Tell us a little about your family.
We have been married for 19 years, and we have five home schooled kiddos; four boys aged 17, 16, 11, and 6, and a middle-princess, who’s 14.
What do you and your hubby do for work?
For the last seven years I’ve run Legacy Seven Studios, a photography business, and four years ago my man joined me full-time. We’re working our way out of that dynamic toward a new sense of “right order” and freedom to run after the next season!
Where did you call home before you were uprooted?
Tampa Bay, Florida (leaving this month [July 2014], Lord-willing).
When did the possibility of relocating first come up and why?
About a year ago, I began to see clearly that the dynamic of our business/marriage was topsy-turvy. Although my husband is an amazing servant-heart and is loyal to the pain, he was slowly growing in his not-so-subtle signs of discontent. I knew that although he was working hard to make it work, running our photography business wasn’t his calling. On top of that, I’d gone from full-time home educating homemaker and passionate helpmeet, to the full-time working mom who was frequently irritated with my precious arrows and my amazing husband for “invading my work time.” My heart was straying from my first call and I was struggling to identify my identity FIRST in Christ, gaining too much (or not enough) affirmation through my work/art.
Were you the instigator of the idea or the follower?
Instigator. I didn’t know if it was right at first; in fact at first, my husband resisted mightily, because of his stable, loyal nature. I struggled with knowing if I was being “weak” to “want a way out”, but I knew our marriage needed help, and I knew our current work situation was a culprit. When my husband came to work in the business, he essentially became a reluctant “employee” by default, because I am a driven and passionate person and I knew the business and the art. Neither of us wanted that dynamic but we weren’t doing a good job at learning to reverse it. We absolutely saw how God used our photography business as a relationship-builder with clients and used every opportunity we had to shine God’s light as we worked. However, we knew in our own hearts and thankfully with the intervention of amazing and insightful family members, that things needed to change. A not-so-chance meeting with a family in the camping industry opened our eyes to the possibility of serving in this capacity, and we began to investigate opportunities for my husband to work in a retreat/camp setting. We believed it might be a great place for our whole family to grow in serving and ministry.
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?
Terrifying. Especially for me – I’m very future-thinking and possibly a BIT controlling, and I couldn’t see how we could possibly change the dynamic of our business, and didn’t see God giving my husband a passion either for the business or for a change. But then again, especially for my husband, who is very loyal to whatever job he’s on at the time, who’s very methodical and thoughtful and perhaps a bit resistant to change. It was a sloooooooooow year, and when he finally did find “the job” where God is taking us, even that process took a very long time. Our children were in heartache with the level of tension that had risen in our marriage/home, and the bitterness that was building in my heart toward my husband as he didn’t lead the way I envisioned he should. Digging our way out of that dynamic and seeking HIS heart together has been healing and has spurred an incredible faith-journey for our children as individuals, as well.
What about your former city made you feel like it wasn’t the place for you?
We actually love our city, but the dynamic created from our disorder was a frustration that tied to the location, and that in part led to our wanting to leave. I do, I will say, miss the seasons living in Florida, and I do not enjoy chasing little peoples in the sweltering, humid heat of summer. So the thought of a true autumn gives me goosebumps of anticipation!
What about the city that you moved to were you drawn to? What things about it led you there out of all the cities you could’ve moved to?
Um, well, we looked longingly at Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina (closer to grandparents, oh, the desire of our hearts), California, and never New Jersey. It just wasn’t on our radar. We had no idea all it had to offer!
What made you consider the next city as a better fit? Did those expectations of the new city come true?
The very clear, prayed over call to this job/ministry. And then as we’ve dreamed and created our pinboards and dreamed some more, we’ve had confirmation through “little” things, like our son’s desire to hike the Appalachian Trail, which we discovered actually runs through New Jersey. And the fact that it has hunting land (a huge desire for several family members). And it’s still coastal. And has seasons. And is close to so many places we’d like to travel with our children, but may not have planned to do without this move.
This [if they expectations will come true] is still to be discovered.
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?”
Time. Much prayer and “doors…” and much, MUCH counsel from trusted godly advisors. But time, especially… I’m not a patient girl, and for me, I think above everyone, that was the hardest struggle. But now we can already see some very clear benefits to the time it took for God to work in this situation, including relationships that needed to mend, grow, or shift, and especially the relationships in our own family that God needed to heal and grow.
What are some things that you did during that seeking phase that were instrumental in making your decision?
