Isn’t it mind-boggling how much the world has changed since 2020? For better or worse, the entire planet has been linked together by the awareness of COVID-19. And while it may not be every person, certainly millions of Californians are having a common thought come into their minds: I need to move out of this state! Perhaps you are one of them?
Everyone has a unique story (read my friend Erika’s story here) and I’d like to share a bit of mine with you. My name is Lindsey, I grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, and left for college thinking I’d be a traveling musician off to see the world! Funny how life works, because instead I came back with a husband, bought a house, started having babies, and lived just a couple blocks from my own elementary school. Four kids and just over 13 years later, we still lived in that same modest (i.e. small!) home in Citrus Heights, CA.
We loved our life there – our church, our family, our friends, our homeschool community, our girls’ troop, our neighbors. But even before the dreaded 2020 debacle, we wondered if California was right for us to raise our family. By the summer of 2021 the conversation changed to: “We ARE leaving California, but where do we go?”
I had hunches and feelings for places to live, but my clever husband actually made an elaborate spreadsheet ranking 15 different states based on the following categories: taxes, job opportunity, homeschool laws, gun laws, mask & vaccine mandates, Critical Race Theory, American Heritage Girls and Trail Life troops, and proximity to family! States got a 1-5 score in each category. For its final score, we weighted the categories based on importance to us. (Yes, we are nerds!) As we saw Idaho climbing the charts, I remember thinking to myself… Huh?!? This is our dream state?! All I knew about Idaho was potatoes and some crazy relatives, and the one city we’ve visited smelled like manure! But, oh ya, don’t we know that one nice family that moved there? Maybe it’s not so bad?
So we started planning our “scouting” road trip – thankful to God for providing a month-long sabbatical from my husband’s employer just in time. Friends of ours had just taken their 3 little ones on a big RV road trip across the country, looking for just the right Red State to plant their family. I loved the idea of visiting several states, but our continued killer spreadsheeting and research made clear that we really only needed to see Idaho and visit some friends & family along the way. We used www.areavibes.com and www.niche.com/places-to-live to learn more about all the different places we wanted to visit (and charted our findings!). The trip was amazing, Idaho is beautiful (and not all smelly), and we fell in love with multiple cities!
We came home early October and discussed our findings for many weeks, not knowing which city to choose. Even our trusted spreadsheets couldn’t help us! But one thing we did know: Lord willing, we are moving to Idaho. Did my husband have a job there? No. Did we have a clue what our house might sell for and how much we could afford on a new one? Not really. Did we know how to handle needing the money from our sale in order to buy, and where we would live during the in-between time? Nope. Was the house a mess, in need of repairs, full of clutter inside and overgrown weeds outside, with four kids running around 24-7 because we’re crazy enough to homeschool them? Yes sir-ry. But we put one foot in front of the other, all the while keeping that dream of freedom fresh in our minds, and 3 ½ months later here we are in our gorgeous, brand new “Idahome”.
I can’t imagine how this process would’ve been without the Lord. Knowing that He was always in control and had a perfect plan for us was a comfort I can’t explain. Whenever a door closed, we knew it was from Him. But mostly we experienced overwhelming grace walking right through the doors He opened for us. Don’t get me wrong, this was no sitting around and “let go and let God” scenario – we worked our tails off! But we know none of it would’ve been possible without God’s perfect guidance and provision. The victory belongs to Him!
Proverbs 21:31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
If you’d like to hear more about our road trip or what happened over those 3 ½ crazy months following, leave a comment below! Looking forward to sharing my adventure with you and using the blog to procrastinate unpacking because let me tell you, it’s a beast.