It’s December, we’re at the end of 2018, and for the first time in a long time, I’m not in a rush to leave this year behind nor push forward into the new year, which feels like a quiet victory. I am at peace with the things that happened this year and simply ready to keep going.
On spiritual growth:
To start, I completed Grace Midtown’s 7-month FORM Leadership School where I discovered the Enneagram, a compass pointing me toward my quiet but pent-up anger asking to be acknowledged and processed. That anger then led me to spend time in the Book of Ezekiel where I witnessed God’s agony disguised as rage over being betrayed by his beloved (Ezekiel 16).
Between attending FORM and tending to my inner wounds, I made a new friend who is a talented singer, writer, and worship leader. With her help, I wrote my very first song, “Ezekiel Song.” It touches on a later part of the book after Israel has met its destruction and God restores them, mending their bones and breathing life back into their flesh (Ezekiel 37).
It was the first time I’ve ever expressed myself through music, and it enraptured me. For weeks, I couldn’t sleep, because I was too busy writing lyrics in my head. I don’t know if the song will ever be finished or if anything will come of it, but the process of identifying my grief and combatting it with a song of hope was exactly what I needed at the time.
I came home one night in May and noticed the door to our screened patio was open, which seemed unusual. Someone had thrown a brick through the glass side door and entered our home. It took the police over an hour to arrive and search the property. Nothing significant was stolen, but a stranger violated what my roommates and I had built to be a place of comfort and rest. Nothing felt like it truly belonged to me anymore.
For the duration of our lease, I came home every day dreading the image of another shattered window or door. Not entirely giving into defeat, I anointed my home, reclaiming it as a place of safety and peace, and the whole experience humbled me. It unfurled my clench fists back into a place of surrender and loosened my fixation over what I claim to be “mine.”
On leaving home:
In July, I packed up all of my belongings and drove for four days across the southern part of the country, making stops in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally to my hometown in California. The furthest distance I drove in a day was from Atlanta, GA to Austin, TX, and I have no desire to ever do that again, at least on my own.
There was a point during my drive through Texas where I was smack in the middle of no man’s land, had zero cellular service, and a nearly empty gas tank when I accidentally exited out of my GPS route. I started to imagine the worst—being stranded on the side of the road with no other cars in sight—and begged aloud to God that he would lead me to a gas station. Luckily, signs soon appeared for a nearby town where I was able to refill my tank and purchase a map.
Not only did driving across six states remind me of how beautifully diverse our country’s landscape is, but it also put into perspective how much distance I was putting between myself and Atlanta. On the final day of my road trip traveling from Tucson to San Diego, I crossed the line into California, and my body felt the transition, like I had torn through some invisible barrier. I had stayed obedient to the thing inside me telling me to leave the place I loved. It was an ending and a beginning all at once, and I wept for both of them.
On new adventures:
If you know me personally, you know I recently fell into a love affair with wine. After working at a wine shop in Atlanta for a year, it simply made sense to return to California and experience wine at the source. Between August and November, I lived in Sonoma, the heart of California’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and got my hands grape-stained and dirty in the art of winemaking.
The interview process for working harvest felt simple, and the job was nearly handed to me. I thought this was the moment—I would arrive in Northern California and the long, winding path I had been on would finally open up to a destination that made sense. It didn’t exactly happen that way, but harvest did make me fall deeper in love with wine and, maybe even more importantly, fall back in love with California.
I have no regrets in the decision I made to pick up my life and move this year, but I am also realizing that it was only the first step in where God is taking me. He is asking me to live boldly, to reach for the things he knowingly placed in my heart, and in abiding by these two commands, he continues to teach me trust where there is doubt and, even more so, that no matter where I am, there is beauty all around me to be savored.
Happy New Year.
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