I did a thing.
I jumped on a plane and moved to the PNW, the least likely place to find me. I love the sunshine. Like LOVE. I have a tattoo of it on my leg. My ideal location is the beach. Or any tropical-type oasis. The heat doesn’t bother me much, and I am a self-proclaimed “Winter Wimp”. So moving to a notoriously cold, grey and rainy part of our nation was seriously the most questionable choice I’ve made in a long time.
And I am amazed at how much fun I am having! Exploring and discovering a new place is fuel for creativity, gratefulness, and for me, it feels like a reset button. Living in Texas for the last several years has been great! In fact, it’s the most still I had ever been. My roots grew, and I’m proud of that. Roots are underrated. Texas felt more like home than most places, but even still, my nomadic upbringing leaves “home” a very relative term.
So now I am mastering public transit, hiking in the snow, and thrifting my way through Olympia, Washington. People have surprised me with their warmth and general interest in connecting with me. The coffee is PHENOMENAL. There are lots of folks standing up for what they believe in. It’s refreshing to see people living their convictions, even if I don’t always agree with them. The trees grow tall and green, the lakes are numerous. And if you’re on a special diet, this place can likely accommodate!
I spent the morning exploring downtown, viewing political statements posted in nearly every shop window. The big ones so far are: Black Lives Matter, various LGBTQ causes, Planned Parenthood, and Shop Local. Earlier, a couple of guys stopped me to talk about the dying bees and harmful pesticides big corporations are using that disrupt nature’s cycle and are making earthworms endangered. I do quite enjoy that so many here are interested in conservation and eco-conscious living, and I found the conversation pretty interesting.
Everyone talks about the summers here like Christmas is coming. Apparently I’m in for quite the treat when it warms up. It’s nice to have something to look forward to, but I’m finding myself enjoying my snowy strolls. The rainy grey will take some getting used to, however, the sun has peeked out almost everyday since I moved here! I take them as little gifts from the Lord.
I took a leap of faith to come out here. I decided and moved in just 2 weeks, via airplane! Let’s have a round of applause for fitting 100% of my belongings in 3 suitcases and a backpack! Many have asked “why Washington?”. The answer is complicated, or maybe its just really simple that it doesn’t seem to make sense. 2 years ago, a few of my dear friends moved to this area to work at a church. And over the past 2 years, the rest of that particular friend group, followed suit. I stayed behind, as moving to WA was not at all appealing to me, not to mention, Thailand was my top priority.
Fast forward through some difficult situations and intense heartbreak. After visiting Thailand for the second time, I knew that things were going to shift at home. It was confusing, because I assumed that if I was leaving Texas, it was to go to Thailand more permanently.
Surprise! A detour!
I realized that I am not healthy. Mentally or spiritually (or physically lol). I wasn’t “far from God” or “backslidden”. I was lonely, burdened, and dealing with an intense feeling of betrayal. I stopped believing that God was good, a belief I never thought I could doubt. I had seen the darkness, and though my head knew God was able to change it, my heart doubted His willingness. I grieved my Father in agreeing with this disillusion.
After 5 weeks of witnessing dehumanization and exploitation of children and women, I came home to a broken church, a broken home, and many broken hearts. I didn’t fully process, because I was thrown into survival mode. I didn’t feel anything until at least a month after I got home, and it came in spurts. I couldn’t control when it took over, and it affected my work and many of my choices.
I started to escape my funk about a month ago, but I recognized that something needed to change. I needed community again. Don’t get me wrong, I made many friends in Texas, and loved being a regular at a few establishments downtown. But I wasn’t being pushed or challenged or encouraged in my faith all that much. That’s not a dig at anyone, it was just my reality. I made an effort to visit churches and go to prayer meetings, but I was still dealing with significant church hurt. Even those new people who were truly reaching out and being so kind toward me, I couldn’t connect with. I guess starting over in your own town is just really hard. It’s like being a stranger at home, and it feels…sucky.
So I prayed about potentially moving to where many of my old friends lived. Friends who I knew always pushed me toward God. I feared I would look pitiful and desperate if I moved to be closer to them. I feared I would be perceived as foolish, a follower, not a leader. This fear was rooted in fear of man.
My landlord/roommate/friend decided to sell her home, and I knew I would need to find a new place to live. I had a few months notice, but I was nervous! I don’t have a car, and I have to live within walking distance from my jobs. That’s why I’ve had so many jobs, because I had to move so much! The housing costs had skyrocketed in that area over the last couple years, but minimum wage was still only $7.25. I was lucky to find a $9/hr job. And of course, would have to keep at least 2 jobs at all times, seeing as full-time labor is virtually non-existent anymore. My credit took a hit, and without making triple the rent, I wouldn’t qualify for any apartments. Rooms for rent started at almost $700 a month and finding anything less was going to be a task. So I freaked out. I texted my pals up north to put out feelers.
A few weeks later, my friends Andrew and Anya connected me with a guy named Jason. He and I talked on the phone and he made an offer I couldn’t refuse, (but still I was hesitant)! He rents out a 4 bedroom house to to 4 tenants of the same gender and calls it Discipleship House. It’s a personal ministry of his. He devotes time in prayer for each tenant and is well-connected, so he helps anyway he is able. The rent was extremely affordable and the house is in a safe area. The ideal tenant would be a believer who has a disability or is financially struggling and otherwise wouldn’t be able to qualify for housing. In the backyard is a wetland trail and a lake, and there is public transportation everywhere. It sounded pretty great, and with peace, I said yes!
What about Thailand?
Well, I assure you, I am still on that path. And fun fact: Seattle is listed as having one of America’s largest Thai populations. (L.A. is number one). I can take Theravada Buddhism classes at the local temple (this is for educational purposes, to learn the origins and core beliefs of the religion). I am looking for a Thai Language tutor, and there is authentic Thai cuisine on nearly every corner! An amazing “coincidence” is that Jason just happens to be the chair for Thurston County Trafficking Prevention! I am also planning on meeting a missionary family to Thailand this weekend! It seems God is lining up all the details, and I am pretty much just watching.
That’s how this entire move has been. Me just watching God do what God does. No striving, no stress, just letting Him guide me. As for a job, I was offered a job working with a local marketing team that wants to transform into a business as mission. The pay is fair, the hours are easy, and I will be learning a new skill! Let’s see how it goes!
I feel lighter. And in just 5 days, I have felt encouraged and challenged in my faith in ways that I can’t explain. It has been great seeing familiar faces and being part of bible study and worship times. My intellect is being engaged, as well as my heart. There are some details that I can’t yet share, that also have reassured me that I’m exactly where I need to be for now.
I have such hope for this next season. God is making me whole. He is preparing me to be sent out. I can finally breathe. I don’t have to fight… He’s just drawing me in, transforming me into the person I’ve always desired to be. I am no longer stagnant.
I am new!