I like to journal to God about what’s going on in my life, how my day was and/or how I’m feeling. This time I thought I’d share it with you all. People have been asking me how I’ve been doing since moving to Los Angeles, below is a long answer to that question.
One week after moving away from Phoenix I find myself back in the valley of the sun for a very short 55 minutes. I’m flying to Chicago for a wedding and out all of the cities in the country to have a layover in I end up in Phoenix. As I looked out the window at the valley as we landed I was reminded of how wild this past week has been. And while at first I was annoyed that You’d bring me back to Phoenix for a teasing 55 minutes I am now thankful because it allowed me to reflect on the past week. And let me be the first to tell you that it was a draining week spiritually and emotionally.
It all started last Sunday when I allowed myself to cry the most I ever have in my entire life (at least that I can remember). Before getting on the 10 freeway to head to Los Angeles I attended the church that I’ve grown to love so much for the last time as an Arizona resident. I cried when I made eye contact with anyone that I’ve built relationship with and/or knew for multiple years. I cried when the preschoolers that I served, taught, played with and love gave me the biggest hugs goodbye. I cried during praise and worship as I was thinking about how good You have been the past four years, aka the desert season. And I cried whenever I talked and hugged the amazing couple that humbly lead me and our church body. To sum all that up, I cried for almost three hours straight at church.
And then there was the drive to Los Angeles, nothing but the hot desert, never ending 10 freeway, Jesus jams and all my thoughts and emotions. I went back and forth of being annoyed that You had me moving back to Los Angeles and being so thankful for how good You were to me during the desert season. I thought about how the life of my church, “my” preschoolers, campus ministry and friend groups will go on without me. And I pondered why You would let me experience all this goodness just to have me say goodbye to it all.
As the week went on and as I settled into the room that was my brothers while growing up, it hit me that I am in Los Angeles permanently. Yesterday, while spending some time with my dad he reminded me that it’s been 11 years since I lived at home, minus the 1.5 years I was home to raise support. I think that’s what makes the move so hard, so much life has taken place since I was 18 and I’m basically starting over. And let me tell you, I don’t like it. I’m usually all for new beginnings and new adventures but it’s hard when I just left something that was so good. I don’t want to find and make new friends, I want the friends that I’ve been doing life with in Tempe/Phoenix. I don’t want to go searching for a new church, I want the church that has become a home to me in Tempe. But at the end of the day, it’s not about me and it never has been.
Just before writing this, I was reading in Luke where Jesus was preparing Himself and His disciples for the suffering He was about to endure. Whenever I read Luke 22:42 I always feel challenged and convicted in some type of way, today I read it with a very different perspective.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42
Jesus was asking You to take the pain, suffering, torture and death that He was about to endure away from Him. Jesus knew exactly what was coming, there was no wondering about it, and at the same time He knew He had to endure it all. He was surrendered to Your will and not His own. For Jesus surrender to Your will was greater than a life void of excruciating pain and agony.
Through Your sons death and the outpouring of His blood came so much life and freedom because of what came next, resurrection. Resurrection and the power that it brings provides life and hope where there is none. I and all of Your children are able to live an abundant life because of Jesus’ nevertheless to You. He wanted You to remove the cup, nevertheless He surrendered to Your will.
Oh how I would’ve loved to stay in Arizona at least one more year. To spend more time with friends and deepen those friendships. To see my little sisters worship Jesus in and out of their sports during their senior year of college. To partake in crazy shenanigans with my friends while creating memories that will last forever. Nevertheless, I want to be walking in Your will Lord and not my own.
As I grieve and mourn my life in Arizona I know three things. One, the pain that I am feeling is absolutely nothing compared to what Jesus experienced on earth. Two, I know that You want me to feel and to express what I am walking through no matter the type or amount of pain. And three, I know and believe that I too will taste and see Your goodness in Los Angeles.
So while I hold on to those truths, I also hold on to hope. I have hope that I will make and build great, life-long friendships in Los Angeles. I have hope that I will find an amazing church home that will feel like a second home. And I have hope that You did not bring me back to Los Angeles just because You have the power to. But because You have a great purpose for me to walk in that could only be accomplished by me moving to Los Angeles.
Today, as I sat in the Phoenix airport during my layover I so badly wanted to exit the Phoenix airport and go continue living my desert season, go live life as if I never left. Nevertheless. Nevertheless I will surrender to Your will even when it’s hard and painful. When the doubts and questions arise as I continue to transition to this new season of life I will remind myself of Jesus’ words, “nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42).