I went to Houston last weekend.
I read that sentence and there is so much emotion wrapped up in it that I cannot even explain, certainly not in written form, but I will attempt it anyway.
Houston has been my home for the past 10 years. Houston is where I stepped out on my own. Paid my own bills. Found a church. Developed friends outside of college. Learned how to have "non-college" roommates (because you KNOW it's different!) Learned how to live alone. Became a teacher. Survived my first year. Became a better teacher...and a better person. Learned how to grow as a teacher. Lost some arrogance. Learned how to develop relationships with students' parents. Developed an even deeper love for people. Traveled abroad with friends: sometimes on vacation, sometimes chaperoning students, sometimes to show Christ's love to a hurting people. Went back to school. Figured out how to pay bills. Grew closer to the Lord through an intimate relationship with Him. Developed deep relationships with sisters in Christ who also desired to walk intimately with Him. Observed and lived through messed up relationships and learned from them. Observed and developed healthy relationships and learned from them. Saw friends get married and not be able to relate to singles any more. Lived life with friends who got married and were still my friend...and I was blessed to continue living life with them.
Houston is a place that is synonymous with so much in my life.
Moving away has been hard. I KNOW this is where the Lord has me. I KNOW I'm walking His path. That does NOT make it easy. The Lord does not promise His children a life of ease. He promises to walk through life with us. With His strength. As our...my... strong tower. I don't always cling to Him the way I should. The way He wants me to cling to Him. I am an errant child at times, stomping my foot on the ground, wanting things to be different.
At the moment, I don't think I'm being a tantrum throwing two year old. More of a 10 year old that understands this is the way things are, understands things will change eventually, but still, stubbornly, wants it to be different NOW.
I LOVED seeing all of my Houston friends last weekend. They are dear to me. I have lived so much life with them. But seeing them was hard, too. Because we don't live life together, anymore. We call. We email. We g-chat. But we don't have dinner. We don't go walking. We don't worship Him beside each other.
And that is hard.
I don't like it.
One wise and beloved friend said it best. "You lived with us for so many formative years. 20s are that. We were a part of that. And you were a part of our formative years. 30s are important too. There will be more forming. And we won't be as much a part of that." And we both cried.
My self-esteem has always been on the low end in regards to how others view me. The fact that she cried, knowing she missed me, knowing she valued me, knowing she DESIRED to be a part of my 30s, was a balm to my heart....and one I didn't realize I needed.
The Lord is stretching me. He is working. I am trying to unclench my fingers and let Him have more access. I mean, He has it anyway, why not struggle less?
Oh, stretching is hard. Lord, help me to lean on you.