Saturday, August 30, 2014

a year!

Perhaps the only redeeming thing so far about this post is that it isn't november yet, so a whole year hasn't passed since I wrote here last. (oops.)

Lots has happened!

I've been scrolling through pictures and remembering it all, especially because hey guess what! I've lived in Houston a year!!

and if there was ever a time for me to return to my blog, it's now! (and I think it'll be a more regular thing, too.)

I can hardly believe I've been affectionately remembered as "the girl in the city" for so long now! I was having a conversation last week about how every believer's story looks different, but such a common theme is about identity.


When I first moved here, just a few months after graduation, I was moving here in a bit of a desperately bold move to figure that out. It wasn't dramatic as a crisis, but I do remember crying a few months before graduation about how I had always been someone - mostly a student - and now that I was graduating, with a fistful of rejection letters and no job, I couldn't be a student any more but I wasn't replacing that title with anything.

I was just me. and man, the reality of myself - the person I had been barreling towards in what seemed like a very short four years - stared right back at me. no more avoiding it. time to be just me, the person I'd be more or less for the rest of my life. besides that, there's apparently so much more than what college or high school "prepares" you for, and the prospect of finding out what exactly that was was scary and unappealing.

(Also maybe now is a good time to insert a back-in-time note to my 13-year-old self who loved Switchfoot.....this is your life! are you who you want to be? that girl back then GETS that. (-: )

and that's where one of the most important lessons presented itself. joyfully, thankfully, wholeheartedly - I started to settle into real truth, the kind that burrows into your soul and stays awhile.

My identity is not ME. It's Jesus. it's a living representation of the hope and the reality of the gospel working for the good of a King. living in community, resting in the honesty and encouragement that comes from living life with other people on a sojourn, walking with each other and Jesus (and isn't it God's perfect wit (I like to think He has a gentle sense of humor) that I ended up at a church NAMED Sojourn...)

{Ernest Hemingway once said, "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self."}

Anyways, it's been a good year. Besides the big stuff, there's been so much I've been proud of this year. It's been, seriously, such a year. When I think back on this first foray into a life I LOVE living, I want to remember everything: the creaky apartment tucked into the oaks in a very colorful neighborhood in Montrose (that we loved the first time we walked in), the way the whole room filled up with sunlight and made it easy to work on writing during the day. late night glasses of wine with the only person I knew in Houston 365 days ago (she was also my roommate), comparing thrift store finds and talking about boys. banana trees wrapped in twinkle lights and a little Boston Terrier downstairs that always let me pet her.

My first big "break" - an out-of-the-blue call from Community Impact, offering me a spot in their freelance writer rotation, and my first big project - on oil and gas, of all things (that I knew nothing about). and then getting the print copies in the mail and reading my name in print. I'd done it. I had moved here with no job and a few hundred dollars and I'd ACTUALLY done it. (for the record, my responsible budgeting, scribbled down in a notebook, said I couldn't make it past 3 months without a REAL miracle. And yet, I made it an entire year. I always seemed to have extra, and I am so thankful and astounded at the goodness of life with Jesus.)

a crazy three weeks in the world of cultural heritage and realizing that nothing anyone says about me (or my skirts...) makes any difference in who I am. Jesus says who I am, He has written that in every autumn breeze that makes my spirit shiver with quiet joy. That's what I left with from a weird and stressful job situation. GOOD right?!

regular customers who remembered my name, and asked me how I was, a wealth of tea knowledge and accepting friends - we were all a little weird, and it didn't matter one bit. Patience and steadiness and a steadfast heart amidst chaos (to be taken literally and figuratively. welcome to saturdays at a coffee shop.) learning that a watched boiler pot....never boils. the best vegan banana peanut butter cookies in the world and a hilariously honest and wise Asian woman who taught me about business and life and cooking. perspective. (how many times have I prayed prayers of thankfulness when I wake up on a Saturday and I don't have to work?)

and then, rescue. a job that provided insurance and not-writers pay. most recently, a promotion into marketing, one that makes me so excited to go to work. a spot award on my bulletin board reminding me that my skills and my gifts are valued there. a roommate who bears my burdens and celebrates my joys - no matter how small - with me and invites me into life with her - and who lets me do the same for her right back. a townhouse tucked into the side of a park with trees for my hammock, letting me grow and bloom right where I'm supposed to.

{"Jesus, into whose strong hands I long ago committed my life, is engineering a universe of unimaginable proportions and complexity. And yet, He makes note of the smallest seed and the tiniest sparrow. He is not too busy to keep records of even my falling hair. In our darkness, we suppose He has overlooked us. But He hasn't. It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place." (e.elliot)}