Thursday, October 21, 2010

this is the wonder that keeps the stars apart

"You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for God's sake!"

One year ago today, I moved to a town I had no connection to, where I knew not a single soul, to work for a company I'd never heard of. I believe the Lord puts these desires in our hearts that He has every intention of fulfilling, if we’ll only listen. I had always wanted to move away and experience the fullness of life away from home, and a year ago, I did just that. The past year I've experienced nothing less than God's protection, God's patience and mercy and God's completely unfailing love.

I once heard Ted Haggard say that when you ignore God, He will do whatever He has to do to get you out of what you're in if it's not His will for you. I am living proof of that. You see, a few years ago, I had the earth pulled from beneath my feet. My world came crashing down around me and while I knew this event wouldn't define me forever, I can't deny that it is a part of me, a part of my history and a part of who I have become. This earth shattering event has in fact been the saving grace of my life that has led me to where I am now. As I continued really listening to God (of course, at that point, I didn’t have much choice), it became more and more apparent that it was time for me to find myself, to really learn who I am, to be on my own. I began applying for jobs all over the country. Only, I didn't apply for this job. A recruiter picked up my resume and submitted it. During my interview, they told me the job was actually closed but then they received my resume, and then they hired me. It was literally one month from the time I had sent out my resume until the time I had turned in my two weeks and was packing up my life. One year ago today, my dad, sister, brother and mom and I packed my life into a U-Haul. It’s a strange feeling packing up your life like that, seeing every material possession you deem important packed like sardines until you slam the door of the truck. I was ready for a change (though I’m not sure I will ever be ready to be a big girl with responsibilities…it’s hard being a big girl). I was ready for adventure. I was ready for my life. I arrived in Florida with an open heart, excited and nervous. My condo was perfection – the only one I had looked at “just in case” I got the job. One sunset over the palm trees, and the salt air on my skin, and I knew my spirit was going to be restored in this place.

I didn't really know what to expect out of this new life of mine. I've always been outgoing and been able to talk to strangers (they really do have the best candy), but I also was well aware of the fact that it's hard to make friends, especially the older you get. But, the Lord had it all orchestrated before I even got here. Through an old work connection, I found my second family, a group of people who welcomed me completely into their homes and lives and without whom I never could have made it down here alone. Whether I'm lonely, homesick, having surgery or just plain happy, their house is a house I go to for rejuvenation and love. I could never express enough my gratitude or admiration for this family. I prayed I would find a church where I could get involved and be surrounded with others who shared similar beliefs and once again, the Lord did not fail me. He called me to the most incredible church I've ever known that meets me over and over right where I am, without judgment or reservation. I've always believed relationships matter, and the relationships I've developed the past year are ones that I will carry in my heart forever, no matter where this life takes us. I could go on and on about the loves I've discovered down here, but I'd rather hold those close to my heart where they belong.

I've grown so much as a person in the past year. My mom said the first time she and dad came to visit me that she was able to see how happy I was down here. And I have been utterly happy. Sure, I've had some drama -- I AM Merdeezy after all -- but I can say without a doubt that the past 365 days have honestly been the happiest of my 27 years. I've found a niche here in Florida that I'm not sure I could ever replace. It didn't take me long to realize that to me, true contentment is sitting on my back porch, breathing in the ocean and salt air. I've learned to bask in the warmth of the heavenly love that is Florida sunshine. I've discovered how much my Southern-ness really means to me. I've become an even bigger fan of my family. I've learned not only what I want, but what I need, and what I'm willing to negotiate on (and it's not much). While I've always known I was treasured and loved, the past year has taught me how to treasure myself as a daughter of the King.

I don't know what's going to happen in the next year, or even the next six months. I don't know that I will be here forever (as Eric Church says, "carolina, you keep calling me home"). But I do know that the decision I made to break away from the comfort I knew in North Carolina was the best decision I've ever made. Every girl should be as blessed as I have been in this life and every girl should be able to say she's the leading lady of her own life. I highly recommend it.

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. ~Zephaniah 3:17

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