As we were packing up to move to Nashville in 2009 to start a Nav ministry at Vanderbilt University, a friend counseled me to be prepared that moves can be hard. At the time I thought, we are going to be just fine. We did undergrad in Nashville, two of my bridesmaids are there, we’re familiar with it… this is going to be a FUN homecoming, not something difficult.
I was unprepared for what was to come.
We moved three weeks after my second daughter was born. I don’t actually remember the first month of her life apart from packing and trekking cross country. We moved in with my in-laws in Atlanta and planned to drive up to Nashville the next weekend to secure housing. We had lived with them for fundraising stints in the past, but this time there happened to be 10 of us living in the house–it was FULL. Our funding also crashed, and we were in deficit for the first time—I remember we took our P-cards out of our wallets and then hit the road to go buy a house!
House-hunting was surprisingly difficult. We walked through over thirty homes and couldn’t find anything that would work within our price range. What was supposed to be at maximum a month of living in Atlanta stretched on to two and then three months. Finally we found a house and moved one week before freshman move-in…definitely not the timetable I was planning on.
The day we moved in, we went out to pray over the four corners of our lot. Seconds into our prayer, I looked down and had a dozen mosquitos biting my legs. Sufficed to say our prayer was cut short, and we ran inside. A week later I noticed spiders in the house. Lots of them. We found out the house was infested with Brown Recluses—and they had moved into our stuff. They crawled out of our couch, hid in my tea kettle, and waited for me in the shower. I packed up our kids and drove back to Atlanta while Dave declared war on spiders, sprayed poison everywhere, and then literally passed out from the poison and had to have friends come rescue him.
I’ll go on. I developed a severe vitamin d deficiency that year and some mornings could barely drag myself out of bed. My toddler couldn’t clear chronic ear infections, leading to surgery. My newborn suffered from a mysterious and untreatable diaper rash which lasted for 10 months. We had two break-ins, two floods, and our ever present friends, the deadly spiders, made frequent appearances. Apparently the poison which knocked out my husband is quite ineffective on brown recluses.
Either we had made the worst financial decision of our lives buying this house (and maybe even moving to Nashville) OR we were in a Sovereign crucible OR there was a spiritual battle being waged on 38th Ave. It was hard to tell sometimes.
But God had led me to a verse before our move which I clung to during those months:
“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
He would be my sun and shield. I could trust Him. I went back to that verse over and over again. I look back on those months now and see how faithful He was. We were never harmed—not by spiders, not by burglars, not by the floods. He was our shield. Pioneering on campus felt like the Lord had set the wood for a fire and handed us the match the day we arrived. He gave us amazing student friends who truly laid down their lives and helped us lay the foundation for our work. There are so many sweet memories…even in that house! He bestowed favor and honor.
Mamas, I share this story to say that moves can be hard. There are moments of doubt, grief, and fear. But our God is faithful, and we can trust Him. And thankfully all the hard isn’t just meaningless—He’s at work to produce and shape us and others into the likeness of Jesus if we will cooperate.
Eventually, our spider friends did go into hiding. We found that caulk was our ally in locking them into the walls. After three years, we sold the house (and our couch for good measure), and I felt nothing but relief!
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Linnette and her husband Dave began their marriage and Nav staff career eleven years ago (EDGE and SIT at Colorado State) and they currently lead the collegiate Nav ministries in Nashville. They have four children: Kate (8), Kylie (6), McKenzie (4), and Daniel (3). Linnette and Dave are passionate about the shared mission of raising up disciple-makers and raising up their kids.