2017 is coming to a close and I'm honestly like WTH just happened. WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
We started the year with a new calling growing in our hearts. We felt like God was drawing us into the city, into an underserved neighborhood, and out of our comfort zones. But it didn't feel like the right time yet. So we sat and we prayed and we waited. I was slowly coming out of the fog that anxiety and depression had trapped me under and I was ready to step back into ministry. Things didn't happen that way.
Through a series of unfortunate conversations, we decided to leave the church that Zach was youth pastoring in. We didn't know what we were going to do or where we were going to go, but we had to go. So we went. We said confusing goodbyes to our community, our church family, our home (it belonged to the church), and went in full faith that God was in it and he was going to direct our steps. We felt confident that we would quickly find exactly what God had for us. And we did, but it didn't look like what we thought it would.
We spent our summer living in New York City in my parent's tiny South Bronx apartment. It was ... not easy. We were cramped in a tiny bedroom with our only source of income being my Young Living business that was quickly taking off and growing at a rapid rate. It was an incredible blessing, but one that I struggled to understand and appreciate. Getting to New York City (after spending a month in Georgia with my family) set Zach and I on an emotional downward spiral that was difficult to climb out of. In NYC, we began to finally accept all that we had lost. We were sad and angry and confused. We were emotionally and mentally spent. We lived on pennies and took turns being ticked off and depressed. It wasn't all bad. We had some good times and made some fond memories, but it was difficult. But it was also so good.
God shows UP when it's dark. It might be hard to see him in the moment, but when you look back, and try to figure out how in the heck you made it out alive, you can see his light bursting through every dark crevice of your soul. You see where his hand was holding yours, guiding your steps when you thought you were all on your own. You see his faithful provision and relentless pursuit. And when you see it, recognize it, acknowledge what it was, that's when you can hear him say, "It's finished. It's done. Here's your victory."
He is our victory and we are walking in it. It doesn't look like I thought it would, but its beautiful. We are settled in our new home. It's not a brand new colonial built with us in mind, but it's the coziest and warmest place we've ever called home. It's in the exact neighborhood we wrote down on a piece of craft paper a year ago when we felt God drawing us to something different. We can't let the kids play outside by themselves anymore, but they're surrounded by kids their age on all sides and are quickly becoming kids in the hood. We don't fall asleep to the sound of crickets anymore and are occasionally jolted awake by nearby gunshots, but we feel safer and more secure than we ever have. We don't have granite countertops and hardwood floors, but what we have we love and are so, so, thankful.
Every single thing we have is a gift. Whether it's an expensive home worked into a salary package or a two family that we rent from a family member. Whether it's a full time, packaged salary at a church, or working for a non profit and running an essential oils business. It's all a gift. We are not entitled to privilege or wealth or security. All that we have is a gift and all that we do not have is not ours in the first place.
This year has completely changed our perspective on what it means to be a follower of Christ, to be in community with other believers, and to be in ministry. We have never been more sure of who we are and what we're called to do. We have never been more confident that we are exactly where we are supposed to be and doing what we are supposed to be doing. And while it would be easy to look back and point fingers and be angry at the choices that were made to bring us here, we're not there anymore. Every situation, person, and circumstance that led to us being where we are right now, was just a pawn in God's sovereign plan to get us to where we needed to go and to be who we need to be. I'm thankful for every word spoken and every twist and turn. My skin is thick, my calling is sure, and my heart is full of nothing but gratitude and love. It was a painful process to get here, but here I am.
Transition is a you know what. It's painful and draining. You feel like you can't think, can't breathe, can't move. You feel like you'll be stuck in survival mode forever, but the process reveals who you are. I hated the process, but I love what it's revealed in my husband and me. And I'm excited for next year ... and all the years to come.