Sunday, January 29, 2017

Another Chapter Closing

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told."

I love this passage from Habakkuk 1:5. It has been a favorite of mine for years but this year it keeps showing up over and over again. When that happens, I know that the Lord is trying to tell me something.

I'm in the midst of another season of transition. My apartment is filled with boxes, the walls are blank, and it's beginning to feel less like home. In early December, after a lot of prayer, I accepted a job at an adoption agency in the Washington D.C. area. Since my lease wasn't up until the beginning of February, they have graciously allowed me to work remotely for them so that I could finish up things here in Tulsa, pack up, and finish out my lease. I am so excited for this opportunity at an agency I have always wanted to work for and in a city I have always loved. But with any new chapter beginning, another chapter has to close.

Reaching the decision to pack up my life here and move, was not an easy one. It was a week of wrestling back and forth with the Lord and a lot of tears. But once I made my decision to take the job, a peace that can only come from Him washed over me and even though I knew the upcoming months would not be easy, I knew it was the right decision.

For the past 6 months or so, I have had this strong pull to move closer to my family. As I get older, as I think about hopefully someday meeting that special someone, settle down, and raise a family, I want my parents and family near. I will still be 300 miles away from them, but it is a doable drive. Much more manageable than flying back and forth between Tulsa and Buffalo two or three times a year. I have missed out on so much because I've been so far away -- bridal showers, baby showers, graduations, retirement party's, weddings, and just seeing my siblings and watching my nephews and niece grow up. Family is important to me and I realized, I have one life to live and I want to live it closer to my family and be able to see them more often than I do now. I have lived 1,000 + miles from my family for almost 5 years now and quite honestly, I'm just ready to be closer.

The absolute hardest thing about leaving Tulsa this week, is leaving my friends. I was so blessed to meet some of the most incredible people in the first two months I lived here. I have loved doing life with them. They inspire me to be a better person and a better friend. We have laughed and cried together and they have been more then just friends here these past two years, they have been my family. I know that we will keep in touch, I know that I will come back to visit, but I also know that it is going to look different since I won't see them each week. As scary as that is to walk away from "your people," I also know that that the Lord has placed amazing people into my life no matter where I have lived -- whether it's Jamestown, China, or Tulsa, and I know it won't be any different in Virginia. The Lord has already opened the doors for a wonderful living situation for me in Virginia and I already have friends there waiting for me.

I spent 3 weeks in Jamestown for Christmas and New Year's to process, recharge, and re-focus, and flew back to Tulsa on January 7th to start packing and finish up some things here. I knew that it was going to be a challenging few weeks, but it became even more challenging when a week and a half ago, I was in a car accident on the highway and totaled my car. Not exactly what I had planned when I was moving across the country in less than 2 weeks!

But God is faithful. I have seen His hand at work so much this past week and a half there is no doubt in my mind that He is at work. From walking away from the accident without a scratch or bruise on my body, to the amazing rescue crew He sent, to my insurance claim going through in just over a week, and my parents possible already finding me another car -- God has been at work. There is no other explanation.

As I sit here in my bedroom for the last lazy morning in my apartment, I can't help but feel the tears of sadness coming on as well as the bubble of excitement for all that lies ahead. Is it going to be hard? Absolutely. Are there are going to be moments where I will question if I am making a terrible mistake? Of course. But I know when I am following my heart and the direction I feel that the Lord is leading me in, I know that it is never, ever a mistake. I know without a doubt that He called me to Tulsa, it was just for a shorter amount of time than I thought. He showed up big time here and I know He'll show up big time in Virginia. 

I am finishing up packing today and my Dad will hit the road this afternoon to start the 1,100 mile trek from Jamestown to Tulsa. He'll arrive tomorrow, we'll pack up the uhaul, and start driving back to Jamestown Tuesday morning for a few days before heading to D.C. 

  • Please pray for my Dad as he travels these next few days by himself. Being in a car is making me nervous these days anyways, but especially the thought of him driving that far by himself. 
  • Please pray for me as I pack up my cute little apartment and begin saying "see you later's" to some of my favorite people.
  • Please pray for my Dad and I as we drive across the country Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • Please pray for my transition to my new home and new job in Virginia next week.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8
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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas 2016

Praying that you all had a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year! I am finally getting around to uploading some photos to my computer and thought I'd share on the blog. It was such a nice Christmas here in the Johnson house, busy but fun spending time with family. Although all the siblings were not together in the same place at the same time this year, I was able to see all of my siblings at some point over the holidays. 