Every step was shared and prayed over by a very small group of trusted friends and family. We also took great insight from watching our children’s reactions. We had first considered another opportunity, and there were some red flags in the areas of boundaries we felt might be shaky for a healthy work and family relationship. We walked through a very extensive interview process that took many stages as the new employer actually developed the position. His prayerfulness and deliberation were a huge factor for us, as well, in knowing that this was a good move for our family. Above all for me, as the wife, I was determined to “get out of the way” and let God lead through my husband in the process, and fought my need to control often. It was from feedback from those who know us and love us well that we would be affirmed in how we were growing through the process, again a sign that God was at the core of 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?
It’s the reason we’re going. :) We are excited that my husband’s job will provide for our needs, and now the journey will entail deciding if, and when, I’ll step back into photography as a business. It’s something I see sharing with our daughter (she’s been very instrumental in the business for the last couple years and part of the ministry opportunities it gave us), but I want to be very careful to listen to God’s leading in this and first and foremost, be the wife and mama I’m called to be.
What were some of the hardest parts of relocation?
Telling friends and family, many of whom didn’t see this coming. Transitioning the business and meeting all obligations. Not knowing for months and months if we should really pack or not, and now packing lickety-split! Being patient to know that God will provide for even our children’s activities what HE wants for them (which is hard when you’ve got an upcoming senior who really has worked hard to gain respect and achieve in his sports, and hopes to scholarship for college in them!).
What have been some of the best parts of relocation?
The anticipation of a “new thing…” we’re adventurers at heart and our children’s grounding comes in their family, so I know that it will draw us closer together to be in a new place, exploring and building relationship together.
Do you regret your decision to take this leap?
Was there a point in this process where you and your spouse were not in unity about the decision?
YES – the beginning was so hard. Many times he thought I was being demanding when I pushed for things to happen faster; many times I thought he was lacking initiative when things didn’t move as fast as I thought they should. A couple we’d asked to mentor us requested that we
a: give up all extraneous commitments to commit to growing closer to God, each other, and our children in this process
b: PRAY TOGETHER EVERY NIGHT. boy, howdy, when we are faithful to that it changes EVERYTHING.
Being in the Word individually and as a family are huge. Some amazing discussions about who God is, who we are in Him, and what He asks of His people have occurred in mornings around the living room, Bibles in hand and all subjects available for heart-sharing.
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?
It was messy and tentative – my husband began putting out applications and resumes, which was almost comedic as he’d been out of the “workforce” as most know it, for several years. He didn’t have a resume that was traditional, either, for the type of jobs he was applying for. But he was diligent and kept going after it, and the job he’s headed towards, in true God-humor, isn’t even the job he applied for. It’s one many might not even have considered him for, but one I think is a perfect fit for him and his gifts, and one that will allow our family to be blessed, and to bless others.
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?
Be fearless. Be ruthless about cutting out anything in your life that doesn’t seem to be growing you or glorifying God. Don’t be afraid to look at opportunities that seem outside your realm of expertise, if they’re inside your realm of desire and gifting in any way. Pray together. Every day. No matter what.
Remind your children often that God has the best plan for their good, and His glory, for EACH member of the family, and He will not forsake us in time of transition.
(My hubby has been working in another town five days a week for the last month or more, in preparation for our move. He’s been faithful to call and pray together every night, because it’s mattered that much.)
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?
Still working on that part. We will see!
What are a few things that people considering this should have set in place before they make a move like this?
Still learning! But one important thing I’ve learned is that you shouldn’t wait to make changes and build relationships and serve right where you are, even when you sense God is stirring things up. We listed our house for sale a year ago when this process began, and it still hasn’t sold. But we got better at working as a team while showing a house with seven people and a business and a school operating in it!
We started pulling away from some relationships and then decided to go full steam ahead and build into people for however long we had. We have been blessed to have wonderful mutual benefit and fellowship in a short time with many of them! And God is spoiling us to see how He’s taking care of others we’d begun to serve, connecting them with other believers as we leave!
Were there any specific Bible verses that you clung to during this time?
…For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. -1 Peter 3:6
This whole year has been about love versus fear… obeying God through my husband, and not being frightened – LAUGHING at the days to come!!!
Who are some women/families that were an inspiration or pillar for you during this time?
My mama. She’s a prayer WARRIOR. And she’s married to a man like me, so she’s got great insight into how to honor my husband when I might make life a little challenging for him sometimes!
Our associate pastor’s wife, and another young mama in our church, who speak the truth in love, even in the “young” stages of friendship.
Three heart-friends, whose husbands became heart-friends of mine, whose kids are my children’s best friends. Their commitment to work through all the ups and downs of true community, and to encourage each other in our similarities and differences, has been a healing experience and a ROCK for me.
You can follow Angela and her family’s journey on their blog, Dancing with My Father, or on Instagram @angelasack.
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!