2014 (in review)

(I didn’t blog nearly as much as I want to in 2014. I’m going to work on posting more frequently. Here’s to a year on more decompressed thoughts.) 

Now, on to this post…

2014 was a wonderfully, beautiful challenging year. This was the first entire year we lived in California and it was fun and adventurous and complicated all at the same time.

I loved so much of this year. I loved watching Taylor love his work and grow as a philosopher and as a person that sleeps normal amounts. I loved exploring the West with Taylor. The wide open spaces and the new locales  made for fun vacation, weekends explorations and offer never ending amazement of the vast beauty of God’s creation (especially after this week’s snow!) I loved showing family around our new home and I look forward to even more visits (hint hint).

So much of this year was challenging. Work challenges and continues to bewilder me (but who can’t say this to some degree.) I’m still so immensely thankful to have a job to go to each day and I’m trying to work harder and faster in 2015.

I think the most challenging part of any move is meeting your people in a new city. Not just acquaintances but friends that are like your family. I miss this so much about my friends in Tallahassee, the friends that were my brothers and sisters,  that took care of us when we needed them and that we cared for so dearly could never be replaced, but building those kind of deep relationships hasn’t gone how I’d imagined it would. Nevertheless, I keep moving forward in prayer and hope that these beautifully messy relationships would form.

Through the challenges of 2014, I learned that I am so much stronger than I thought and I am strong because of Christ. I felt weak and afraid when we left Tallahassee and yet God carried me through the loneliness and depression and joblessness. He made a foreign place feel like home. He taught me that I am never alone and that there is no fear to be had in the plans he has for the future. (Now, if I could only remember this when anxiety comes!) He constantly showed me the rich blessings of marriage and in sharing all the good, bad and down right ugly moments of life’s changes with your best friend.

I’m hopeful for 2015 and for the beautiful changes and challenges it will bring. I’m looking forward to the new friendships that will form, the new adventures to be had and most of all a deeper understanding of the beauty of the gospel.

One Year a Californian

As of today, we’ve officially lived in California for an entire year. Crazy.

This year has been a great year. This year has been a hard year.

Taylor and I have done some amazingly fun things, seen some beautiful places and tasted delicious things. We’ve been fortunate to make some great friends and we were amazingly fortunate to find an awesome church instantly. (I mean not many people can move and not even church hop once. What a gift!)

We’ve both dealt with homesickness and there are still things I miss on a weekly basis and people I miss even more. I’ve worked through some trying circumstances and continue to do so.

There’s lots that I could say about this year but  when I look back through my Instagram and when I think about this year. This is what I’ve learned:

Patience

Learning patience is hard. Last year when I was applying for jobs and going to interview, my patience was tested. By the grace of God, I wasn’t even out of a job very long, but I’ve learned patience over and over in this season of moving, learning new places, sitting in traffic(!) and of course doctoral studies. 😉

          “The opposite of impatience is a deepening, sweetening willingness to stand in the place that God has  appointed or to move at the pace God has appointed. ” – John Piper

I read that quote recently and I found it very appropriate to my life this year. I’m simply learning to be in the place God has appointed. In this city, in this job and in this season I’m trusting that God knows the seasons to come and the time for it.

Security

I had no clue the security and value I placed on the comfort of my Tallahassee life. It was easy for me to be comfortable there in my freeway-less existence. I know where things are in Tallahassee and I know great people there. I can drive home any weekend if something were to arise or if I felt like it. But this comfortable easy existence isn’t what I’ve been called to. God is calling us to risk comfort for something else. Right now, that’s a degree that will hopefully lead to a job. I don’t know where that will lead. Could be closer to home but it could be in a foreign land.

What I have learned this year that will help me in the season ahead is that God isn’t calling me to a place that He is not. He is in all things. He is not leaving me alone. My life is secure in this not in the comfort of the sleepy Southern town that I love.

Thankfulness

Speaking about this year, I would be remiss to not mention my gratitude toward the people we’ve met. These people have invited us into their lives with such hospitality. God has provided for my loneliness is such a sweet way in our friends here.  I look forward to more foodie dinners,  game nights, football rivalries and much more in the upcoming year.

However, the person I am constantly the most thankful for is Taylor. My husband is seriously amazing. I knew that a year ago and I know that in an even more profound way a year lately. (I mean any person that is crazy enough to drive across the country with me is amazing and crazy.)  Taylor has taken care of my anxiety-riddled self when I couldn’t fight through it, prayed for me and loved me through some tough days. He has taken me on an adventure that I could not have imagined when we got married five years ago and I can only imagine what is ahead. Marriage is awesome.

