I looked in the rearview mirror with tears in my eyes as we crossed the county line heading north. At just 18 years old, I felt small yet confident in my decision to head to the University of Georgia. A few days later my parents would pull away and leave me in a one room dorm filled with stillness, expectation, and a little fear. My journey in Athens was just beginning, and I had no idea that nine years later I would be sitting in the same town in my own home with a husband, a cute little puppy, and a beautiful baby at my side. I never expected to put down roots in Athens, but that is exactly what has happened over the past few years. I’ve struggled and healed and blossomed in this place. I’ve felt the most lonely and the most loved while here. I’ve experienced loss and unbelievable blessings. And, of all things, this will always be the town where my sweet little boy came into this world. I write this with much nostalgia, with tears, and with a smile on my face. I truly feel all of the emotions as we prepare to say goodbye to a town that has sheltered me and allowed me to grow from a fearful teenager to a young woman and mother.
I fully believe that Jesus cares about place and our geographic location.
I’ve lived in only two places in my life, Douglas and Athens. In just a week, I will add a third place to the list. It feels absolutely wild to move with a newborn, to pack up the home I’ve spent the last two years creating and building. Yet, this a change we have earnestly prayed for and it’s happening in God’s perfect timing. You better believe I would have arranged the timing completely different, but every step of this journey has his divine hand upon it. Instead of being afraid…instead of packing up my house with resentment…instead of worrying about tomorrow…I feel fearless. That’s right. Little ole worrying me feels bold and without fear.
We’re coming for you Jacksonville!
When I met Jarred, he was carrying around two surf boards…in Atlanta. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I have a lifelong love for the ocean, and here I was dating a guy with surfboards in his downtown apartment in Atlanta. It doesn’t get much better than that. While dating, we always said that one day we would move closer to the coast. It was a dream we tucked away in our pockets for the right timing. Jarred was eventually transferred to an army unit in Jacksonville, making us sure that a move there would happen soon. It didn’t. He has spent a year and a half driving the six hours once a month. And when we found out we were having a baby? Well, we decided to put our house for sell and even looked at homes in Jacksonville. Yet, it didn’t happen and the pieces were in no way falling into place. We decided to remain content in Athens if this was the place the Lord had for us. At the beginning of August, Jarred was connected with a job opportunity in Jacksonville (in the most miraculous way), interviewed for the position, graduated from college, became a father, and accepted the job. It was the sweetest surprise and just in time. It all happened within two weeks!
Proverbs 24:3-4: “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Everyday we are packing up little by little and dreaming about the days ahead of us. I am selling many of our belongings and purchasing new items that truly inspire us. We will soon leave our 2,500 square foot house in the country and move to an apartment just over 1,000 square feet in the city. We have intentionally decided to live small for at least the next year and part with items that we do not need. This is a cause we have both felt passionate about for the past two years, and we are so excited to move to a smaller physical space. I have felt increasingly convicted about spending money on stuff, and we want to instead focus on experiences, adventures, and pouring into others. While life in our house has been comfortable, it has not challenged us. We have felt isolated from community and causes that we are both passionate about. We have truly felt like we were living for ourselves only. As we step out into this new adventure, we are excited to refocus, take on new experiences, and carry the name of Jesus to a new city. I have no doubt that the Lord has been preparing our hearts for this transition for the past two years.
I plan to share our journey of downsizing with you, including the organization and decorating of our new space as well as the spiritual aspect of the changes we are making. Jarred has even agreed to write and share as well (he’s secretly an even better writer than I am, but don’t tell him that).
I will always carry the memories of Athens with me and never forget the wonderful people that are now part of my story. I feel like I’ve been waiting a lifetime for the Lord to move me to a new city, and it’s here. It’s finally here!! As we transition, we could use your prayers for a few things: that our house will sell very soon, that my autoimmune disorder will take under control in a new climate, and that we find the community the Lord has waiting for us in Jacksonville. If you need me, I will probably be on the beach. Praise the Lord!