So Dawn and I have decided to do something that many would say is PRET-TY CRAZY – we’ve pretty much sold everything – including the house – we bought a fifth-wheel trailer, I quit my job, and we’re heading to California so I can go to seminary.
Yeah, I know how it sounds: Seminary? In California? And, yes, I know there were several seminaries much closer to our home in Fort Worth. The thing is, we had started to go to seminary twice before, and God shut it down.
The first time, we were straight out of college trying to find a job so I could go to seminary in New Orleans, and God closed the door on every avenue I tried. I’ll never forget the first business trip I took for my new job in Dallas (the one I took when we decided I HAD to get a job elsewhere) a couple weeks after I started when my boss and I sat on the runway at DFW airport for an hour before our flight to Georgia was cancelled because of Hurricane Katrina. I was very glad we had not ended up in New Orleans that day, and I finally saw a reason God had kept us from going there.
The second time I tried to head toward seminary, I applied to Southwestern in Fort Worth, and everything went through without a hitch except for one small piece regarding my church recommendation that got lost in the mix. That setback made me re-evaluate whether I was really supposed to go there or not – after a little reflection and prayer, I felt like we needed to tap the brakes on seminary.
At that time, we got the opportunity to start working as volunteers in the college ministry at our church. We saw that as God confirming my decision not to go to Southwestern. The minister who brought us on board said it would be an opportunity to intern. We just wanted to serve college students, but as time went on, we began to hope it might blossom into a ministry position from which I could go to seminary locally, maybe at Dallas Theological Seminary. After three years, it became apparent that God was not leading our church in that direction, and we began to pray about our next step. We felt led to help our church with planting a satellite campus in a fast-growing area in Fort Worth. It’s funny looking back because we couldn’t find anyone to help with the college ministry until we decided to leave it. At that point, God brought someone to take it over, confirming our path to leave.
It was while we were serving in that little start-up campus (shout-out to Cross Church), that God began to pull our hearts toward seminary once again. This time, it was toward Golden Gate Theological Seminary in San Francisco, a seminary that one of our mentors had suggested years before. Within a few days, we planned a 10-day summer road trip to see sights on the west coast and to visit the seminary. Little did we know the seminary had just gone through a name and location change. It was SO funny talking to our contact there about our visit and hearing them give us this address in near Los Angeles while we sat in a hotel in San Francisco. Fortunately, we had planned to visit LA too, so we ended up walking through the new campus of Gateway Seminary before classes were even held there. When our contact, Cameron, explained the intent of the new campus to serve as a training site for those in ministry and the need for college ministry in California, we knew it was the place for us.
At that point, it became a question of “how do we get there?” and “when do we go?” After a year of thought and prayer, we decided we needed to go. The housing sales market seemed to be booming in Fort Worth at the time, so we ACTUALLY thought we could prep and sell our home in a couple of months to start seminary in the Fall. We were SO VERY wrong – it took us around five months to prep the house and another three months to sell it. After that, we still had about four months of work to get rid of all our stuff and get ready to leave.
During our visit, we asked about campus housing and found there wasn’t any large enough for our family. Other housing options seemed pricey, so I thought I would probably need to get a job, but after a couple of tries, I felt like God was telling me to go to seminary in faith without an engineering job. Soon after that, Dawn had the idea of looking for motorhomes and found a used on on Craigslist. I thought it sounded like a good idea, and by the time I came home from work the next day, she had already found the Jayco North Point we ended up buying.
A lot of people asked me why we wanted to sell our house along with pretty much everything and move into a trailer when we went full-time in it. At that time, I explained our desire to simplify our life and to create opportunities for traveling wherever we want. The part I held back, though, was that we felt like this huge change would set us up to follow God and our hearts into a lifestyle that would enable me to finally go to seminary.
Looking back, it’s funny, because neither Dawn nor I had heard of many people doing what we were doing, not people younger than retirement age anyway, but after we got set up in our trailer, we were exposed to this whole community of people who’ve decided to #ditchthenorm and hit the road: newly-wed couples, young families, families with older kids, empty-nesters, and yes, retirees too.
So, what’s your dream? What’s the thing you’ve always wanted to do “after I get that next raise/promotion/kid out of the house…” What’s holding you back? Whatever it may be, we want to encourage you to start living it now, even in small ways, because too many people reach the end of their life wondering “what might have been.” I don’t know about you, but I refuse to live my life like that. Instead, ask yourself “what can I do right now to take a step closer to my dream?”, and then take that step. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And who knows, maybe you’ll end up on the road like us, and maybe we’ll end up crossing paths. Until then, we’re going to keep living Younger Every Day.