Austin felt like home

I’ve been writing this post in my heart for so many months so it’s surprising to me that I don’t actually know where to even begin now that I am writing it in real life. I want to say all the best and right words to convey what I’ve been praying about and mulling over for 21 months.

Just a little less than two years ago, I went to Texas for the first time. I was part of a book launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love. Through the launch team, I met some of the most amazing people and made some lifelong friends. Texas was hot, so very hot, and whenever I talk about that trip I inevitably tell stories about being car sick or throwing up in the bushes outside our Airbnb and then going inside and eating a cupcake. I was hot, sweaty, and sticky for all three days I was there.

But I loved every second of it.

The people I was with made it the most incredible experience. We stayed in an incredible refurbished barn and crammed 15 or 16 people each day and night into impossibly tiny places where we at bacon, prayed for our friends, cried together, and laughed so hard. When I left Texas, I burst into tears as soon as my plane began to taxi and continued to cry so hard that when we reached cruising altitude, a flight attendant came over to make sure I was okay.

What can I say? I feel everything very, very deeply.

I was ready to move to Austin then and there. I mean, I was ready. I got this little bitty idea in my head and I was ready to see it through.

I not only feel everything very deeply, but I’m about as Type A as they come. Get an idea in my head? I’m ready to stay awake for 5,931 hours to see the project to completion.

Nothing happened. I prayed that if I wasn’t meant to live there, that God would take away that yearning from my heart. I asked my mentor Deeann to pray for that, too. God didn’t take away the desire, but He slowly began to help me understand that it was a someday dream, not a “right now” dream.

I went to Austin again just a few months after that first trip. This time it was February and it was significantly colder. Again, I loved it. I made a friend at the church I was visiting that day — a friendship that began because a stranger obeyed God and came over to pray for me. We talked for a few minutes after church and I told her all these random things, like how I wanted to move to Austin but I didn’t know when or why. She had a similar story of leaving California and coming to Austin.

As I left that weekend, I spent more time on the plane crying. I emailed Jaclyn, my friend who I’d met at church a few days before, to thank her for her time and prayers. I also friended her on social media. She wrote me back and said, “My husband also said we’ve got two extra room so if you make it out here and need a place to stay while you get started you know where to find us.”

I WAS SO READY. I even applied for a few random jobs, but none of them felt right, and even thought I couldn’t shake wanting to go to Austin and to be present, I also couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t the right now.

That is a hard thing for me to feel. I mean, HELLO I AM SO TYPE A. By this point, I’d already been waiting about six months and it felt like a lifetime. I had dinner with a friend not long after I returned from this February trip and she said, “Did you love Texas or did you love the experience?” Her words were so wise and they really made me pray even more about it.

Yes, I loved the experience.

But for a girl who spent a lifetime saying she could never leave California, I sure wanted to be in Texas badly.

I identified the main thing holding me back: I have always gotten to take Charisse to school on the first day and I’ve picked her up on the last day. It’s been one of the most special gifts of my life, to have those days with her, and I know it’s coming to an end when she starts high school and rides with mama. My heart was so sad at the thought of leaving before she finished middle school and not being able to come back and do drop off and pick up on the first and last days of 8th grade.

And then I had this epiphany a few months ago:

I could begin to see that hesitation, that very specific desire to be here for my sister-girl, as a timeline from God.

I could begin to plan on moving to Austin after Charisse finishes 8th grade.

You guys. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I could have both, I saw. Both! One wouldn’t be more important that the other.

So I kept my little secret to myself. I began to pray about it, and the more I prayed the more God gave me the peace that this was the right thing to do.

I went to Texas last week for another book launch party. I hung out with these amazing women all weekend.

Me, Michelle, Annaliese, and Kate. Never have I felt so tall in my life.

Some of my best people

We stayed up obscenely late and laughed so hard that I felt sick. We cried and prayed together again. We kayaked and ate lunch in the city and I realized: Austin felt like home.

Journaling in a Texas rainstorm

My friend Jen, who started it all

So I made a decision: it was time to let my secret out of the bag. I came home from an incredible, God-filled weekend and I started telling people.

I am moving to Austin.

I have my boss my 14 months’ notice.

I’m moving to Austin next summer.

I told my family.

I made a decision — next summer is when I plan on moving.

And my heart feels so light.

There’s a lot I don’t know — and the Type A in me is crippled at that thought — but I’m moving to Austin in the summer of 2018.

Few things in life have felt so right. It definitely feels scary, but right.

I wanted to share this with you because I want to share about the experience and the process. So many things I don’t yet have the answers to, but I am trusting God, who has walked with me through this whole journey.

I’ll find a job.
I’ll find a home.
I’ll find a way to come back for friends and for every single important thing Charisse does.
I’ll make friends.
I’ll figure Texas life out.

Y’all, I’m moving to Austin. And there is such freedom in telling you and saying it out loud after 21 months of having those words trapped inside of me.

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