I don’t know where to start. I don’t know where the words of this post are going to take me. These past months have been marked with a special quietness as I have stepped away from blogging so much and taking breaks from social media. I’ve been wrestling with a lot below the surface, and it has been a season of holy quietness. A time to grapple with some of the hard questions of life and take them to the Lord. It has involved a lot of pruning, and a crash course in what true, godly obedience looks like. But the quiet has had a special beauty of its own. I have gotten to know so much more about my Savior in these months. I have learned even more what it means to live by faith even when God seems so very far away. And it has shown me what I have always suspected and what I have learned in similar quiet seasons in the past–that He is often most at work when we can’t discern what He is doing. And my goodness, how true that has been in my life lately.
I’ve been sensing it for months and months now. That the tide was changing. That something was shifting below the surface in my life. An awareness of something new coming but not knowing exactly what that meant and where it would lead me. But I know now. Oh my, I know. And while my parents and my friends have not been surprised about this at all, I am so completely shocked by this. In every single way. Like, if they truly saw this coming, WHY DIDN’T THEY TELL ME?!
This is so bittersweet in every single way but this is happening. It truly is.
I am moving to Maryland.
Even just typing out those words seems so crazy to me. I remember ten years ago when I was graduating high school and anticipating finally stepping into the dream that was four years in the making–moving to California and beginning my life out here. This was my dream. Something about the west coast had been calling me to itself for the longest time, and I know now (and I knew then) that it was God. That He had a purpose for me out here. I was filled with so many dreams and so many idealistic ideas about what college would hold for me and where my life would go afterward, and absolutely none of those things has happened how I thought. But I wouldn’t change it at all.
I’ve said for a long time that I was born and raised in New York, but the real truth is, California raised me. This is where I grew up. This is where I found freedom in so many ways and stepped deeply into the person that God was calling me to be. This is where I wrestled with so much in the dark and so much brokenness, and have found so much beauty along the way. This is where I found what I am made of and have become the person that I am today. California is etched on my heart in every single way and it always will be. And truly, I cannot even fathom leaving it. Tears are streaming down my face right now as I type this at the thought of stepping away from the life that has been built here over the last ten years. Of the friends that have become like family to me. From the church that has become home. And all the sunshine and beach days and the beauty that makes California so great. I mean, I am moving back to a place where there is REAL WINTER. I’m not prepared.
This is a massive move–clear across the country. But it is an even bigger leap of faith. I’m stepping away from a life that I love, and there is a huge part of me that doesn’t want to do that. In fact, there are about a million and a half reasons why I don’t want to leave California and go through with this move, and only one reason that I do. But that one reason trumps every one of those million and a half reasons that makes me want to stay.
I never fully understood it before. Growing up I would hear so many people say things about how family is so special and there is just something that is different about family, but I never fully understood it. It was just my dad and me, and while we loved each other deeply, there was a massive void in our lives–marked by the absence of my mom and my brother or sister that she was carrying when she died. A family that existed for far too short a time before half of our family unit was just taken away. Of course that impacted everything about our lives. My dad is my hero in every single way and I love him deeply, but there was a wound there. One that I didn’t even know stretched so deep. Not until I finally got to experience what it truly means to be part of a family–a whole family. And I have that now. There is a part of me that will always long deeply for the family that could have been, but I am also so incredibly grateful for the family that now is as well. For the ways that life has changed so completely much since my dad got married five years ago. I know now. I know what it is like to have a mom. To have sisters. And it is powerful enough to make me completely uproot my life and move across the country to have it.
I never in my life would have chosen to live in Maryland. For the longest time I just laughed when people asked me when I was moving back east. In my mind, California was for the long haul. But things have changed. I have changed. For the first time in my life I have the chance to truly be part of the kind of family I always longed to have, and I’m not going to be three thousand miles away from it any longer.
I am so overwhelmed by this. There is a part of me that has said for years that at some point I saw myself moving back east, but in my mind it was always something well off in the future, if it even ever happened. That is why I am so shocked that this is happening. I feel like it came out of nowhere. I feel like I didn’t even choose it but that Someone Else chose it for me. And that’s exactly what is happening. This is all God. This is Him calling me deeper into His plan, and I am so overcome that it includes moving closer to my family. As surprised as I am, I also feel like this is where my life has been headed for a long time. That He has been making me ready beneath the surface of it all. It truly feels like I just woke up one day with a deep conviction on my heart of knowing that I am supposed to move to Maryland. It’s all God.
That is part of why I am so blown away by this. In this season in the quiet, I’ve realized how often I treat God like a consultant for my own life plans and dreams. Like I am the one who calls the shots and then chooses to invite Him in. But that is so completely wrong. He is the One who invites us into His plans, not the other way around. And how amazing is that, really? That the God of the universe looks upon us and sees something in us that makes Him want us to be part of His eternal redemption plan? That He sees beauty and purpose within our feeble hearts and invites us in?
This is His plan in every single way. As much as I love my family, I never would have found the nerve within myself to just pick up my life and move across the country to be close to them. This is all God. And I am so undone and overwhelmed by His goodness in it all. That He is inviting me deeper into His plan, and that His plan should include this. I just have this overwhelming sense that He is doing this for me. That this is a gift that He is giving me. An enormous blessing that I feel so unworthy of.
It is a redemption story. It comes after years of Him walking me through a journey of healing and mourning the family that never got to be. Of being a kid growing up in brokenness and just yearning for my mom and to have siblings. And I get to have that now. That void of not having my mom ran deeper than I ever knew, and that’s because I have something to compare it to now. I have a chance to be part of a family that I never got to have before. I get a mom and a dad. And sisters and brother-in-laws and nieces and a nephew. I finally get the opportunity to have a whole family, and the blessing is even sweeter after knowing what it means to go without. Of walking the hellish moments of pain that brought me here. My God is giving me the utter gift of calling me to be closer to my family. This is His story that He is writing. One that will come with a lot of goodbyes I never want to say and leaving so much of my heart and life behind me, but somehow gaining even more in return. It’s a redemption story.
And oh my heart, it is so beautiful.