Those of you who've followed along for awhile know we recently moved to Jackson, Mississippi. Chris took a second year-long judicial clerkship to follow the one we just finished in Austin, and it's my very first time living out of the state of Texas – firsts for both of us to live in the true South. I wanted to record this moment in time because I know what a sweet ebenezer it will be to myself and our family years down the road.
We're almost six weeks into our year in Jackson and really feeling so at peace. That alone is miraculous to my heart. The move to Austin I expected to be somewhat smooth, and, truthfully, it plunged me right into depression. So naturally, I expected a move to a state I'd never spent time in, far away from family and the friends we've had, to be even tougher. This unexpected peace is truly past my understanding (Phil. 4:7) and I am flooded with gratitude for it.
I'll be honest that when I first found out that we were moving to Jackson, I wasn't too excited. I truly knew nothing about the city and hadn't considered the reality of what living in another state would be like. A few places Chris looked at applying I had tried to imagine – New York City, mainly because it scared me – but Jackson wasn't high on my radar. Upon finding out, I began to do my usual research on Google and came up somewhat empty. I didn't know what to expect.
Thankfully, God put people in our path to help light our way. A previous clerk in Jackson connected with Chris and graciously advised us on neighborhoods, churches, and things to do. Chris also got connected with one of his future co-clerks, who is from the area, and she even did a few drive-by's on rental properties we were considering. We were so humbled and encouraged. God was already assigning people to come alongside us.
Once we found out we were expecting, I teetered between feeling sad about having our first baby so far away from family and friends and feeling waves of peace. God's timing is nothing but perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:11). If this is when He determined for us to have our baby, He would provide whatever we would need. Including a village. Which He is already actively building before our eyes.
We've met and formed deep bonds with so many sweet friends here already. I'd like to think part of that is from having done this before – moving to Dallas and moving to Austin were both difficult transitions and we knew it would take Chris and I jumping in bravely to form friendships. But my heart knows the truth is that God has been lining these relationships up for years (1 Corinthians 2:9). The connections have been mind-blowing – I had not one, but two friends tell me, "My best friend from high school lives in Jackson. You will love her! Here's her number." A couple Chris and I knew from college moved to Jackson just a month before us to begin an ENT residency. A girlfriend back in Dallas is from Mississippi and had so much great advice to share. It's comforting knowing she has family close by. Chris has three co-clerks this year, two more than last year's clerkship, and we've had so much fun getting to know them. Every one has had such open hearts to us, the temporary people, that Satan tells me, "No one will feel any kind of urgency to get to know you. They'll blow you off immediately because you're not staying." God has squashed his lies again and again. These people have literally been the hands and feet of Jesus to us and have loved us well.
Something small and sweet that has been special to me is a cultural difference – people here are incredibly willing to introduce themselves. I've begun taking Penny on daily walks and if someone else is out walking who we haven't met yet, they will literally change their path of direction to come meet us. Brittany from two years ago would've had this happen once and vowed never to walk Penny again – the dreaded social interaction! The social anxiety! Strangers! Now, every time it happens, I hear a soft whisper to my heart, "See, beloved? You are not alone." (Isaiah 41:10) I am endlessly thankful, over and over again, at how my Father knows the details of my heart cries to intimately.
He continues to call me to have hope. To be expectant of the work He's doing in us and through us here. Some of it could be painful. All of it will be full of glory. (Isaiah 58:11)
And so, all glory to our heavenly Father who saw our tears, who heard our cries, who placed people in our life specifically to come alongside us. Thank you, Father!