Well, it’s no secret that I’ve been not so consistent with blogging and social media as of late! I’ve continued to hint at life being ‘busy’ (for lack of a better term) lately, and I’ve also hinted in this post that after a long season of waiting in prayer, my husband Sam and I were beginning to have clarity on making some big life changes. Well, even since that post… plans have shifted, changed, changed again… and today I’m finally sharing what’s up!
First, let me give you back story. I’ll try to keep it from being lengthy (coming from this chatter box, ha!), but I think it gives a lot more insight as to why this new season means so much to us!
For those of y’all that don’t know our story, let me share and summarize. Sam and I met during a season of life where both of us were in no way searching for a spouse. I was ready to move to Dallas, Texas and Sam was ready to begin his career in accounting in Portland, Oregon. Funny how God works, huh? So, instead we fell in love and got married. And I wish I could just be cliché and say “and the rest is history”, but that’s actually not the case.
From the moment we met in the spring of 2014, we speed dated and from a distance. Getting to know each other in that capacity was truly a whirlwind and before we knew it, Sam transferred to his firm’s San Francisco office end of summer/early fall. We were eager to begin a new season where dating would look a little bit more “normal” and we could finally spend time together in the same city. However, that fall we received devastating news about one of my dear friends, who was also Sam’s brother, Tim. Timo’s cancer was back for good.
That fall was utterly challenging. I had started a new job with tough hours and a 1-2 hour one-way commute. My boyfriend had also started a new stressful job and our false idea of a “normal dating relationship” was long gone. Instead, most of our time together was spent with consistent hospital visits and painful tears. Simultaneously, my Dad’s health began to rapidly decline. So by this point, I wasn’t just a girlfriend. Sam wasn’t just a boyfriend. We were experiencing painful life moments together with barely have even dated and took on roles that would be hard for even a married couple of years. So after that fall, marriage seemed to be the obvious next step.
Engagement was rough. I planned our wedding and lived with my parents. Sam was in busy season of accounting, which basically means, “see you end of April”. Tim and my Dad’s health was not improving. And then – summer! Bridal showers, bachelorette, dress fittings, vendor meetings… still not much dating and genuine time together as a couple. Absolute joyful moments, yet still mixed with even more hospital visits, doctor updates, and tears.
August 8th 2015, we were married. Honeymoon. 2 weeks later, we said our earthly goodbye to our beloved Timo. We honored his life with 2 services in 2 different states that fall. We clung to our sister-in-law as we were suddenly 3 instead of 4. The holidays came quick. It felt impossible that Tim wasn’t a part of them.
January 2016. Hello again, accounting busy season. Didn’t miss you. I was a new wifey, but the first few months of it had been a tragic blur. I rarely saw Sam until spring, when we had decided to take a fun vacation together to the great state of Texas and begin to dream up plans to move! Because we were ready for our new chapter! A fresh start! A season that felt like we were actually married and dating!
Insert another game-changer. When we landed in DFW, Sam found out he had been recruited for an interview with Stanford University to work for their endowment. AKA dream opportunity for my Venture Capital loving nerd (that I love so much) of a husband. We quite literally got off the plane and headed to the closest Nordstrom Rack, got him a new suit, had it measured for alterations and scheduled it for pick up before our flight back so he could interview days after we returned home. Yet, while we were in Texas we fell in love with the state. And didn’t quite understand the timing of this all.
Sam was offered the job and started last summer 2016. It’s been an incredible opportunity and I couldn’t be more proud of him. But my goodness, I have struggled as a wife through this season. When he took the job, making the move to the Peninsula /Silicon Valley of the SF Bay Area wasn’t logical for us. So, my hard-working and extremely disciplined husband has commuted nearly 2.5 hours round trip every single day for the past year. He’s left the house at 5:30 am while I’m still asleep, and returned home at about 8:30/9 pm. We’ve rarely shared a meal together on a weeknight, and we haven’t done much catching up with each other until the weekend. But we were determined to make it work. For financial reasons, for practical reasons, for trying to plan out timelines in this whole ‘grand plan’ of our life together. I really could go on and on about this past year, but I’ll spare us all since it would likely come across as complaining. But if I could summarize it in one word? Exhausting.
I’m a control freak. I know it, and God certainly knows it. The last 3 years of my life have felt like the most out of control they’ve ever felt for me personally. I’ve had to really learn what surrendering control to God looks like in this life, and it has been an incredibly painful growth spurt. For us individually and as a couple. I don’t believe that any marriage is easy, and it certainly takes work from your first year to your last! But gosh, we have really struggled. And I believe it’s okay to admit that. And it’s even more okay to admit that we have prayed and prayed and prayed throughout these past 3 years as to what God wants for us. Prayers for strength to handle death and heartache. For patience for how to figure out how to love each other through sacrifice and compromise. For willingness to surrender the ship to our Savior.