For the last few years, Kiah and I have done a sister picture and this year was no different! Although we didn't take the picture in our normal spot outside (we ran out of time before the Christmas Eve service), we did take it. I love look back at the pictures of us over the past few years!

Christmas Eve we had Seth, Cindy, and the kids at my parent's house which we have done the last few years. We missed Cael and Kristin (they came over on Christmas Eve Eve) this year but it was fun to have the rest of us together. Grandma Rich even made it over for the evening festivities!

One thing that is so hard about living so far away (thus my upcoming move!) is that I hardly get to see my nephews and niece and they are getting so big! Love watching their wonder and excitement as they open their gifts. Below, Micah is modeling the gift they gave Thaddeus -- a ninja mask and sword!

Praying that your Christmas was filled with family, fun, and remembrance of the reason for the season. I pray that you were able to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays and make memories with your families.

On this New Year's Eve, hard to believe that 2016 is coming to a close, but so excited for all that 2017 has in store! If you don't follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter -- my big news is that I am moving to Virginia in February! I will most more on that later.

Happy New Year's!

"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." (Isaiah 43:19)

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Friday, October 21, 2016

2016 Women's Retreat

Happy Friday, sweet friends! The temperature's are in the 40's this morning here in Oklahoma and it is finally beginning to feel like fall. Unfortunately it's going to be short lived as temps are supposed to be back in the 80's. Oh well, I'll enjoy the high 60's today while I can.

Over a month ago, I flew back to New York for the wedding of my brother, Cael, and his now wife, Kirstin. When I found out the wedding date, I realized that it was the weekend after a women's retreat at one of my favorite places on earth! 

Mission Meadows is near and dear to my heart. I grew up going to camp here for a week each summer and then was on the summer staff for my first three year's after college. I have had some of my most memorable encounters with the Lord at this place and it's very special to me.

The annual fall retreat is a gathering of women from several church's from all over. It is a fun weekend of worship, fellowship, and a great speaker. I attended the retreat in 2014, a time that was a test of faith and trust for me. I had moved back to the United States in July and was in the process of applying for jobs. I think the retreat was about 2 weeks before I applied for my job at Dillon!

The bell tower, where I spent many mornings drinking coffee with friend's during the summer months. The summer of 2008, I met here several mornings with 3 other ladies to drink coffee and pray for one another.

I had fun taking pictures as I reminisced about all the wonderful memories this place holds.

Me and my mama! We braved the rough waves and went kayaking. It was short lived since our arms were so sore from paddling against the waves but we did make it out when there was a break in the rain which was our goal.

It was such a wonderful, relaxing weekend spent with my mom and women from my home Church. I was sad to see the weekend come to a close although I was ready to sleep in a real bed again! Until next time, Mission Meadows!

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress."

Psalm 46:10-11
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

I'm Back

Photo Credit: Kiah Johnson

Hello, long lost blog friends! Where did I last leave off? Oh that's right, I was getting ready to fly to South Korea for two weeks, told you to check back on my blog for updates on my trip, and then..... I never wrote a single thing. That was June, friends. June! Four months ago! I used to be such a consistent blogger, especially when I was living in China. I'm not sure exactly what happened other than, when I don't take pictures of adorable children every day, life seem's less exciting to share. Life has become "normal." I go to work Monday - Friday, I hang out with friends, I read, I watch Netflix, and attend two Bible studies each week. Once in a while, something exciting may be thrown in there to switch up my routine a little, like a trip to Asia or back to my beloved New York to visit with friends and family. But other than that, life has been pretty routine. It's not the worst thing, just harder to find things to write about when you aren't gallivanting around on the other side of the world. But, one thing that Lord has been laying on my heart a lot lately is that "I still have a voice and a story to share." No, it may not be quite as adventurous as it used to be 3 years ago (side note, friends: I moved back to the United States over 2 years ago!! How did that happen?!), but it's still a story worth sharing. I love when my time hop previous blog posts pop up. It's so fun to re-live those memories and see all the ways the Lord has worked in my life. I miss that. He is totally working now, I just don't document it. And so, this is my attempt of "getting back in the game." I know, I know I've said that before and I'm not making any promises. I won't be posting nearly as often as I used to, but I would like to have several posts a month. Once a week would  be a victory for me.

So here go, back on this blogging adventure. The Lord has been teaching me so much lately and I can't wait to share it with all of you!

Happy Sunday, sweet friends!
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