“Home is where the heart is” has never been more relevant to my life. If home is where the heart is, then my heart is in a million tiny pieces sprinkled all over the country. It’s in the mountains of Colorado and the rolling hills of Georgia and on the beaches of Florida and the piney woods of Tennessee and in the sunsets of southern Texas. But the biggest piece of my heart is in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This is my fifth move. I attended three separate middle schools in two different states. I know change, I know discomfort and loneliness. I know that finding a church home is always, always, always the worst part about any move. I know that making new friends in a new city is hard and requires you to fight for it. Moving is hard.
For well over three years I was determined to live in Texas. I just knew I would end up there. I told everyone about my big, Texas-sized dream. When you’re in college, people are constantly asking you what your plans are. Texas was always my answer. I knew my future held a job (and if I’m being really honest-- a husband, a family, and a golden retriever, duh). All in Texas.
I live in Tennessee now.
I have been here for over two weeks and I’ve only cried once so far. I think I’m doing pretty good.
Last night I was sitting in the back seat of my friend’s car and watching houses blur by. These houses have stories. And as I think about those stories, He reminds me that He’s writing mine. He doesn't put the pen down.
This started over a year ago, when a dear friend of mine half jokingly told me to move to Nashville. There was no room in my Texas sized heart for that absurd idea. Then I started hearing Nashville mentioned everywhere. On the Internet, on television. Out of mere curiosity, I did a bit of research on the city and ended up meeting her here for a long weekend. That was the weekend I realized I had never once prayed about moving to Texas. Not once had I consulted the Lord in my desire to become a Texan. Not even a little bit. That was the weekend I knew I wouldn’t move to Texas.
And that same weekend was when he nudged my heart in the direction of Music City.
The past few weeks have been filled with highs and lows. There have been moments of goodness. Of seeing Him weave it together and take my doubts, stumbles, and ungratefulness and fill it with an overflow of grace. There have been moments of absolute confusion. As to where I go from here. What’s next. But really— what’s next?? There have been answered prayers. I grumpily sat in an employment agency only to be offered the first job I interviewed for— and now love. He has made it work. I knew He would. And hindsight is 20/20, isn’t it?
When we look back, His fingerprints are easy to spot. In the middle of the unknown, not so much. It reminds me of a story I once heard about Mother Teresa. Someone had come to her with questions about a decision they had to make. They requested that she pray clarity for them. Her reply? “I won’t pray that you have more clarity. But I will pray that you have more trust in God.” Oh man. The longer and the tighter that we hold only makes it harder to let go. When we hold loosely to plans, expectations, desires… we see that He’s working behind the scenes to do something we might never have dared dream.
And yesterday, as I sat in the living room with my dear friend, I remembered. The times He has blown me away with His graciousness. His kindness. We are no longer captives of fear, but He makes us prisoners of hope. And hope, true hope, trusts. We must trust Him. It is so hard. Especially as I sit here laughing about the fact that I packed up my life and moved nine hours away from home. Away from my family and friends. From my church home and people who have poured encouragement and Biblical wisdom into me. Away from my favorite local spots and new friends and that guy I was crushing on. Leaving is so hard. But leaving is a lot easier when you know Who is holding you.
A few years ago I read the story of Mary and Martha for what was probably the millionth time in my life, but it finally stuck. Since then I’ve been hell bent on choosing the good portion. Choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet. Every time. It’s hard. I fail a lot more than I would ever care to admit. I get distracted and whiny and tired and human. But still I persist. Choose the good portion. Choosing the good portion is decidedly choosing Jesus over other things. It’s a fight. Sometimes I have to scratch and claw my way to it, but choosing Him is always worth it. And when we sit at His feet, we get to watch him take care of things. There’s a lot of peace and rest that comes with watching the Breather of Stars take care of you.
Back to Mother T. Sometimes things are clear. Something happens, and you know why. Other times things are muddy and messy and you don’t know why or how or when things will play out. The unknown is a fear of mine. It follows me around and is heavy like a ball and chain. I drag it everywhere. To work, to parties, to Church, to God. Especially to Him. Because I know that He does know. He has every answer I’ve ever longed or begged for. He’s got it. Ultimately, He himself is the answer. He holds the whole world in his hands and nothing falls through the cracks. That’s reassuring. But still my heart wrings with worry and doubt and fears. The fears swirl, but when I remember Whose I am, it slows. Time stops and all is right and I remember. There’s that word again. It’s permanently inked on my body, remember. Remember. One of the last things He did was stop and remember. Surrounded by friends and family, all the while knowing of his approaching death, he took time and space to give thanks.
Remember might be tattooed onto my arm, but forget is the word that more accurately describes what I do. I forget that He holds me. I forget that the One who spoke the stars into being is also the author of my story. That I get the pleasure of being a part of His story. He didn’t have to create each of us, you know. Sometimes I think about that. He didn’t have to allow me to exist. It could’ve been another soul. But he wanted mine. That is magic and wonder and awe and speechlessness. That is who He is. Oh, He is good. He is ever present in the moments my mind frets over the future. He hands over the fresh manna while I’m out gathering more rotten bread. He provides, He oversees, He cares, and He keeps. He keeps close while I’m out roaming around like a blind and helpless lamb. The fact that He carries his children close to His chest like a shepherd holds his sheep is astounding to me. The Star Breather holds me close, like a shepherd holds a sheep. All He wants is to know us. Now I see why she told that man she wouldn't pray for clarity, but for trust. I think we could all do with a bit more, don't you?