what? yes, you read that correctly. it’s for real. sometime around the 2nd weekend in march, zach and i will be back living in gilbert, arizona.
i’m sure you’re probably wondering, “how in the world did this happen? i thought you were moving to california for good?!” we’ve been asking ourselves the same questions actually. this is definitely a total paradigm shift for us. have to admit, this was never part of our plan.
so what changed?
the short version is: as zach began looking at the next step and beyond in his career – specifically higher level facilities to work towards for the sake of his long term career and retirement – he found that his options in SoCal were fewer than we thought and not so favorable (ie – options like Palmdale, which would mean 90min commute one-way OR moving an hour+ away from family & church… or LAX, where the stress alone is just not worth the toll it would take on both zach and our family life… etc). so on a whim, he checked PHX airport. turns out, PHX would be a REALLY great facility to try for down the line PLUS it has a TRACON facility below the tower, which has been a special interest of zach’s from early on. as much as it seemed like a total paradigm shift to even consider moving back to arizona, we both quickly realized that, barring a clear calling from the Lord to participate in a church plant, SoCal and arizona are the only 2 places we really want to ever live. in addition to pasadena and gilbert being home to our immediate families, both locations keep us within very reasonable driving distance of the other side of the family. both locations have really solid churches that we know and love. and both locations have good friends and relationships already in place. so as odd as it initially seemed, zach started looking further into the idea of transferring to arizona.
as God’s providence would have it, his current facility got a new supervisor who had spent a number of years in various airports in arizona and had something of a pulse on the area. she strongly recommended to zach that if PHX was going to become his goal, then he really should make the move to a smaller facility in the area ASAP. getting established in the area at one of the surrounding airports (Mesa, Scottsdale or Deer Valley) would put him in the best position to apply for a transfer to PHX down the line.
at first the thought kinda freaked us both out. it was SO unexpected. we had NEVER thought that we would ever be considering moving back to arizona. literally, when raigan and i pulled out of gilbert and hit the road for oklahoma, i remember telling her, “this is it. i will most likely never call gilbert ‘home’ again. it’s now the place i grew up in… got married in… have lots of history in…but moved away from, probably forever. wow.” our plan was always to move to california and live out the rest of our days, build a career and a family, pour into the church, set down roots, eventually buy a house… as far as we had thought and planned, we were here for the long haul. and that was fine by us! we’ve been in SoCal for just shy of 2 years now and we have loved it! not that there haven’t been adjustments and bumps along the way, but we were “all here” and happy. so to suddenly be seriously considering such a drastic change…. well, it just threw us both for a loop.
we needed to pray. we could stack up the pros and cons and list out our options for living in either state and think about it a lot, but in the end, we really just needed to pray. and ultimately, zach needed to pursue God specifically about where to lead his family. we believe that God absolutely moves and guides and leads through very practical means/signs. clear, open doors for opportunity and decisions that just “make sense” for various practical reasons are not to be excluded from a decision-making process. but no matter what opportunities and circumstances you may find in front of you, you still have to make a decision ultimately based on faith and confidence from the Lord. so that’s what we prayed for and talked about. and not just with each other. zach talked to several men whom he trusted and respected for their thoughts on the decision-making process, etc. personally, while the idea of moving back to gilbert definitely had me excited, i truly had faith for either direction. i felt that my heart was open to both options (going or staying), i trusted God to lead zach toward a decision and i was eager to get on board and support his decision. we talked a lot, but then we sort of stopped talking and just prayed and waited on God. and after a couple of weeks, zach said that he believed that God was leading us to pursue a transfer to arizona.
so we began making new plans. proverbs 16:9 says “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” we knew that all we could do is “plan” and wait and trust the Lord to confirm. so zach put in for a transfer to Falcon Field airport in mesa. that was back in july. as i’m sure many of you already know – if only from following our little ATC story – nothing moves very quickly with government jobs. ha! we waited for several months with little bits of information here and there… rumors that Falcon Field airport needing additional staffing… possibly hiring in the near future… zach was able to go visit the airport while we were in town visiting and spent some time meeting various controllers and managers… but still no firm answer/confirmation.
then the insanity of October & November hit. learning we were pregnant and dealing with plenty of 1st trimester unpleasantness, zach’s mom in the hospital for 3 weeks fighting for her life, the boomsma’s house beginning the construction of a remodel/addition… zach and i just looked at each other and thought, “wow, we are SO grateful nothing came through to move just yet. we need to be HERE right now. thank you, God.”
and then, come December, we heard that Falcon Field was getting serious about hiring at least 1 or 2 controllers. zach re-filed his paperwork (just for the sake of covering all bases) and we continued to wait and pray. a few weeks later he got an official follow up call, followed by an “unofficial” call to let him know that he was going to get picked up for the position! an email confirmation a week later to confirm that the paperwork had been sent in for processing… and here we are, getting ready to move again in 5 weeks. we’re really excited about this new and unexpected adventure that lies ahead of us… and yet it also feels so intensely bittersweet. moving away from friends, and especially zach’s family just a few months before giving birth to our first child (and the first grandbaby on zach’s side), is very sad. we both are confident in the Lord’s leading every step of the way, but it doesn’t mean that this change comes without mixed emotions too. our excitement is great but it is also greatly tempered.
the new plan right now is to move in with my parents in gilbert. they have graciously offered their extra bedrooms to us (a whole bedroom just for baby jack, too!) so that we can save up our money in order to pursue buying a house sooner than if we were to rent another apartment. we are SO grateful for this provision! not only will we be able to save MUCH more quickly this way, but i am very happy as i anticipate becoming a new mom with my own mom RIGHT by my side for help and support. what a huge blessing!
so that’s the story. let the packing begin…