So. Ohio. We had about a month before we would be taking a trip up there for the interview, and had to decide somewhat quickly whether or not we wanted to accept the offer to fly (just Will and I) or take a road trip with the kids and explore along the way. Despite the appeal of flying and a weekend away with just my husband, we both agreed that we wanted to drive it with the kids. It helped that my parents had been planning a trip up to Indiana to see my grandpa around the same time, and offered to drive first to Ohio to help with the kids while Will and I were with the search committee!
Ever since beginning the adventure of looking for where God would have us next, Will and I had decided to share with our kids about what God was doing along the way. We were honest about what was happening, and kept them involved as we prayed about it together and talked about the different places we could end up. We were able to process anxieties, fears, and other emotions along the way, which I think helped us all. They were excited about the trip to Ohio, and we checked out books at the library to learn about the state. I explored the real estate in the area and researched the town a bit.
Will was the first candidate that would be interviewed, and we went back and forth on whether or not that was a good or a bad thing. Of course, ultimately we were reassured by the knowledge that God was send us where we were supposed to be. We joked that it felt a bit like a beauty pageant minus the swimsuit competition. Although I have to laugh as I type that, as we did end up spending time in our hotel pool with some of the leaders and their families!
Towards the end of February, we set out. Thankfully, our kids are great with road trips (we’ll be even more thankful for this when we discover just how much we will be on the road in the near future)! The trip was supposed to take about 9 1/2 hours. It was around 11 hours for us, but with 4 kids ranging in age from 9 to 1 1/2, we figured that wasn’t too bad! We were very, very happy when we rolled into our hotel parking lot that night.
The next few days were a blur- we met the pastor and took a tour of the church (with kids), Will and I met with the search committee and leadership of the church (without kids), we went out to many lunches and dinners with the pastor and his family along with other leaders and their families, and we squeezed in a visit to an Air Force museum along the way. We were able to walk through a former Air Force One, which was really cool. Will was responsible for working with the kids during their Sunday school time and had numerous observers, and was also videotaped so the pastor could review it later!
Overall, we felt good about our long weekend. The people were very friendly, and many of those in leadership said outright that they felt he was the right fit for the position. I liked that the two of the families in leadership were homeschoolers, as that provided an instant feeling of camaraderie and common ground. As much as we did like the pastor and his family, I do remember wishing we had had a bit more time to process rather than feeling so very scheduled. The pastor even drove around with us to show us the area and discuss possible houses- we got to know him better but I remember thinking, I just need time to think! We drove home with the kids feeling like the position was a very strong possibility.
A few days later, and after an accidental email that wasn’t meant for Will but somehow got sent to him indicating one person’s pros and cons of each candidate (!), we got the call from the pastor that they had decided to go with the other candidate. That was a tough call and we were rather stunned. We had been aware that it may not be where God would have us, but it sure felt like it based on our time there. After the initial shock wore off, we came back to the truth that God would put us where He wanted us. I couldn’t help but wonder when that would be.