letting go of a dream

I want to share the story of my sister-in-law, Janel. She has been married to my brother for almost 16 years and is the most wonderful sister-in-law anyone could ask for! In fact, we call each other “sisters” as neither of us grew up with a sister but feel like we are sisters now! She grew up in Oklahoma and my family grew up in Kansas. We both came from families who were extremely close and did lots of things together. When Janel married my brother, they moved to Maryland for 6 years where my brother was a youth pastor. It was hard to have them so far away. My first nephew was born there but we always knew they would be closer someday. They moved back to KS for just under 2 years while my brother worked on a farm. It was so wonderful to have them close! We lived just 15 minutes away from each other and loved being able to spend so much time together! Then my brother decided he wanted to go to seminary in Princeton, NJ–but it was just going to be for 22 months…22 short months and then it would be back to the midwest to be close to family! Well, the masters that he was going to get in 22 months turned into getting his MDiv which took 3 years, which then turned in to getting his PhD which took a total of 7 years. Then the end of those 7 years was in sight! They could finally make a move closer to family again! After many months of discerning and wrestling and questioning, they followed God’s guiding and accepted a job in Princeton, NJ where my brother was hired by the seminary. It was amazing to watch Janel process this as she gave up her dream of being close to family. What started out as 22 months away has turned into an indefinite amount of time away, with their now 3 children. To watch Janel wrestle and struggle and in the end come out with such peace about staying on the east coast has been inspiring. I long for them to be close. I wish it was possible but it is evident that they are following God’s desires for their lives and that has them still living 22 hours away from family. Janel may not feel like she’s doing anything big or spectacular but she is! She has given up a huge piece of her heart to follow God’s call on their lives and I will forever admire her for that.