beginnings: Melissa Baer

Risk involves stepping into the unknown in faith that life will bring you what you need. It’s a process of discovery, of revision, of growth. Here, Melissa Baer shares what she is excited and apprehensive about as she begins the new adventure of moving from Jackson, Missouri, to Nashville, Tennessee. 

Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer

When Melissa Baer and her husband, Jeff, graduated from Murray State University in Kentucky, they declined a Nashville, Tennessee, job offer to return to Southeast Missouri so they would be able to raise their children in a small, tight-knit community close to family and friends. Melissa says that although they have never regretted this decision, they have often wondered how their lives would have differed had they chosen to relocate to Nashville. Now, years later, they have been provided with a second chance to live in Nashville, and they are seizing the opportunity.

Melissa says she and her family are making the move due to a wonderful career opportunity for her husband, as well as the educational options and rich cultural experiences it will provide for their three daughters. 

“Our family has unique challenges,” Melissa says. “Our middle daughter, Ashlyn, was born with a genetic disorder known as Williams syndrome. As she approaches her high school graduation, we must decide how best to transition her into adulthood. Nashville has several universities that offer programs for students with intellectual disabilities, providing the incredible opportunity for Ashlyn to participate in the college experience like her peers, gain independent living skills, continue academic learning and work job internships that will hopefully lead to meaningful employment. Nashville is a thriving city that will offer wonderful opportunities for our entire family.”

Melissa says she and her family are looking forward to the outdoor activities, rich history, southern charm, great food and thriving music scene that Nashville and Middle Tennessee offer. They are most apprehensive about their daughters transitioning to Nashville, since it can be stressful to start a new school and make new friends during the teenage years, and especially during a pandemic.

Still, she is optimistic.

“There are so many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to relocate your entire family and start a new life. The main lessons I am learning are to be patient, to rely on God’s timing and his plan, and to be flexible when needed,” Melissa says. “Our family has an adventurous spirit, and we are looking forward to experiencing a new chapter.”  

Melissa’s wisdom about transition: “Carefully consider any risk or life change. Make your pros and cons list. However, once you make your decision, don’t second guess yourself. Pray more and worry less. Go forward boldly and enjoy the journey. There will most likely be hiccups along the way, but that is to be expected. Be patient with yourself and others during the change. Be bold and adventurous, and have fun!”