We are moving!!
We are dreamers. Chris and I have always loved to dream and chase those dreams. We have never settled for the hand that has been dealt us. We have always asked ourselves if this life we live is what we want it to be. Of course, we can’t always change every aspect of our lives, and there are things that you must just live with, but we have lived a life that we have wanted to live, changing what we can and accepting what we can’t change.
The reason for this post is because it has come to my attention that some have discussed the Padgett move among themselves and has come to the wrong conclusions. My sense of self justice will not allow people to hold to incorrect ideas regarding my life and family. Therefore, I will explain.
We have wanted to move for a VERY long time. For me, the desire to leave Steubenville began to grow dating as far back as 2006. Anyone local will understand what happened that year that drove a huge wedge into my heart that I have never fully recovered from. For anyone else who does not know that story, it will be told one day on this blog or you can read about it in our new marriage book coming out in a few months. (sorry for the shameless plug) I have lived my life here very happily despite the deep longing to leave. I have loved all that God has done with our family in the time we have been in Steubenville, but the desire for something different has grown into it’s own beast and can no longer be ignored.
In reality, there were two events that took place in the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 that sealed the desire to leave into BOTH of our hearts. For one, we had new neighbors move in next door. I have been very vocal about my frustration with them and their dogs. Most people assume that they are the reason we are leaving. (As a side note, they have calmed down a ton and I don’t even hear them anymore. My frustration with them has subsided as they have become better neighbors, thank God.) But the truth is I believe God put them there to light a fire under us. We had come to accept that the fulfillment of our dreams would be years off. We were content with waiting for “God’s perfect timing”. It took making us really uncomfortable to realize that His timing is NOW.
The second event, which was at the end of 2013, was the filling of a full time teaching position at Franciscan University. Chris has taught there several years as an adjunct and is very close to finishing his doctorate in theology. He is more than qualified to hold a full time professor position in the university that we have loved, and moved here for. For years we assumed that God would eventually lead him into a position there in order to secure a more predictable future for us. Full time ministry does not provide retirement and benefits, which has become an area of concern as we have aged and our family has grown. We figured that working as a professor made sense. We already felt like a part of the FUS family. But... that didn’t happen. We are not bitter or upset with the fact that Chris was denied two positions that opened recently. We know they hired the best people for those positions. However, it made us realize that our future is not at Franciscan. All along, God had other plans for us. He did not want us to settle for the plans we have made; rather, he wanted us to dream beyond the boundaries and pursue the life we really wanted.
In the end, we are not leaving because we are angry, or bitter, or scared, or hurt. We are leaving because we want a different life for us and our children. We have a new kind of future to create.
I am frustrated with people thinking that the Padgetts are moving because Chris is just trying to keep his wife happy. My husband is a VERY good man. He aims to please me more than I deserve. However, he is also an amazing leader for this family. He would never lead us into a bad decision just because I manipulated him into it. Chris has wanted to be a farmer since he was a kid. He wanted to move to Alaska way before New York came into the picture. This move is not just about me. It’s a joint dream that we equally share. Yes, I want to live in my happy place, but Chris desires to provide for us and give us a future that will make him proud. The fact is there is no future left for us in Steubenville.
So why Syracuse, NY? The answer is simply... Land. We looked all over our current area, into WV and PA. We took a trip into Maine, NH, and Vermont to scope out possibilities. It was Chris who found Syracuse. There are really great people collaborating in ministry and there is affordable land. See.. our future security will not be found in an amazing retirement plan, an impressive investment portfolio, or most likely, in government social security. Our future is going to need to be something that we create ourselves. Chris and I believe that getting a good chunk of land and slowly making it into a self sustaining homestead, where little cash output is needed, is the best hope we have. We want to provide our kids with a place they can depend on as well in difficult times. We will have our own food, develop our own skills, and be at peace.
Sure, many will think we are crazy or that this dream is impossible. But we feel this is the leading of God. He has found an answer to the deep longing in my heart to be surrounded by nature and beauty while at the same time satisfy the longing in Chris’s heart to provide for his family. It will not happen over night, but I am convinced that in years to come, my children will be living very productive lives, using skills that we taught them on our homestead, loving Jesus and being convinced of His provision, and being happy to bring their family home to the Padgett Farm so their children will receive the same experience. This is our future.
No one in our family will ever regret the years we lived in Steubenville. God has blessed us beyond measure with a treasury of friends and a maturity in our faith. My kids have loved living in our neighborhood, making life long friends, attending the Catholic schools, and being a part of this community in every other way. I am grateful for that.
So... the Padgetts are moving on. At first, we weren’t sure we wanted to go, but it became clear that God was closing every door for us to STAY. Despite the challenges that have come our way in this stressful process of buy/selling a house, figuring out kid’s schools, and packing a massive family home, we are confident in the calling we feel. We are aware that emotions will be mixed, sadness to leave friends verses excitement for a new start, and the closing of a chapter will be painful, but Chris and I are united in the dream for our future. See.. this is not just Linda being unhappy and Chris being a good man. This is not a “I hate Steubenville” reaction or “the grass is greener” scenario. This is all about the future. This is all about a dream. This is all about a family.