In 2010 Jenny and I had dinner with some dear friends that we had not seen for many years. I know, with the aid of hindsight, that it was that dinner that planted the seed to go on the greatest adventure of our married life. I say “with the benefit of hindsight” because at that time there was no way that I would allow myself to entertain the thought of stepping away from my very comfortable, safe life to have an adventure. The dinner simply planted a seed. The seed was in the form of a question. The question was; ” who tells me what to do?”.
As a good Christian, I am familiar with the passage of the Bible (Matthew 6:24) that says we can not serve God and Money. We must choose only one. No matter how badly I wanted my answer to the question; “who tells me what to do?” to be ” God does” it was not. Money was the answer. Money told me where to live, the type of education my children could have and the car I drive. I found myself in a crisis of conscience and I quietly contemplated that question for the next year and a half.
Spring forward now to 2012. Jenny and I were celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary with a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. My parents had graciously offered to keep the children for us, so we dropped them off at my parents house on the way to Nashville. The drive to Nashville gave Jenny and I something that few parents of young children get, hours and hours of uninterrupted talking time. We spent the next several days pouring our hearts out to one another. I vocalized the question that had given me a crisis of conscience and Jenny was able to do the same. A good friend shared the book ” A Million Miles In A Thousand Years ” by Donald Miller with us and we listened to it on the return trip. The book was like listening to our conversations that we had been having. By the time we returned to pick up the children, we felt like what we needed to do was put our house up for sale and that we would know what to do next. I would like to interject here that, in hindsight, we both new that this would result in a move for our family, but we would not allow our minds to go there because admitting that was far too scary.
Tuesday night is family night at the Sanders house. No one is allowed to schedule events on Tuesday. We keep that evening open to simply be together. Tuesday night can also be a time for the family to discuss issues. If someone has a topic for the family to discuss (getting a dog, allowance) they can request a family meeting. These meetings take a more formal tone, with the presenter sharing their thoughts and calling for a vote of support.
Shortly after returning from our trip I called a family meeting. Tuesday night came and I called the meeting to order. I began by telling the kids our story. I told of how Jenny and I met and how nervous I was when I asked her to be my wife. I told them about building our first house. I shared how nervous I was each time I found out that I would be a father and how nervous I was when we sold our first house and bought our second one. The telling of the story took over an hour, the kids loved hearing their own history. I got to the part of the story that was current and told the kids that Jenny and I feel that it was time for us to sell our house again and this time we are not sure what that means for our family, we may buy another house in Hudson or we may move away from Hudson. I informed the kids that this is no longer the adventure of Aaron and Jenny, but the adventures of Aaron, Jenny, Alexander, Jackson, Maxwell and Isabella. Since it was their adventure as well, we put the selling of the house and the unknowns that it brings to a vote. The adventure was unanimously ratified. That family meeting was one of the greatest times for our family. We all left that meeting excited to be adding to our family story.
The summer of 2012 was long and arduous! In order to sell our house, we needed to finish a lower level bathroom, remodel two bedrooms, replace all stair treads and paint the entire upstairs. My parents took the kids for a month and Jenny and I worked like never before. By fall, we were ready to list the house. We listed the house in September and had a steady stream of showings. December arrived without an offer on the house, so we took it off of the market. This was a relief to me. I was starting to have serious anxiety about the house selling. In my heart I knew the sale of the house meant a move and separation from an amazing job (I know, I know that is not supposed to matter to a Christian…).
In April we put the house on the market again. This time we had an offer for full price within 24 hours. It is at this point that I felt very sick. Up to this point I had told myself that God would not want me to leave such a good job, my church and our beautiful home. I clung to the hope that this entire thing was some sort of faith test and I would be spared the selling of my home. Days and weeks passed and Jenny and I agreed that if indeed the house sold, we would move to Nashville, Tennessee. I was secretly hoping that the final inspection (the buyer’s bank appraisal) would not go through and I would be spared, but that was not the case.
We now had a closing date and I had to do one of the hardest things I have ever done. I sat down with my manager and informed him of our decision to move. This was hard for me in many ways. First, my job with its excellent salary and benefits was a gift from God. I was not ” qualified” to do the job; however, I excelled at it. Second, I truly enjoyed what I did. Finally, I have a great deal of respect for my manager. He is a fellow Christian and we had grown to have a great relationship. He is not only my mentor in business, but a dear friend. I shared the news with him and he was very supportive. He and I had discussed the possibility that this day may come over a year before and he was aware of my concerns with stepping away from my job and moving. His faith in God’s providence of the situation has been a source of much encouragement.