a newborn and being away from family, but we have adjusted surprisingly well and have had many friends fill in the gap in incredible ways. BUT, there is a scripture in John3:8 that says “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” As Christians, you never really know where or when the Lord is going to blow you different places, and with that comes a certain level of uncertainty. Until we get to heaven will we ever really be completely settled and truly at home.

Have you ever considered moving back? If yes, do you think you will?

Yes. When times are tough, I can definitely go there. If it’s the Lord’s will, yes! But no I don’t think anytime soon. We love it here. I mainly am tempted to move back when I’m really lacking faith and am looking for an easy way out.

What are a few things that people considering this should have set in place before they make a move like this?

If the finances are there, I would strongly consider visiting the city before you move. Get an idea of where things are at in the city and where the best places to live are, ESPECIALLY if you have kids. Fortunately, God led us to an incredible town right on the outskirts of Boston that has worked perfectly for us, but when we first moved here it made finding an apartment really challenging because we didn’t know what areas were safe places and what areas were not.

Were there any specific Bible verses that you clung to during this time?

Matthew 28:18-20, Galatians 1:10, Luke 19:10 & Jeremiah 29:11-14 were definitely my go-to scriptures, although I had many!

Who are some women/families that were an inspiration or pillar for you during this time?

Everyone in our home church in Eugene was extremely supportive. That’s what is so incredible about my church, is that it’s connected to the church we used to go to in Eugene. I know that there is the same standard both places which is very hard to find. So my church family in Eugene were definitely pillar for us during this transition. My friend Mandee (who is the women’s ministry leader here in Boston) was extremely helpful to us during that time as well.

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You connect with Jenny online at her blog, on Facebook or on Instagram @jennycourtneyphoto.
Do you have your own Uprooted story to share? I would love to hear from you! Click here to share your story and you may be featured in the Uprooted series!

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