An old friend called me yesterday. I hadn’t spoken with him for almost five years. But he wasn’t calling to catch up. My friend called to ask me one very specific question: “I saw on facebook that you moved from Texas a few years ago and I wanted to know if it was worth it.” Now mind you, Texas does hold a special place in both our hearts, but he wasn’t really wondering about the Lone Star State. He was inquiring if God had been faithful to fill up the cracks left by the friends and family members that now reside two states away.
Here’s what I shared.
Moving to Arizona was not the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Even though I came alone and without connections, even though I left everything familiar… the actual going wasn’t the most challenging part. There would have been just as many bad days in Texas as there have been bad days in Arizona (although not as many days over 110 degrees.) The fact is that opportunities to thrive exist in every zip code, just as challenges and heartache have found me at each of my addresses. Should you move across the country and chase a dream or follow your calling? I can’t tell you what God is telling you, but I can tell you that this journey has been one of the best rides of my life. I have met myself here, but more importantly, I have come to know my God in new and exciting ways here.
I wrote the following entry on one of my bad days in June of 2007:
The crazy thing is that I’ve spent the last few conversations convincing everyone (including myself) that things couldn’t be peachier out in the desert. And yes, some days I might describe with a peach, however, other days are less like a peach and more like raw hamburger meat. I’m quick to remind myself that no matter my location, my days would be varied.
As the plane left the muggy runway Tuesday evening I could not get control of my tears. I’m so glad I had the window seat because I’m sure I would have drawn lots of attention from the short woman next to me whose business suit was 4 inches too long at the wrist and ankle hems. Instead I stared out the window at the greenery that is not the desert and reminded myself once again of Abraham’s journey from the land of Ur, a place he had called home for 90 years before he received quite a different calling from the Lord. Surely he had to have had a meat day every once in a while.
(Speaking of meat, I must stop here and say that if I try and actually pay for a trainer…for someone to physically torture me, please fly out here and hit me in the face. I can’t tell you how many times I have said the word OUCH today as a result of a disastrous gym workout two days ago. Just now I nearly passed out from pain as I tried to bring a fork up to my mouth.)
Speaking of pain… this distance from all that is familiar and dear has left me pretty emotional lately. Besides feeling like someone has beat my arm muscles into raw meat, I’ve been feeling slightly less than peachy. It all came to a head as I pulled my car into my apartment complex and a song came on a mixed cd. I lost it. Not just the tears, the deep wrenching sobs. I pulled into my brightly lit spot and prayed my neighbors would not choose that moment to make a trip to Wal-mart. (Also, do not go to Wal-mart at 6:30 pm on a Friday. Bad Choice.) I managed to put the car in park and pull my knees up in front of the steering wheel. It’s not that this is hard; per say…it’s just that being home would be easier. I don’t want to live for easy…but boy doesn’t that sound…well, easier?
I could pack it all up and be home in a week if I wanted. But I don’t really want to do that. Things are just getting interesting, exciting even. There are big transitions coming at work and I truly want to be a part of what is happening here. I’m even going to take my first seminary class in August. Who would have thought?
So as I sat hugging my knees, the song continued to play and I heard these words over and over:
“You hold my hand, through all of my struggles, you carry me through. You hold my hand; though dark surrounds me…you carry me through. Patience, a thousand years and a day it’s all the same, oh to you, the God of Space and Time…I will wait on You. Do not be afraid, for I am your God.” – Colin Bates
I let my crying subside before I took a deep breath and popped the trunk. I had groceries to take upstairs. And somehow, even though my arms felt like they were going to rip from their sockets because of the weight of the bags, I knew I wouldn’t be crying anymore tonight. No guarantee for tomorrow…but I’m hopeful.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2
The challenging parts have come when I forget that I’m not in this alone. Neither are you. Take heart. No matter the journey, no matter the size of your desert – our God is listening and he will fulfill his purpose for you… whether here or in Texas. 🙂