It was this week last year, when Reed and I decided to move from our little home in the Los Angeles, so start a new life here, in the Bay Area.
Time has really flown by! How has it already been a year? Yet, it feels like it was just yesterday that Reed and I were living in our first condo together, so close, yet always a lot of traffic away from our friends. In true LA fashion.
I remember the moment we started to sense a change was coming for us.
Reed and I had just found an outdoor table at an In n Out, waiting for our burger order to be called, and catching up on each other's days. At one point, we both sighed and then looked at each other, slightly surprised. I wondered if we were about to say the same thing, but felt a little nervous to go out on a limb and say it first. I didn't know if I had the right words, because even the thoughts felt new. Lucky for me, Reed is the brave one. He started this way, "How are we doing?" The question was revealing and comforting. It meant that we weren't doing as well as we wanted to be, but we didn't need to go straight there, we could ease into talking about it. It meant that whatever we were feeling, we were in it together.
We ate our burgers, giving each other time and space to think and to talk. Reed and I loved our church, our people, our home, and each other. Graduation was approaching for me, and we did not know what was ahead vocationally, but we didn't feel worried. So why did we both feel like something was missing? We searched ourselves and each other for discontent, unrealistic expectations, unmet needs, but none of those things were there. The feeling we shared was unexplainable but once acknowledged, unavoidable.
So we decided to sit on it. We decided to fast and pray, and to not have too many conversations about it with others. I felt that I needed to hear the voice of God loud and clear, and though he uses people to speak words of direction, I didn't want my desire for clarity to busy me with others instead of spending time at His feet. As we did this, I started to learn that even in a seemingly "in-between" place, contentment and God's peace can exist.
I learned that God's presence will always mean more to me than his answers.
Though I wanted him to explain what I was feeling and bring some direction, I felt assured that no matter what, He was with me. This was a simple lesson, but one I will always treasure and continue to learn. Often, we seek God for results, answers, clarity, or whatever it is we think is most important.
But during this time, I learned that even if the only purpose of what we were feeling was to create more space in our lives for Jesus, than it was worth it.
Over the next month, God brought tremendous comfort and peace, and because he is too good, he also brought answers. Reed and I realized that we wanted to live in the Bay Area, closer to my family, and we wanted to partner with my parents' amazing church. When we both felt settled in this, doors began to open, conversations happened, and sure enough, we moved. We joined staff as associate pastors with my wonderful parents, and we started a new adventure!
Goodbyes were not easy, but His presence was with us in those too. Never had we felt so connected and good about such a big decision. This year in the Bay Area has been absolutely life-changing. I have learned countless lessons in marriage, ministry, friendship, self-care, hard work, and creativity. I have taken leaps (including this blog), I didn't know were possible, and I have met some of the most beautiful people.
Since it has almost been a year since we moved, I have felt so overwhelmed with gratitude this week. I am grateful for that evening at In N Out. I am grateful for a husband who is always thinking about "we", not just "me". I'm grateful for friends and family all over California and beyond, who have stood, unwavering, in our corner - rooting for us and praying for us. I'm thankful for the inviting and gracious hearts of our new church family, who have called us their own. I am thankful for my parents, who empower, champion, and teach us.
More than anything, I am thankful for the sweet, life-giving presence of God. Nothing can stand in it's place. It has brought peace to my restless heart, peace to the changes of life, and peace to where we are in this moment.
This peace will always mean more to me than answers, because whatever Jesus holds in his hands is more important than what I think I need.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is, O Holy Night. It makes me cry like a baby every time I really listen to it. The lyrics are beautiful, and to me, they truly capture the depth of this season. There's a lyric in the third verse that reads, "His law is love and His gospel is peace."
I believe that Jesus is fighting through our need for answers, the busyness we inflict on ourselves, and the discontent this season stirs, to bring a miraculous peace that will change everything.
His Gospel is peace, and His Gospel is life. Jesus Christ embodies everything we actually need, and he will guide us towards the very things in life we long for.
It is this peace that has brought me to where I am: more aware of God's goodness than ever before, so deeply happy and satisfied with life, and humbled to do what I do and know who I know. My life is not perfect, but his presence and his peace mean more to me than perfection.
I hope, that as you've read a little about my journey over the last year, you would feel compelled to invite the peace and presence of God to overwhelm your heart and to change your life.
I want to encourage you to create some room for reflection in this next month. Think about where you have been, where you are now, and where you are headed. How are we doing?What could God be up to? What are you learning? I believe with all of my heart, that those sacred moments of looking into your soul, will provide you more fulfillment and joy than anything else this Christmas season has to offer.
Thank you for joining me for Blogmas Day 15! See you here tomorrow, and Merry Christmas.