I’ve felt The Lord near and dear to me in these prayers, but I’ve also felt extremely alone and isolated. I’ve allowed Christ into my heart for comfort and I’ve still allowed Satan in for discouragement. I’ve fought God on why Tim had to die, and why life had to go this way. I’ve praised God for the incredible blessing of a kidney donor for my Daddy and the gift of his life being extended. I’ve cried out in despair when all these hard things were happening and yet I was still arguing with my husband about some trivial thing around the house. I was incredibly frustrated that our marriage and entire relationship was evolving the way it was, and yet I had blinders on to see any way out of the situation. We continued to pray for doors to open and for that ‘new chapter’. I believed it would come, but still had a really hard time picturing what it would look like if it didn’t look like what I had planned it to be.
A few months ago, something inside both of us began to shift. I don’t even remember a specific conversation, as there were so many, but in tears I think we finally both just said, “It’s time for change”. It was a huge release of the reigns for us both. So, we began to be proactive in searching about what a move to the Peninsula involved. Well, let me just say this: most of the world we live in today is run out of Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. So unless you’re creating the next Facebook, good luck finding housing. So, I quickly gave up. But God didn’t!
We went back and forth and back again on new housing options within the SF Bay Area. The entire Bay is one of the most defeating housing markets in the nation currently, so it was a stressful process to say the least. And just when we thought we had finally found a spot, a completely different spot popped right up into our laps. And guess what?! Without even really realizing it, it’s exactly what we prayed for.
You know how we went on a trip to Nashville recently? Well, we really have a thing for receiving news while on planes. We landed in Tennessee to news that we “got” (We are renting, not buying! We don’t own the next Facebook 😉 ) a little house in Menlo Park, CA. With a dishwasher! And a washer and dryer! And a backyard!!!! These are quite literally things I’ve dreamed of having for myself since I moved out of my parents house for college. So we came home from an amazing Nashville trip, packed up our life and moved in 2 weeks time. I’m currently writing this from my OFFICE which I can’t even believe that I’m typing away in, instead of a small dark corner of my bedroom. WHAT IS HAPPENING!!!
I realize that this is A LOT to share. I realize that I probably could have just said, “We’re moving closer to Sam’s work! Yay!” and that would have been good enough. But y’all, this move is so much more to us than that. This move is the result of countless prayers through really tough seasons. It’s the evidence of God’s grace, provision, and plan for our lives. It’s the reminder that our Lord is always the one in control, always knows what the plan is, and always knows better than we ever will.
As we’ve shared this news with close family and friends, we’ve encountered the question, “So, what about Texas? Or is it Nashville now??” I love this question because let’s face it: I still love the South. I feel at home there! And so does Sam. But let’s (again) recap what we’ve learned over the last 3 years: we have no control over the plan. And I think for the first time in a long time, this control freak is starting to kinda sorta maybe a little bit be okay with it.
God has answered our prayers to grow our marriage and for a new chapter. He has provided us an opportunity to do that in a place I never anticipated, yet… I’m so excited about it! I’m so excited to wake up and say good morning to my husband at a reasonable hour! To have breakfast together and eat dinner together on a weekday/night! I’m anxiously excited about being in a totally new city and exploring it together! I so look forward to finding a new church home and community. I can’t even wait to spend time in our new backyard and BBQ, entertain, feel the sunshine, have an umbrella?!?! The thought of all of these things still feels so surreal!
This past Sunday, when the movers were done unloading our furniture and Sam and I sat in our new living room surrounded by boxes, I just burst into tears. But they weren’t sad tears. And they weren’t totally happy tears either. They were tears of gratitude. It just hit me that God had known about this new little house and chapter for us all along. He had prepared this space for us, because He loves us. And right then and there we prayed for Him to bless this new little home of ours, to bless this new chapter that He has given us, and for us to continue to trust and follow Him in whatever is to come in this place.
Emily Ley, one of my favorite female entrepreneurs, shared this post over the weekend and I just loved it! I loved how her friend, after such a season of waiting said, “Sometimes your Plan B turns out to be God’s Plan A all along.” Straight shot to the heart, is right!
I am so incredibly thankful for God’s Plan A. Different than I anticipated, yet absolutely perfect. More tears of gratitude have streamed down my cheeks writing this, and I’m so grateful to have a little space here on the internet to share it! I have truly felt the prayers from not only our friends and family in this season, but from y’all as readers as well. So to be able to share this news here today is such a gift!
From the bottom our Sam and I’s hearts, THANK YOU for following along with us and our story. We truly love y’all so very much!
So, it’s time for this girl to start unpacking boxes of ginger gars (the above photo was only a portion of the collection – I have a sickness), get to nesting, and being married! I can’t wait to share more pictures of our new little home and as I decorate it to make it ours, so look forward to that coming here soon!
With so much love,
The newest residents of Menlo Park – The Campbells