Pit Stops

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

I considered sharing this news in several ways but decided that being direct was the best route.

We’re moving.

In mid-December, JJ got an offer for a position that he had applied for over the summer, and he decided to accept it. We’ll be moving to a small town around seven hours east of here in early March.

Although I’m happy we’ll be living within a couple of hours of my family in San Antonio, I’m saddened to leave El Paso for all the momentous highs and lows we’ve experienced here.

El Paso is the city that JJ and I moved to as newlyweds. It’s the city where I went mountain biking with him for the first time, we had countless of barbecues over the grill outside our first apartment, I spent numerous hours with a friend swimming in our apartment pool, and where I got a job as an interpreter that provided me the most breathtaking view of the Franklin mountains each morning I drove to work.

It’s the city where JJ and I discovered that we were going to be parents and where we attended birthing classes and began to prepare for and anticipate life with a little baby. It’s also the city where our baby boy was finally born, where I became a stay-at-home mom, and where we discovered the hardships and joys of having a newborn and then a toddler who is now almost four.

JJ and I bought our first house here and turned it into a home, and we’ve seen a lot of firsts here ever since. First steps. First words. First holidays as a family.

It was here in El Paso that Liam was admitted to the hospital for a couple of nights and diagnosed with an illness that caused him to be on medication for nearly an entire year. Much of my social life was stripped away from me during that time as JJ and I sought to protect Liam’s immune system as best as we could. But it was also here where God blessed me with incredible friendships during that period of time. One friend came to visit weekly, and another group of dear friends came monthly for a Saturday afternoon potluck. I came to realize how life-giving friendships could be during that time, and I’ll forever be grateful to these friends (and others) for how they helped to bring me through a rough year.

It is here where, after Liam fully recovered his health in December 2019, we entered into the pandemic with the rest of the world a few short months later. Despite all the restrictions life threw us at that time, however, my friends and I still found ways to connect, doing Bible studies together or baking and doing crafts together online. And then there were the drop-offs of baked goods or presents to each other at our front doors in 2020. We connected even more deeply over our shared hardship, and God used these challenges to cause us to experience spiritual growth.

As I remember all the epic moments that my family and I have personally experienced here thus far and all the beautiful reconnections of 2021, I recognize how much God has both blessed JJ and me and stretched our faith as He has taught us to trust Him more deeply. Much like the actual wilderness that El Paso is, God has brought us through a wilderness experience in our spiritual journey here these last few years. We’ve been reminded more profoundly that He is enough and that He is faithful. As uncomfortable as our journey has been at different points of time here, He has continued to provide for us and to remind us that He has journeyed with us every step of the way.

When I think about all of the incredible moments that my family and I have experienced here in El Paso, a popular saying comes to mind. All good things must come to an end. Fortunately, as believers, we know that this phrase is not really true. As much as this good thing of living in El Paso is coming to an end for my family and me, another popular phrase rings truer for those of us in Christ Jesus.

The best is yet to come.

The truth is, any place in which we make our dwelling in this life is only a pit stop on our spiritual journey here on earth. Our Forever Home awaits us, and we know that only what is good and true and pure will welcome us in that place.

As my family and I begin to pack and prepare for this next move, and as I deal with my own uncertainties and fears in the process, I am comforted to remember that this next place is only a pit stop on this road trip of life. Furthermore, it brings me greater comfort to know that God has placed this specific town on the map of my own spiritual journey. He knows exactly how He will provide for my family and me in this new town, and He knows what treasures we will unearth there and the friendships we will gain.

As bittersweet as it is to say farewell to El Paso and our friends here and everything this place has represented to us, I trust that God is leading our every step to this new place, and I trust that He is good. So, we will move forward by His help and through His strength, looking forward to all that He has in store.

The Adventure Begins…

He has been inviting me on a journey all along…

It finally feels like Fall here. The air is crisp and chilly, and even though I live in the desert where the leaves don’t change colors and fall, a couple of days ago I had an image in my mind for much of the day of a narrow, well-worn dirt path nestled between lush trees in various hues of red, orange, and yellow. And as I looked at this scene, I sensed God whispering into my heart, beckoning me to go on an adventure with Him.

I am pleasantly surprised by the prospect. I wasn’t expecting this, although I know I should have been as I look back over the past months of this year. He has been inviting me on a journey all along, but because of painful circumstances months prior, I had been unwilling to go on it with Him. The events that shrouded the beginning of this year made me fearful and doubtful, and they made me question if I could trust God’s goodness fully. These thoughts began a personal tug-of-war with God with my fists clenched tightly around any semblance of control I had left and tugging for more.

Much of this year has been spent that way, with more circumstances arising to show me how little control I have. And yet I have tried to hold onto and control whatever little thing I could despite it all.

But God has been so patient with me. He has continued to speak to me through books and Bible studies I have been reading of women who have been on their own spiritual journeys much longer than I have, and He has been reminding me of the life He has intended for me all along—one filled with His Spirit and overflowing with abundance. And so today He has extended the invitation once again, whispering it deeply into my soul. Will you go on an adventure with Me?

Although I have waited so long to respond, the invitation is still the same, with only perhaps a change in scenery to allow for this season (most literally) in which I find myself.

I could see a few leaves fall lazily to the ground in my mind as I pondered the image of that day once again. Although it was a cloudy, chilly mid-afternoon in my thoughts, there was something so cozy about the beginning of this journey. Perhaps it was the warmth I felt as I waited in anticipation for what was ahead. But even more so, it must have been knowing that the LORD had gone before me and was going with me. He had prepared this journey for me to the very last detail, and He would take delight in showing me what all He had in store for me. After all,

“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I Corinthians 2:9 ESV

As I begin this adventure, I have decided to “take along” this blog with me. Recently I was reading in my Bible study about how important it is to remember what God has done for us throughout our lives. This blog is my monument—my way of remembering what God has done for me as I look back on what I’ve written here in the years to come. I can’t be certain what all this blog will entail, but I look forward to discovering what all God has in store and eagerly await to share the insights and events this adventure holds for me right here. This will be my monument of praise to the very One who is orchestrating all that is to come.