Finding Jesus in every city.
Within the past year I have moved six times. SIX times! Now, some of those were just moving home from college, back to college… etc. But three of them have been completely new, different, crazy cities. If you know me you’d know that I’m extroverted and love to be around people, so I thought moving to a new city would be a dream! New friends, new experiences… new new new! Every city taught me something about myself, my walk with the Lord and loving people well.
Last summer I had the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and model. JK, I was an intern at Show Me Your Mumu, equally as glam, I know. This was my first ever move away from the Atlanta area and I was SO sad to leave all my best friends, family, church…. my bed, all the things I called home. Fast forward a month into my big move to LA… I had zero friends, outside Mumu, and finding a church was proving to be a challenge. Still though, I believed that God had a purpose for me being in LA. I continued to try a new church after new church and finally found an amazing community at a church called, Zoe. I felt so much joy from being connected and realized how important is it to have Christian community in your life. This was my LA lesson- Community is Key. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. When we come together in the name of God, He is with us! Teaching us, leading us, and protecting us.
Eight months later, I decided to move to New York! I had just graduated college and I was ready to take on the Big Apple. I secured an internship a few months earlier at a big shot PR agency and was ready for my Devil Wears Prada moment. My mom warned me before I left that New York would be hard and I may not love it…. well, when is your mom ever wrong? Never! But what I had learned from my LA move was that community was something I needed and I was determined to find it. My first week in Manhattan was probably the coldest days we had that winter. Being the warm weather lovin’ gal I am I wasn’t very happy, but that first Sunday, in my new city, I went to a couple different churches. I prayed before I left that morning, 1) that I wouldn’t get lost or killed riding the subway and 2) that I would meet a friend at church. That morning, as I was leaving the first service, I just knew it wasn’t the right church for me. I stopped at a coffee shop and prayed the next church would be the one. And y’all, He answers prayers! The last service I planned on going to was at a church called, Apostles Union Square. It was at Apostles where I found some of the greatest women of ALL TIME! I could name them all but the list would be a mile long (you know who you are). Those were the women who would encourage me, pray for me and love me during my time in NYC. Again, I think Jesus was teaching me the importance of community and friendship rooted in Him but He was also teaching me the goodness of unfamiliarity. I spent so much time exploring the city, just me and Him, and it allowed me to lean on Him, and talk to Him more. This was my New York city lesson– Unfamiliarity Brings Us Closer to Him. Don’t let fear or anxiety keep you from doing what you are called to do! He will provide. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”.
One more move people; the final one. I am currently sitting at my new desk, at my new job, in a new city- San Diego, CA! The Lord has provided me with the most amazing job and co-workers. I am so thankful! But truthfully, I am missing one thing. Something I know can be hard but necessary, Christian community. I have been here for four months and am still struggling to get plugged into my church and build community. During the Summer, my church doesn’t have small groups and I can’t volunteer until I’ve been in attendance for six months. I praise Him for the amazing job He provided and the friends He provided at work. And I know Christian community is so important…so why am I in this situation? Writing this helped me take a step back and put my circumstances into perspective. I have the most supportive and loving friends back home, an amazing job, great co-workers, and not to mention, I live five blocks from the beach. What even. I have so much to be thankful for and no reason to worry. I am more than confident that the Lord will provide me with community. I’ve seen Him provide all these things in the past, all I have to do is wait. That is my San Diego lesson– Trust and wait. Proverbs 25:5 says, “Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day”.
Graduating, moving, all of life’s curve balls, for that matter, can be difficult. But if we are confident in the gospel, and His provision for our lives we can live in peace and joy. Romans 8:18-19 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God”.
Don’t let the enemy keep you from living in freedom. Don’t be scared of unfamiliar situations, lack of community, and all the situations in-between, all you need to do is trust and wait and He will equip you. Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seat at the right hand of the throne of God”. AMEN