When we moved to Edmonton, it was always our short to mid-term plan. We knew we didn’t want to be in the prairies, away from family for a long time, but were ready to do what we needed to do to get ahead in life, with Tim’s career and our family finances. Since his job was working for the Government of Alberta, we knew that we couldn’t count on a transfer to get us back to BC, but would have to look for something completely new. Well, it turns out he didn’t have to look.
Tim is a person who, when he has a hobby he enjoys, puts as much of his free time as he can into it. For a couple years this was sleight of hand magic tricks which you may have been lucky enough to witness. But more than two years ago, he started using a passion of his, statistics and analysis, to make another passion more exciting for him: the video game League of Legends. This game is played competitively and professionally, and as a new and rising industry, Tim realized that there were stats that could be tracked and analyzed that were not yet. He created databases and wrote articles, posting on his personal site Oracle’s Elixir. He made a name for himself in the industry and important people started noticing and requesting him to write for them or to provide stats for their commentary. For a good chunk of time Tim was freelancing part time for a particular site and doing other work on the side for other people. In January of this year he was contacted by a company that wanted to hire him full time. They flew him out to see if he would be a good fit for the company. Things fell into place from there and Tim officially quit the GOA and started with this company, working from home, about a week or two after Erika was born.
The time had come…the time to move back to BC!
When we thought of going back, it seemed obvious to us to settle in the Fraser Valley. My parents are in Langley and my siblings stretch east from there, from Langley to Abbotsford. Tim’s parents are in Nanaimo and his siblings are scattered about from Victoria to Edmonton. We looked forward to being close to a set of grandparents and my siblings, and our children having cousins close by. We knew we couldn’t afford living right in Langley because of the housing market, but I didn’t want that anyway. It has just gotten so congested and plus, you can never “move back home”. I still have friends there, but I didn’t want to fall their own communities that they’ve built around them. We looked forward to living somewhere new and meeting new people, creating our own circle of friends…our own “village”.
So when we accepted an offer on our house, we immediately booked flights to Abbotsford to go house hunting. According to our browsing on realtor.ca, we could afford something in Chilliwack equal to what we have here in Edmonton. After one day out with a real estate agent, we had a lot of reevaluation to do. It seemed that in all the properties we could afford, one of our few needs would have go be sacrificed. There either would be not enough rooms for Tim to have his work space, not enough yard space for the kids, or simply in a neighbourhood that we didn’t feel comfortable in. These things were all non-negotiable, and the door to Chilliwack seemed to close in our faces. That evening Tim and I sat and thought through some options, that all got crossed off for one reason or another.
Renting, having tenants, maybe a bit further east in Agassiz… it seemed impossible and heart breaking. Right from the beginning of thinking of moving back, there had always been two options, since we have parents in two places. That other option of course was Nanaimo. We had never given it much thought because it was too far from most of our family. But when the door to Chilliwack closed, that reopened the option of Nanaimo in our hearts and minds.
We spend the entire next day talking it through together (with the small break to watch a little Kimmy Schmidt because there is nobody better at distracting you from your own problems). Never has a decision been so hard for us. In the past our big life changes seemed easy and natural. Want to get married? We’ve only been dating for six weeks, but yes! Should we move to Edmonton? That’s where a job is, so of course! Should he take this job working from home? It’s gonna get us back to BC, so obviously! It seemed so clear to us that we would live in Chilliwack and live our lives there, so it came as a shock to us emotionally that that may not be God’s plan for our family, that we may not be aligned with his will. It was an emotional few days, the highs of thinking of raising our family on Vancouver Island, and the lows of broken dreams of ours and of those we thought we would be closer to. The hope of seeing what we could afford in Nanaimo and the disappointment in not getting that in Chilliwack.
In the end, we finally realized that Nanaimo is where we were meant to be. I’d say it was a choice we finally made, but really, there was no choice. It has been the hardest thing we’ve ever had to accept, but also so joy-giving at the same time! And are we ever thankful the job Tim got is a remote one and location is not an issue! Can you imagine taking a job somewhere before realizing you cannot live there?! God knows what he’s doing. In the most timely sermon I’ve ever heard, this morning’s was on James 4:13-16.
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
Guilty. We thought we knew what we were doing. We made up plans and expectations in our minds and hearts. And God said “nope!”. We look forward to building our lives on the Island and seeing what God has in store for us. It will still be hard, as we still want to have those closer relationships with those on the mainland; we just have to figure out what that looks like, and it will be a little more difficult.
So if you think of us over these next months, as we navigate moving away from Edmonton, temporarily hopping back and forth between our parents’ homes, having Tim gone on a couple work trips, our house-hunting for a home in Nanaimo, please keep us in your prayers that we keep looking to God and his will. Exciting times to come!