At the start of this month I moved back to Nashville, TN.
It’s been a long time coming but with this transition a leader at my church encouraged me to start writing again.
I wanted to begin by telling you how the move happened. Then I have a few stories of what its been like to find my feet here these last 3 weeks.
Keep reading below. Much love,
Moving to Nashville
Since leaving in 2016 I felt the promise of a second chapter. But for the past few years England was where I wanted to be.
Over the summer my brother, Chris, was telling me about his plans to go back and do Year 2 of a ministry school there. As we spoke, I became aware some part of me was… jealous.
This was regrettable. Who of us with siblings ever wants to be jealous of them!?
So I resisted entertaining the idea.
I felt God say, “just talk about it.”
So, after 3 days, I took a breath, leaned in to my internal resistance, and had a conversation with Chris.
Afterwards I felt God ask, “what’s it going to cost?”
I had a lot of reasons to stay. Nephews, business opportunities, ministry opportunities… I’d even just been accepted for a role helping promote Karis Kids.
(We help give Ugandan kids and orphans a future by linking UK families with families living in the slums and providing healthcare, education, job training, basics, and much more. It’s awesome.)
But I had a few reasons why I might go too. My business was in a good position for it. The 2-day a week, 8-month ministry school’s curriculum sounded right up my street. I’d have family there with me. Existing friends and community in abundance. Plus, that promise of chapter two… it felt like now or never.
Each time I spoke to God, I felt him say, “What do you want?” Without a hint of leading in either direction.
I needed to make a choice.
One morning, as I stood in the shower, the decision settled in my heart… I wanted a change. It was worth the risk weighed against the regret of not trying.
So, with a dash of apprehension, I started to tell my clients, my friends and family, my church leaders, and myself this was what I was going to do. Mostly, I was telling myself.
I booked flights, got visas, let out my house, moved out, and went to… Uganda.
Oh, yes, a day before leaving for Nashville, I took a full-on, week-long ministry trip to Uganda. (Stories for another time.)
THEN, with 1 day between trips, I packed my life into bags and moved to Nashville.
So, 3 weeks in, I’d love to tell you how it’s going.
Finding home and car
The day before flying, my brother arranged for us to stay with friends for 2 nights. We also had a 2.5 day car rental upon arrival… so a brief window in which to find both house and car, if possible.
Moving abroad when you have no where to live is not ideal. One could describe it as stressful. Charitably, I'd say I was motivated.
We messaged friends. Asked around. Searched online. Looked up local apartments. Everything we saw was
pushing our budget higher and higher, and
not so nice.
The more we searched, the more expectations diminished.
It’s expensive to fully-furnish an empty house when you leave 8 months later. Any available place charged an extra $50 for a month-to-month lease (instead the standard year-long lease)… because.
So, living from bags. Stressed. Terrible options. And a ticking clock on staying with friends and car rental.
On day 3, we check out at a car owned by our friend's parents. They have an all-black Lexus RX350 all-wheel drive SUV, which they offer to us at trade-in price. Which, by the way, is a minimum of $2,000 UNDER market value.
We gladly took it off their hands and didn’t look back.
On the same day, Chris comes across an old post on an online community group offering a single room. He follows it up. Turns out it’s two rooms now. At the time, I’m on the phone chasing other leads. Chris interrupts to say, “Hey Will, I just found the place.” Sure, Chris. He then tells me the absurdly low price. I turn aside for 2 seconds, dismissively responding, “Oh Chris, that’s a scam. It’s not real.” Bless.
Turns out, it was quite real. This lovely couple from church, Jonathan & Michelle, were offering the upstairs of their home for under HALF of what we budgeted. Close to school and church. Nearby to friends and town. Both rooms come with beds. We went over to check it out.
They explained we could move in right away. Use the place as our own. They travel for business, so half the time we’d have the whole place to ourselves anyway. Just feed the cat and dog and we’re good to go.
We gladly took them up on their offer.
Both car and house sorted out on the same day, for prices I don’t understand.
Somewhere in the background of my mind, I believed I shouldn’t expect God to make things magically fall into place. It was my decision to move here, not God’s initiative, so I should expect to do the work, put in the time, and be ready to own the consequences — especially if it wasn’t easy.
Well, whatever the case may be, I am entirely convinced God has covered everything in grace. He’s made the path straight, lined everything up, I’m just walking into it. This is God’s hand at work.
If that wasn’t enough…
I’ve got 3 short stories to prove my case.
Our rooms came with beds and mattresses supplied. That was a relief. But then Jonathan & Michelle say, “oh we’re stopping by IKEA on the way back from a business trip… what do you need for your rooms?”
So I put together a list for both our rooms. Bin. Desk lamp. Laundry basket. Bedside table. Desk. Floor Lamp. etc.
I trend towards listing budget options, but in a few cases I chose higher-cost, higher-quality items. But, right before sending the email, I removed them, because, hey, that’s not my money I’m spending.
Upon arrival back home they say, “Oh yeah, we went for a few items we thought were a bit nicer than the ones you picked, I hope you don’t mind.” They picked the exact items I’d removed from my email.
You might know I’m a little nerdy when it comes to coffee.
During the first week of school, I was driving in with Chris. Two minutes before I’d told him how I’d love a coffee today but bought one the day before, so wasn’t doing the 30 minute-roundtrip to get a good one.
Yes, this is what it’s like to be around me.
So we pull up at school. 2 seconds later, a friend pulls up beside us with a single-origin coffee for me from my favourite coffee shop in Nashville.
The next week, a different friend at school offers me the last of their Ethiopian coffee beans from my favourite coffee shop in the world. Which is all the way from Oslo in Norway.
What in the world is going on?!
Last story… in the lead up to coming here I really wanted to bring over my electric guitar and effects pedals. But when you pack up your entire life, you hit the weight limit pretty quick.
To get my guitar there and back again, excluding pedalboard, would have cost a minimum of £125.
Disappointing. So I didn’t do it. Then, at a Monday night service, my friend Michaela, unprompted, asks me if I’ve brought my guitar over with me. I say no. She says, “Oh would you like to borrow mine? It’s an American Telecaster” — the exact guitar I play. “You can borrow my effects pedalboard too.”
I’m honestly astonished at how good things are. I’m having trouble mentally processing it all.
I am so aware of God’s kind hand in all of this and I haven’t even touched upon my experiences at school.
I’ll cover that next time.