I'm currently sitting in the middle of Dallas, eating a sandwich, and pretending I know how to navigate these new highways. amen for Maps. and Waze. (all the praise hand emojis for these actually). I wish you were sitting in the car with me right now, because I'm sure we'd probably be laughing real, real hard about how many u-turns and re-routes were just made to grab this sandwich. It's fun though. & all sandwiches here come with guac. & it doesn't even cost extra!! Tex-Mex for the win!
These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of all the feels and emotions. A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut by someone new to me in Athens- Danny. I was walking downtown and decided to stop in and get a haircut real quick for convenience-sake.
He asked me what I was planning on doing post-grad and I told him I was moving to Dallas in three weeks to go to Dallas Theological Seminary and do some marketing for Chick-fil-a.
His reply- "Whatever you do...just do not fall in love here in Athens. in the next three weeks. That would suck." -Danny's life advice
Homesickness hit me hard for Athens the following week and I hadn't even left town yet! I'd be lying if I said I hadn't driven by our old house everyday since the day our lease was up just to see it and remember and relive those days all over again. (& to watch the sunset because the sunset views & community 100% make up for our old house's lacking infrastructure and working appliances)
One of these drive-by days, Nat King Cole's Unforgettable came on and I about lost it. Because in these three weeks I have realized I've fallen in love with Athens! (Thanks Danny) & even though the song doesn't really have to do with finishing up school and new chapters, it does have to do with life and love and makes you all sappy inside dang it!
I've tried avoiding most eye contact and introductions in Athens recently because I just don't want to become anymore attached!! NO ONE HUG ME, I WILL CRY. (but actually do- just expect some tears)
BUT- I am so, so thankful to have people and a city and so many that have made saying "see you soon" so difficult. These past years have truly been Unforgettable.
Every other time I'm in the car, the song Indescribable has been playing. I feel lately, God has really been showing me...HEY. I've got you. DO YOU NOT REALIZE I HAVE PLACED THE STARS IN THE SKY AND I KNOW THEM BY NAME?! And I know YOU BY NAME?! I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU!! He has reminded me of this constantly in the craziest ways. including a dream job in Texas while I'm in seminary:
This job came about in a really cool way too. One morning, I woke up really early at my aunt and uncle's house and just felt desperate to ask Jesus that if Texas was his plan for me, then why was finding a job so difficult? I went outside and sat on their porch and prayed...LORD JUST MAKE THIS JOB-FINDING PROCESS AND MOVE EASY IF THIS IS YOUR PLAN. (I have journals that say this! In capital letters and all!)
A few minutes later, I received a text (this is for real- I can not make this stuff up) from a Texas family who I had talked to about renting from months before- asking me if I would still be interested in renting from them in the fall. I told them no, I was actually looking for a job first, but I'd get back with them about housing. We talked a bit more...little did I know that the guy I was talking to was looking to hire in marketing! I had a phone interview a week later, and got the job!! God is so good. (and so is working for the cows!)
A few weeks ago, my Grandfather Sterling sent this picture to me that he took on one of his many trips out west, and I have looked at it every day since!
1. How cool is my Grandfather Sterling for taking this picture? (he's 70 btw)
2. HOW AWESOME IS OUR GOD WHO PLACED THESE STARS IN THE SKY AND HE KNOWS THEM BY NAME? These stars aren't just numbers. They have names. And He knows them. And you aren't just a number. You have a name. And HE KNOWS IT. Indescribable.
When I stepped off the plane in Dallas a few days ago, I started thinking...what am I doing?! Is this right!? Lord, am I in the right place!?!?!?!?! Because no one in Texas is bleeding red and black (go dawgs) currently, and this feels funny.
A few months ago, I really started praying about seminary in Dallas and if it was the right next step for me. And every time, the Lord has just said YES. repeatedly. And I keep saying NO and denying it, until He pushes me forward again. I don't think I've ever felt more tunnel-visioned about a next step.
Back to stepping off the airplane in Dallas- I was freaking out! On the outside, I probably looked like I knew what I was doing and that I knew exactly where to grab my bags and a ride into the city. But on the inside, I was a total hot mess. I started praying about and for my uber driver (specifically that he wouldn't be crazy and creepy tbh) since I was about to spend the next 30-40 minutes in the car with this person. (and praying that he wasn't a killer. at this point I was running on a 3:00am wake-up-call and lots of coffee, so dramatic thoughts and fears that my uber driver was a killer were real high)
I saw that the uber driver's name was "Dady" on my phone before he pulled up to DFW airport and I laughed a little to myself because just a few weeks ago, I stayed at Madame Dady's guest home in Haiti, which was one of the best trips of my life. A small reassurance and head-nod that I was in the right place....surely though, Dallas uber driver Dady couldn't be from Haiti...because that would just be a crazy coincidence! But then, uber driver Dady pulled up and I recognized his accent INSTANTLY.
He probably was way more anxious than I was initially when I yelled, "DADY, ARE YOU FROM HAITI?!!?!?!" as soon as he grabbed and loaded my bags. "I HAVE VISITED HAITI A FEW TIMES!! IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES!!!" He had moved to Dallas from Haiti 7 years before. And then I just about cried in the backseat of the uber out of happiness and he just about cried in the front seat out of happiness and then we both cried because we were laughing about life and Jesus and home.
We started speaking a little bit of creole and talking about Haiti and Haitian food. AND about how each night in Haiti, our team would sit rooftop at Madame Dady's and look at the stars and talk about life and Jesus and home.
Reassurance. Unforgettable. Indescribable.
& here we both were... so far away, yet home away from home, in the middle of 8:00am Dallas traffic!
Before my first trip to Haiti, I had the same feelings I've been having about Dallas.... doubts, insecurities, what-ifs, and countless is-this-right's?!?!! But the Lord continuously reassured me and said... HEY I'VE GOT YOU. And the few times I've gone to Haiti have been the most unforgettable, indescribable trips I could have imagined! I've met many people and many new names on these trips.
Lately, my good friend Alex has been reminding me of Ephesians 3:20...
Immeasurably more!! These past four years in Athens have been the best years of my life...and the LORD STILL PROMISES IMMEASURABLY MORE.
And I think sometimes that means a few u-turns. Sometimes it means a few re-routes. Sometimes it means some Texas BBQ with new friends and names:
I'm actually on my way back to Athens today for a few more days before I make the permanent move out west. But WOW IS MY HEART SO FULL AND EXCITED. So thankful for the names I've met. So thankful for the names to come. So thankful that our Lord continuously shows us immeasurably more in crazy unexpected ways. like a few sunsets. and a few stars. and a few sides of guac.
Reassuringly unforgettable and indescribable.