On that note, show me what you got California 2.0. I’m ready.

Moving On

This has been a hard summer for me. I feel like I’ve wilted. I’ve let the world beat me down. I’ve let depression creep closer and fear and frustration weigh heavily.

No more. This is not the life I’ve been called to live. It’s not one of love or joy. I have not been given a spirit of fear. I don’t need to have this constant pit of anxiety about the future. My hope is secure. I am confident not in my own strength to get through the day, but in the strength of Christ to sustain me.

I still struggle. I face challenges that seem to break my spirit daily, but I have hope in a God that has not left me. He is with me in these plights and in Jesus I know He feels my pain. Yet, my struggles and challenges are soooo small compared to the daily challenges of many in the world. Instead of using my energy to fret about my life, I’m praying for others. Knowing that God is at work in all things and all things will be made new.

 

Thoughts on Mother’s Day

The past few years this day has been hard. Today is not different. I rejoice with other women and their celebrations of motherhood, but inside I’m crying for me.

Patience is challenging. Waiting is painful.

Somedays I can push all my desires to the background and continue to trudge forward through the work that is currently at hand, but Mother’s Day is the day when it’s simply pushed in my face. The work that I deeply desire has not yet come to pass. It’s tough to swallow some years.

You are not a mother – not this year – not to your own kids.

I rejoice knowing that one day the plan I cannot see will be seen. Whatever is waiting in the years ahead will be known to me and I rejoice that it has been planned for all eternity. I take comfort in that -knowing that I could never make a more perfect plan. I relish in these childless years and the way they are shaping me, teaching me and God willing making me the mom I’ll need to be.

California/ Florida

California is growing on me.

It’s perfect weather. The mountains. The sea. It’s beautiful. It’s endless places to explore and see. It’s people, nice and charming. (Unlike what some have told me – I have not had bad experiences with Californians, unless they’re driving. Crazy.)

California is tearing me a part.

I miss my friends in Tallahassee so much. I miss weekends with family. I miss the comfort of small town life. (I do not miss the humidity.)

Life will never be the same again. I will always been conflicted. In fact, it will likely keep growing as we move and change. I’ll be split between more places and more people.

What I do know is this: California has been a huge blessing to my family and for this I am eternally gratefully, even if by moving here I’ve been torn in two.

Where are you torn between?

Cultural Defeatism

I recently had a conversation about American culture with an acquaintance. It was an interesting  to listen to this person, with a different perspective that I, lament about the problems they see in American today.

As I listened, I couldn’t help but hear the overwhelming defeatist attitude. “That’s just the way our culture is going,” I heard over and over again. “Nothing we can do to change it.”

I refuse to have this mindset. I refuse to sit back and let the culture I love and the country I (mostly) love decay away. Now, I’m far from idealistic. (Some might even say I’m too pessimistic)  I think America can change. I I don’t think these changes will come overnight. I don’t think these changes will be easy. (Is any change easy)  If I’m honest, I might not even live to see these changes happen. The American culture may very well continue to decay on its path with no end in sight.

But, what I am optimistic about is that all things are being redeemed and will be redeemed in time. I might not see it now, but I can see glimpses of this truth everywhere and I have faith to know this is true.

I know I am not doing my part. I am not bold enough when I need to be. I can no longer sit idly by. I need to be effecting our culture in all of the ways I live my life. I need to think about what this looks like in my life and I need to pursue it voraciously.

I will not be defeated because Christ will not be defeated.

Tiny Apartment

Today, I  am thankful for my tiny apartment. It isn’t a McMansion (nor would I want it to be) or even a modest sized home. It’s a simple one bedroom apartment and while it’s smaller than my last apartment and more expensive to boot, it is a great home.

I’m thankful for its usual quietness. I’m thankful for the location and the amenities. I’m thankful for the ability to leverage every bit of space I have to help others and to be hospitable. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve already had to do this in the months I’ve lived here and I plan to orchestrate more opportunities in the coming months.

Sometimes, I can sense myself becoming jealous by those who have a whole home to themselves. I imagine all the good I could do with that space. However, I catch myself. Caught up in a lie that I need a larger space to do more. I do not. I need to be even bolder in leveraging what I’ve been given. I need to be even more thankful –  realizing that so many in the world have so much less. I need to attend to my tiny apartment with purpose – being grateful for it, seeking to use it and adorn it in ways that flow out of the beliefs that surround the rest of my life.