For some time, we had been considering a move. I had no place in mind specifically, but I felt a calling to Tennessee. I thought this was because of the experience I had living in Bristol, TN. from 2003-2006. After Jacqui and I got married, we lived there during my three years of medical residency. Despite the busy schedule of a resident physician, I enjoyed those three years. Still, I felt there had to be something else. I just couldn't put a finger on it nor could I could verbalize why to other people.
I felt called to the Nashville area. In the past, I would say it was because of country music, but I was no longer a big fan (at least not the new stuff). But for some unknown reason, I felt drawn to there.
Here is the next part. Blogging was something I had been considering for several months. I wanted to start a blog to share my story of TBI with other people. While reading Do Over by Jon Acuff, I was encouraged to reach out to someone who was farther along the journey I was considering embarking on. I knew absolutely nothing about it, so on a whim, I reached out to popular blogger (and now friend!) Jarrid Wilson. Jarrid and his family live in the Nashville area. Even though he didn't know me from Adam, Jarrid was extremely helpful in the preparation and launch of my blog. But still, I knew that most of his help could be done via phone, text, and email, and a move wasn't absolutely necessary.
Jacqui and I sought the input of our Pastor Tim Hester regarding a move to Franklin. He suggested we come down and spend a couple of weeks not only vacationing, but "living" there to see how we fit. We could see how our kids liked it and get an idea of what it would look like being residents of Franklin. It was during this visit that things started to make sense, and I began to see why God was so persistent in calling me/us to Franklin.
Going back in time a little bit, when I was no longer able to practice medicine, I started to envision myself helping with a non-profit organization. I knew working a regular 9-5 job would be difficult for me because of the ups and downs, the good and bad days of living with a brain injury. I hoped to find one I had a passion for and one where I could use my remaining skills and knowledge as a doctor. And it would be an added bonus if Jacqui could help as well.
As we were preparing for our trip, Jarrid started talking to me over the phone about his new nonprofit Anthem of Hope, the purpose of which is defined as "a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping those battling depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide and addiction find hope through community and support."
While in Franklin, Jarrid talked to Jacqui and I in more detail about his vision for Anthem of Hope. We were both excited about his vision for and our potential role in helping with this organization. I could use both my medical knowledge and my personal experience with anxiety and depression. Jacqui could use her God-given skills in organization and planning to help things run smoothly and efficiently. And each of us saw the desperate need to erase the stigma of mental health problems in the church. Although our roles are still not completely clear, we are excited to see how we can both play a part in Anthem of Hope.
So before coming down to Tennessee for our "vacation," I was fairly certain I wanted to move there. But still unsure why God was calling me to move my family from their home, or how to explain this to friends and family. But after hearing the vision of Anthem of Hope and seeing the roles we could play within it, this became apparent and I was able to explain it.
We serve a God who works in wonderful and mysterious ways. I know God has been preparing us for this and it is both exciting and scary to see things as they come together.
The reason for my desire to move my family to Tennessee, which had been unknown and fuzzy for so long, had become known and much clearer. And we have chosen to act on that vision!