Let me begin by saying that I’ve wanted to publish this post for the past two months but have been unable to in my desire to communicate this announcement to friends, family, and co-workers first. Just sitting down to write feels like taking a deep breath.
Well, I won’t keep you guessing…my big announcement is…I’m moving!
It’s been almost exactly two years since I packed up everything I owned (which was not much, let’s be honest) and moved from my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland to Austin, Texas in the summer of 2013, just after I graduated from college in North Carolina.
Living in Austin has been the adventure of my life, literally. When I moved to Austin I had a long-term boyfriend and a promising job but lost both within months. I then embarked on a holy journey of self-discovery as I accepted a job for which I was highly under-qualified, got a puppy that I didn’t know how to raise, and began to date my almost-husband.
In Austin, I found myself, came alive to who I am, and decided who I want to be.
This city will forever represent freedom, and breath, and laughter, and most of all–people with big hearts and kind spirits and experiencing Jesus’ faithfulness in a way that I never knew existed. There’s a halo over the entirety of this city, not because of the delicious food trucks, and gorgeous lakes, and sweet sunshine (though I love those things), but because the people who I’ve met while living here are some of the most precious friends, truest confidants, and most miraculous soul-healers I’ve known.
Though there will be things that I’ll miss, I’m not sad about moving away from Austin. I, however, am deeply mourning the loss (or see-you-laters) of the people here in Austin who make this place home to me.
It’s calling Kenny and Chris when I got in a terrible car accident and wanted to crumble and cry, but was instead met with hugs and laughter. It’s opening my door to Camille, Rachel, and Shelby every week to laugh and bear the deepest parts of my soul in a trusted community. It’s sitting in the car with Katie, talking until the sky goes black about our fears and excitement for our upcoming marriages. It’s hugging Sulinda on Sunday morning when chaos is ensuing and cracking jokes about all that’s going on in preschool. It’s praying with Calla over coffee when I’m overwhelmed and being met with a gentle, “God’s got you.” It’s getting to know Monica or Jodi or Amanda over lunch, pressing on as we walk with Jesus despite life’s challenges. It’s grabbing a cup of tea and heading to Kyle’s house for small group on Monday nights even when life gets busy, because community is critical. It’s Facebook chatting with Sonja until midnight about life and work and engagement shoots. It’s sitting on the floor of a classroom in the Kid’s Building at church with Amy, unraveling our latest messes and deciding to choose healing and redemption when defeat would be easier. It’s time spent giggling for hours with Erin and her family, the mark of an unexpected but beautiful friendship.
And so, it’s not the city that I’ll really miss. It’s my Austin family who I’ll miss, this gorgeous compilation of people that God decided to gift me, though I am completely undeserving. It’s these wildly beating hearts, these beautiful souls, these creative minds, these passionate Jesus followers, whose openness has transformed me. It’s dozens of people who vividly reflect different pieces of Christ’s unrelenting, extraordinary, out-of-the-box, authentic, joyous, huge, and real love for His kids.
I praise God daily that I don’t have to fake it with “my people.” Lately, tears have rolled down my cheeks more frequently than I’d like to admit. I’m genuinely mourning the physical distance that moving will mean for these amazing relationships.
The hard, sweet part of this move, however, is that amidst my sadness is deep-rooted joy and anticipation.
I’m moving in response to my most significant answered prayer to date: I’m getting married to a wonderful, God-fearing, kind, strong, and hilarious man! You see, Riley and I have lived about three and a half hours apart throughout our entire courtship (which has been about a year), and marriage means starting our forever in the same place. Finally! I am so excited for that–for laughter over coffee in the morning, and long walks with Charley Bear, and going grocery shopping together, and sleeping in on Saturdays, and even disagreements and long, long, long “discussions.” Because we will be married, living together, and walking through life together! What a blessing.
Let me give you some context to me moving: after Riley and I got engaged, we immediately began to pray for God’s guidance–we didn’t know whether He wanted us to begin our married life in Austin, where I live, or in Denton, where Riley lives. It soon became abundantly clear that God was calling us to Denton, which, to be honest, was shocking to both of us. We were so convinced that we would start our marriage in Austin!
But doors and opportunities in Austin started slamming shut just as similar doors and opportunities in Denton were flinging wide open. Even though we were both confused, we unanimously decided that walking in obedience to God’s will is always, always, always more important than clarity. After all, what is faith without trust in action?
I have said many times that I will follow Christ wherever He calls me. And here is my faith, my own words, staring at me right in the eyes saying, “Will you really?” My soul bubbles with fear of the unknown, but I’m choosing to look right back and say, “Yes, I will.” I’m not looking for easy, I’m looking for authentic, unshakeable faith. I’m looking for a life that makes other people say, “God has a plan for her life, and she knows it.” I want adventure with Jesus–because He doesn’t do small and boring…He does great-big-huge and unbelievable.
We’ve found a place to live and have watched in amazement as the Lord has revealed His plan for our married life little by little. (With quite a bit still unknown to us!) So, I sit here with a huge pile of tear-filled tissues to the right of my laptop, a heart beating with anticipation, and a soul that’s a little bruised for being asked by God to walk away from such a loving and real community.
Living in the tension of extreme joy and difficult mourning, I will embrace the last few weeks in Austin and embrace my future as a wife in Denton. Here’s to God and His unending faithfulness, because one day soon, I’ll write a blog post from Denton saying how deeply thankful I am to have moved.
Stay tuned for my next post–what I’ll be doing when I move to Denton!