In August 2008, my life was completely different than now. I was in a serious relationship, one that we both thought and hoped would lead to marriage. But more than that, I had then cancer-free family and friends and I still had my Granny. I had just started a great job back in Austin... and I was back in Austin! Apt 731 was originally a temporary fix to my living situation. By the time we were moving in, this "fix" had grown into a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. And, by the time we actually made the move, I was literally counting the days... waiting for my relationship to end. I knew that it was where God was leading us. He knew it too. We could both feel it. I even knew that Linda was God's gift to me. My life was about to change when we moved in... and He knew I would need someone to cry to, laugh with, eat with, live life with. My life, my heart, my knowledge, my everything was completely different in August 2008.
Linda and I moved this past weekend. We moved into a beautiful home that she purchased and she is blessing me with it in the process! One of our best friends, Molly, also moved in with us... and only a few days in, I have absolute joy over where God has brought us. When I went to bed on Friday night, our last night in Apt 731, I couldn't help but reflect, rejoice and be thankful for the journey God took me on while living in Apt 731.
Besides the ending of my relationship, my Granny, one of the most godly women in my life, passed away 3 months after we moved in. It was a heavy time in my life... and I certainly had my time on my knees just praying my way through the days and weeks. God allowed me those few months to just be... rest... and let's be honest, dwell. But, in November He began a work in me that hasn't stopped yet... He eventually kicked my butt off of the couch, blessed me with incredible opportunities to become friends with some amazing godly women and even begin being discipled. Over the next several months, my relationship with Jesus grew stronger, my love for Him became more intimate and I learned to pray "I trust You" with every breath I took... and take! I had the blessing of being baptized by my cousin, Blair, and best friend, Beth, in the apartment complex pool... surrounded by my family and friends!
God taught me, and continues to teach me, about idolatry, loving others more than myself, truly applying being a woman of God as a single, seeing the Gospel in everything I do and observe. He's increased my heart for the orphan, living FOR the city of Austin rather than IN it, being a prayer warrior and for all of the college students in Austin. He's brought me from some pretty low points, to exciting opportunities and lessons. He's helped me to see that absolutely NOTHING in this world is more important than Jesus, His Salvation and the Promise of living with my King FOREVER. He's shown me that absolutely NOTHING is out of His hands, He's the source of hope, trust, strength and rest. I have had to learn to let go and try to quit controlling situations. This past September, I learned in the same week that my PawPaw and my friend, Fran, both had cancer. I can honestly say that, despite my sadness over the pain my loved ones were having to go through, I loved being able to trust the fact that this struggle had a purpose for them, for me and everyone else that loved them. I'm not saying cancer is a good thing at all, but the journey through cancer has changed both of these people for the better... and it has helped all of us to love and serve better. And, I rejoice that BOTH PawPaw and Fran are cancer-free now! God is good. :)
At any rate, I could spend weeks writing down everything that I've learned while living in Apt 731. But, I feel like the best way to sum up my time living there is to label it as the place of healing. My broken, saddened and confused heart has been healed. There are two or three songs that every time I hear them, I cry tears of joy over the thought of my Granny singing among the Angels in Heaven at the feet of Jesus. A drive by the Capitol everyday gives me the greatest feeling of thankfulness of answered prayers and hope for those prayed that day. The view outside of my office window of the UT Tower makes me feel grateful to be apart of what God is doing at that campus. The laughter I share daily with my girl friends, makes me so incredibly thankful to have a family away from family. Between the beauty and the chaos of this life, I'm reminded of the faithful, eternal love of my Heavenly Father... and I am blessed. So so blessed.
With all of that said, I'm so excited about this new chapter. A new place to live. A new roommate. A new neighborhood. And many other new, "I have never thought I would ever do this" opportunities that are about to take place. (Of course, all of which I will blog about!) So stay tuned... because for some reason, I feel like He's just getting started!