Hey y'all! I apologize for being so absent, these last few weeks. There's been a lot going on and I haven't made the time to sit down and fill you in. So, grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea (if that's your thing) and let me get you up to speed on what's happening over here.
Be forewarned, this is going to be lengthy!
To fill you in, I think I need to back up a little. Some of you know that in 2013, I moved to Oklahoma to do a music internship at a church here in Tulsa. When I moved here I had this overwhelming sense of belonging. I had a church, a cause to be a part of and started making some really quality friends. In short, I saw myself in Tulsa for a long time. I could see myself building a life and eventually a family here (whoa!). Tulsa has that special charm about it, that draws people in and makes you want to stay forever. And I was absolutely one of those people.
Some of you may also know that I grew up in a military family. For which, I am so thankful. However we moved a lot, which I loved. I mean - Hello, we lived in Hawaii (HOLLA). Constant moving creates this "what's next" mentality. If I live somewhere for more than a year or so, I start wondering when I'll be packing up and heading to the next city. But, I wanted Tulsa to be different and honestly it was. I hit the year mark in OK and didn't have a burning desire to shove all my belongings into my car and hit the open road. I was okay with staying put and creating a life in Tulsa. This was weird, exciting and so very foreign to me. But, I loved it. I was excited that I'd finally found somewhere I could call "home".
In January of this year, I began thinking about my life and my goals. The things I wanted to accomplish this year and the steps it would take me to get there. I began journaling on a regular basis (you can read about that here). Through this I began seeking God in a more intentional way. There's just something about seeing your thoughts, ideas, prayers and dreams written out. It gave me a new perspective. The thought briefly popped into my head "This year something is going to change". Honestly, I brushed that thought off. I chalked it up to "being the New Year" and "of course there will be changes. It's called a new years resolution, so...."
A few months went by and that thought never went away. I couldn't pin point what that "change" might be, so I didn't really pray about it. I'm sure you've been there; "I'm going to wait until I have some more clarity on this thing before I take it to the Lord." HA! I laugh in my own face at that. God is a God of clarity, so why wouldn't I take this up with him, in the first place? Anyway, I continued thinking about it and pushing it to the wayside. I realize now, that I was afraid. I didn't want to acknowledge the thought, because I knew it might mean that I'd be leaving Tulsa. And well, that didn't seem right. That couldn't be right. I told myself when I moved here, that I'd be here for a while.
This next part is going to sound like a rabbit trail, but bare with me; it ties in, I promise. In February, I went to Shreveport, LA to attend a conference/gathering that my friend Jenny was putting on. (I wrote about the gathering here). Now, I've been to Shreveport before, because one of my very close friends Hannahbeth, lives there. But, this trip was different. We did outreaches with a local ministry and I got to see a different side of this city. Their sense of community and love for the people of Shreveport was something I've never seen. I left that conference and Shreveport excited and fired up about what they were doing.
Side note: Anytime I go on a trip I have PTS - Post Trip Sadness. I get so caught up in what's going on and the people I'm with, that it takes me a solid 3-5 days to recover, when I get back into the groove of normal life. So, naturally when I got back from this LA trip, I was sad. This very brief and fleeting thought passed through my head "I want to move to Shreveport!" I immediately wrote it off and said, "No WAY! Absolutely NOT! That's just the PTS talking."
BUT that thought never left. I kept thinking about it. Daily, it would come up in my mind and my heart and I would continue to write it off. I told myself that I'd give it a few more weeks, so that I could make sure it was a rational thought and not me just missing my friends.
It wasn't until one of my good friends Hannah, accepted a job in St. Louis, that I really got to thinking. It was May and we were sitting in her half empty apartment one night, before she left for MO. We'd been talking about her move and the changes that come with moving to a new city. I'd expressed to her that I was feeling like something was about to change for me, but wasn't sure what that even meant. I'd mentioned how much fun I'd had in LA, but just wasn't sure. And she said something that changed everything; "Holly, it's not wrong to think about moving. Or getting a new job." - So simple, I know! But, those were the exact words I needed to hear.
The days that followed were literally filled with thoughts of "I could move to LA." and an immediate counter thought of "NO WAY! You can't move there. You don't even have a reason to move there." and then "But, you could.....and you want to." and back and forth those thoughts would battle it out in my head.
How can I love where I'm at and also want to be somewhere else? I was so torn. I couldn't imagine not living in Tulsa. But, I also couldn't imagine not moving to Louisiana. Then the scripture James 1:8 came to mind "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." This hit me hard. Now, I'm not saying the only reason you should leave one place is because you hate it. I believe, if you're open, the Lord will change your heart and guide you to the next step, while still maintaining good solid relationships. I believe how you end one season is how you start the next. It sets the precedence for your next season. My love for Tulsa has not stopped, rather my focus and assignment has changed. And at the end of the day, we are all working together and serving one purpose. So, no matter where I live, be it in Tulsa or Shreveport, we're all on the same team!
One of the hardest things I've had to deal with through this whole decision is letting go of things. I have to let go of what people think of me. I have to let go of my job status and my standing in the church or with organizations that I'm involved in. At the end of the day I'm not my job, or my gifts or my bank account. I am a child of God that has a calling, to reach and love the people of the World and point them to Jesus.
I was afraid of what people would think of me when I told them I'd be moving. I knew they'd ask me "why?" And to be honest I didn't have a solid answer for them. I didn't have an answer that I deemed worthy enough to "justify" this move. But, I'm going to share it with you. Here is why I'm moving to Shreveport. Because I want to. Yep, you read that right. I'm moving because I want to.
That was such a hard thing for me to admit to God and to myself. Surely, that can't be right. I need to have a GOLDEN reason. Like a job, or a ministry, or something...anything. And you know what, I will have a job and a church and a community. And those are all godly things.
God has truly blessed these past few months. He's opened doors and made connections and I can not begin to tell you how happy and excited I am! God is so good. And through this time, that truth has become more real to me, than ever!
Tulsa has been such an amazing time. I've made some amazing friends and done some amazing things and I cannot wait to see what the future holds of those friendships. However, I am also so excited for what Louisiana holds.
So, to sum all of this up - I am moving to Shreveport, LA. I leave at the end/very beginning of August and will absolutely keep you updated on the coming months!
Thank you to everyone that has prayed for and believed with me during this time! I am so thankful to have such amazing and supportive friends and mentors that love and challenge me to think and dream bigger!
To Tulsa, I love you! You have been so good to me, and I am forever grateful to you!
To Shreveport, I'm coming over there, so can you please turn down the heat?!