Wow. It has been a while, huh?
After just reading all my old blog posts and sort of reliving everything from the past three years, I can say I am in an amazing place right now. It may not seem that way at first. But by digging a little deeper into the depths and opening doors that might not have been seen at a first glance, it is revealed that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.
And I can’t wait to tell you about it.
About a year ago when I last wrote you I was due to move to Arizona within the next few months and was dating a man I thought was right for me, and living with my family that I thought was constantly annoying. You could say things have changed. Except I made it here; to Arizona. Let me tell you. There is not one ounce of me that enjoys this heat but I am slowly learning that in order to make it through the hard things you have to magnify the better things around you. Whether it’s driving two hours away to a place where I can wear a scarf and a jacket, or enduring the heat to spend time with a friend in the pool. I ask myself constantly why I live here, when I might be leaving, what my reasons would be for staying, blah, blah. But the more I think about it the more I feel like I might be here a while. Three months ago I almost moved home. But I am so glad I didn’t. By faithfully walking through the valley I have learned more about myself and God that I wouldn’t have learned had I not pushed through the rough days.
Let me start at the beginning. It was honestly all Jesus because I had no idea what I was doing when I moved here. Young, naive, really stupid, it sounded fun to me to move to the other side of the country. Now I know that this is an example of God turning everything into good to further his kingdom. Which is exactly what he has done. Even though my ex and I didn’t belong together, God used that relationship to get me here and without it i wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. For a while when I first moved here I just nannied and… well did nothing. I was quite boring if you ask me. But even then, Jesus was working in my heart just by allowing me to be in his presence by living with women who love Him with an overwhelming, head over heels, home-run, outta the ball park kinda love. That was just what I needed. He provided me with my own personal John Avery Whitaker in the form of a woman. Who woulda known?? Her name is Tracey Beal, and she might be one of the wisest, kindest, most incredible individuals I’ve ever known, who’s love for God spreads like wildfire to everyone she meets. It’s been ten months now, and things are lookin’ up.
When I first moved here, everyone was so encouraging, telling me their stories of how it took them 2 or 3 years to find their real place in the community. And how the first year is the hardest. How the heat doesn’t actually get better every year. I had to push those comments out of my mind, because even though I didn’t know why yet, I felt so strongly about staying here and pushing through.
Now I know why.
Six months ago you might have asked me, “Taylor, why the hell (quite literally) do you live in Arizona, the hottest place on the face of the planet?” And I might have answered you, “Well, Fern, my boyfriend lives here, and last summer at camp one of the girls in my cabin told me that they needed a roommate, so I moved.” Actually that was my pre-programmed answer that I told everyone.
Now ask me again.
“Taylor, why in the heck did you move to Arizona?”
“Well, Fran, let me tell you…” Now I think I would go on to explain that I live here because God literally wanted to strip me to nothing to realize that I have to learn the ways He loves me. Not necessarily the ways I should love Him, but the ways He shows love to me. It’s down to just sand, cacti, and my raw unabashed heart. A couple of months ago a friend shared with me a verse that had been shared with her once before, and the verse was Hosea 2:14, which reads, “I will allure her into the desert, there I will win her over with my words of love.” Then, I realized that the Lord has been trying to catch my attention this whole journey in the most simple ways, yet I have been hesitant to open my eyes because I think I feel an underlying pull that things have to be complicated or harder to figure out in order to be true. But really all I need to do is make my heart available for transformation.
It has been a long road but I am finally putting the pieces together. If it weren’t for my own broken relationships, I wouldn’t be helping young girls pick up the pieces of their own broken hearts. I shouldn’t have so much experience in the things I do at this age, but it only strengthens me for where I am now and only broadens the spectrum of lives I am going to change in the future.
I have an amazing opportunity right now to work with middle school kids. I am part of a organization that is going to change Peoria, and these kids don’t even know it yet. I know I have been placed at the school I now work at, and in the lives of new people I have been meeting for even more amazing reasons then I now currently think. I can’t wait to be a part of everything God has planned.
My life is so different than I would have imagined it to be about a year ago. Just goes to show that nothing is set in stone. And thats just as it says in Psalms, “We can make our plans, but God chooses our steps.” Very true. I choose to move here, but God definitely is choosing what I am doing while I live in this place.
As I finish this up I am having a very pivotal conversation with one of my roommates. I know I am in a good place, I know I am doing good things. I am honored to get to share them with you.