If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I spent this past weekend in Denver. What you might not know, though, is that I lived there for a year, from August 2011-July 2012, with my best friend, Susanna. It was a fun, yet challenging, year for a multitude of reasons. I’m glad I ventured outside of my comfort zone to experience a city completely different than the only one I’ve ever known. I love Denver and loved living with my best friend, but I strongly believe that God’s hand prevented certain doors from opening while I was there and, ultimately, moved me home. I can’t know for certain the reasons, but I think it was so I could come to know Jesus and surrender to Him, spend the last fifteen months of my Momma’s life so close to her side, and to put me on the path to starting Sequins & Things. Hindsight is always 20/20 and these last couple of years have taught me how much obedience matters.
Listen to His call and obey His pull on your heart and in your life.
It will be uncomfortable. You will cry and not understand, but it all is the way it should be and He will get you through.
Moving home was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted a new adventure. I wanted to start a new life somewhere outside of Jacksonville. I wanted to be one of those people who “went home” for the holidays. Moving home meant defeat. It meant failure, and it was disappointing. Above all, though, moving home meant that I had to seriously inconvenience one of the most important and special people in my life, my best friend. I hated knowing my actions would hurt her. I left feeling isolated and guilty and uncertain as to why things didn’t work out. Theodore Roosevelt hit the nail on the head when he said: “Comparison is the thief of joy”
, because I couldn’t stop looking at the lives of the people I knew who moved away and were loving their new cities. I envied them. Why couldn’t it be the same way for me? Why do they get Your favor?
… I’ve fallen victim to the lies of social media, too.]
Not long after I moved home, I accompanied a long-time friend of mine to church and it was weird. Ha, it was. But it was also crazy … crazy how I felt like it was exactly where I needed to be and how ‘at home’ I felt. I had gone to church since I was little, but always felt extremely uncomfortable and didn’t really feel like I gained much understanding from what was being taught in big church or Sunday school. I think it helped that the Pastor at this church had tattoo’s and a thick Southern accent, and deemed himself a redneck who was more unworthy of what was done on the cross than most of the people in the room. It helps to know you’re not alone in your imperfections, and I liked knowing that the crowd around me was large because they were comforted by that, too. Week after week, I found myself amongst the crowd, by myself most of the time, and couldn’t believe that I had never fully understood the gospel and how badass Jesus was. I realized that life will always be disappointing if you put your expectations and selfish wants on the throne of your heart and the center of your life, and let it all consume you. The point of this life is not me. All of these realizations broke me down, humbled me, and I decided I couldn’t live for myself anymore. I laid all of me down at His feet, put it all on His shoulders, all of the hurt, uncertainty, sadness, all of the things I wanted that didn’t go my way, and I surrendered. I started to lean on the only Bible verse I could recite verbatum at the time: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will set your paths straight.”[Proverbs 3:5-6] and started to feel more comfortable with where His hand had led me and just accepted it for what it was because I know He is good and He is faithful.
When my mom passed away, Psalm 139:13 was the verse that deepened in meaning. It was when I realized that He knew me, too. He knew my heart, my innermost being, and what would have meant more to me in the grand scheme of things. [How amazing is that? That you’re not in control? That He acts on our behalf because He knows us, intimately. I don’t know. It might make some people really uncomfortable, but it comforted me.] He also knew the nature of my mom and I’s relationship. I’ve always been pretty independent, and my mom knew that. She loved her girl, immensely, but she gave her her space. Let her do her thing. And, my mom was an introvert. She loved to learn and loved entertainment, so when she wasn’t grading papers or putting together lesson plans, she was constantly getting lost in a movie, documentary or biography, or had her nose in a book. I didn’t talk to her every single day like a lot of people do with their mom’s. She was like that best friend that you are so close with, but don’t have to talk to everyday to know that you mean the world to each other and when you do talk it’s like picking up where you left off. I’m kind of like that with a lot of people. I’m not the “clingy” type, I guess you could say. But, that’s why the closeness and being home was so perfect. It afforded us the ability to be together and enjoy each other.
On the day everything happened, I was on the phone with my best friend, Susanna … Sus, for short. Our friendship had been a little rocky since I had left. She felt responsible for how unhappy I had been in Denver, and was hurt that I didn’t love the city she had fallen in love with the way she did. She wanted her best friend there, to share it all with, to make memories with, to come home to and laugh with, make dinner with, drink wine with, to keep up on shows with, etc. I completely understood her frustration. I wanted all of those things, too. I wanted it to work out, and be the way we thought it was going to be, too. It was hard to see and understand at the time that it was all completely out of her and I’s hands, that my life didn’t bloom out there the way her’s had for reasons He couldn’t disclose yet. We were both crying, that night on the phone, and she said ‘Hay, what if you had still been here?’, and it was the first time I felt the tension release between the two of us. She was right. What if I had still been in Colorado and gotten a phone call on that morning? What if I hadn’t talked to my mom since the Saturday before? What if it had been months since I had hugged her, smelled her scent, felt her presence? Since I watched her love on my Fish? Since I had her to come in and say goodnight to me? Because, let’s be real, at 27, she still made sure she did that, and I loved it. Sus and I finally had the clarity we needed. In that bittersweet moment, God was there lifting the fog and loving on us so hard, and it was certainly the only “awesome” part of that day.
I’ve shared before
what I had prayed for the day my mom died and this was just one of the ways He responded. I’m so incredibly thankful for His faithfulness in restoring a friendship that means so much to me. Do I wish my Mom was still here? Of course. Do I think she had to die for Him to have done such a work in Sus and I’s friendship? Absolutely not. God is God. He could have made that possible any way He wanted. He doesn’t have to take in order to give, but this was what happened and I think it’s important to look for Him in everything – in the mountains and in the valley’s of life – because He’s there in it all and He works to make himself known to us. I’m not completely fearless, by any means, but I share this story because it restores my faith in His plan when I’m feeling a little shaky. He may not always give us what we want but He’s got us, every step of the way … in the uncomfortable, in the amazing, in the risky, in the heartbreaking, in the weird, in the uncertain and in the absolute
… and He knows what He is doing, and what we
need to do is get over ourselves, lean into the discomfort, and obey the pull.
P.S. I was catching up on the current sermon series tonight [o1.24.15] at my church, since I missed the last two weeks due to work and travel, and the first one I missed was inspired by Chapter 2 and 3 from the book of Exodus with Moses. In this book, the Lord speaks to him through the burning bush and told him about how is calling Him to free His people from Egypt. I couldn’t help but keep thinking about how the point ran parallel to this blog post. Toward the end, my pastor says he “fears disobedience more than he fears failure” and really brought home the point that the Lord really “delights in our obedience, not our successes”. If this blog post has really resonated with something that you’re going through, I encourage you to listen to it. You can find it here. And if you’re in the Jacksonville area, I encourage you to come check out the Church of Eleven22 on Thursday nights or at one of our Sunday services.