Kicking and screaming: that's how I would describe my attitude upon hearing we were moving to Houston in July of 2017.
My dear husband was raised a Houstonian and I, a Dallas gal. I'm not kidding when I say our very first exchange went like this:
Zach: Where are you from?
Zach: I'm so sorry.
It would be some time before I realized how deep the Houston/ Dallas rivalry runs. But, one thing I knew from visiting my man's hometown on several occasions throughout our dating season was that my hair and I did not enjoy it. The only two words I'd use to describe Houston then would be: "suburblandia" and "humid."
I lived in Austin for 4 years before - talk about a FUN city. I couldn't bear the idea of leaving it, but if I had to, I would've picked "anywhere but Houston" (those being the exact words I prayed over and over).
Don't you worry, the Lord took a humbling hammer to my bratty self.
2 Weeks Before Our Wedding Day
Zach got a phone call about a job opening in Houston. We needed a job secured ASAP. My residency at the Austin Stone was ending soon, and Zach was working part-time before we got married. Especially as soon-to-be-newlyweds, everyone wanted to know what we were doing next.
Which, let me pause right there and say this:
We have got to stop obsessing over The Big Next. I don't think anyone intends to ask about your future plans with malice. But, please hear this from someone historically stuck in the category of "caring-too-much-about-people's-opinion," don't let it steal joy from your Now. We store too much identity in wanting to answer the, "So, what's next for you?" question with something big and exciting. We place all the pressure on ourselves and no trust in the Lord. When, in reality, we could claim ownership of what might seem to us like the "big and exciting," and God could completely redirect us in two seconds to "far more than we dare ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).
The months leading up to our wedding were ridiculously stressful for us. We just didn't know how we would sustain ourselves financially with no job prospects on the horizon. We placed all the pressure on ourselves and not enough trust in God to come through.
But God, in all His grace and sovereignty, provided this job in Houston for Zach just two weeks before our wedding day.
I wish I could tell you I was just grateful, but I was so bitter.
Why would God send us to the one city I really didn't want to go?
Two years ago, I never would have guessed how much it would pain me to leave this city. Houston surpassed every single one of my expectations.
Hurricane Harvey hit just a few months into our time here, and the resilience of the city lived up to the Houston Strong hype. We saw people all around the city joining efforts to clean and rebuild. People were helping others before their own home was even done! Unity runs deep here.
This city is enormous, and my "suburblandia" view was quickly countered with the diversity of Houston. Not only is there so much to do here, but the population is culturally and beautifully diverse. I love that so much. It's so refreshing to walk into a Chipotle and see people of several nationalities sitting around one table.
Above all the wonderful characteristics of Houston, it is our people I will miss the most. Our bible study group, my beloved coworkers, and our family. When I think of our Houston community, I always think of the phrase "hands and feet of Jesus." These people loved us in words and in deeds during our time in Houston. My heart gets this terribly achey feeling when I think about not seeing them often.
Two years in and I'm humbled and grateful to have a place and people to love so much it hurts to leave.
If I got my way two years ago and God hadn't moved us to Houston, I would've completely missed out on knowing some of my favorite humans on earth. If I got my way, we wouldn't have some of the sweet memories with Zach's side of the family during this season. I would've never ended up working at Living Proof Ministries, doing a job I love and directly learning from Beth Moore - one of the greatest Bible teachers of our time! If I got my way, I would've lost out on the far greater and intricate plan of the Lord.
God gave me exactly what I didn't ask for, but through it, He gave me exactly what I needed. He broke through my bitterness with His faithfulness.
Houston, I'm going to miss you. Good thing I'll be seeing you like once a month for work! Can't get rid of me that easy!
Friends, God is faithful and He will take care of you wherever He calls you to go. Zach and I are already seeing His sovereign hand during our few days in Dallas. I'm thankful for God's provision and His goodness. It never runs out!
Thanks for reading today!