Home is Where the Heart Is

Six months ago I was caught between two worlds. I wanted to go but at the same time I wanted to stay. Our family of four was planning to move from Deep in the Heart of  Texas to the Magnolia State of Mississippi. The almost move – a symbol of rejection, heartbreak, despair, and new beginnings – caused a battle between the things and the people and I love the most.

Friends vs Family.

City vs Country

College Writing Instructor vs  Marketing Strategist

The Dream of Happily Ever After vs the Reality of Joy and Contentment

God’s Plan vs. My Plan.

Last summer, three things happened within days of each other that sent our family in turmoil: 1. Violence Struck the City of Dallas, 2. The relationship of six years I was in ended, and 3. My ex-husband was diagnosed with a serious illness. During the month of July, I was either crying my eyes out or allowing the numbess and despair to take over my life.

August was a breath of fresh air because it gave the children and me the opportunity to get away. A weekend in Mississippi with family was just what the doctor ordered for our sadness. For four days we relaxed, we laughed, and we felt loved and most importantly, we felt safe.

Tyra and I at our family reunion at the end of a hot day where we forgot what plagued us and chose to enjoy the happy moments.

The days following our fun-filled weekend were full of buying school supplies, attending meet-the-teacher nights and making preparations of the upcoming school year. We were thankful for the opportunity to take our minds off of what ailed our broken hearts, we secretly longed to be around our family in Mississippi. If you need a tutorial on my love for the state of Mississippi, read this.

My little cousin and I in Mississippi during the family reunion weekend.

At our annual back-to-school family meeting where we discuss goals, bedtimes, and expectations for the new school year, one of the kids mentioned my career. In 2015 I made a huge change to follow my passion as a writer. I did have a part-time job teaching writing that gave me bit of an income, but the remainder came from blogging, freelance writing, a few photo gigs here and there, and social media management for small businesses. That night at our family meeting, the kids were interested in knowing what my goals for the new year were.

I announced to the kids that I love being a writer, but it looked like I was going to need to find a full-time job. I was commited to working in marketing and writing, but I was scared that my part-time/ freelance status was not going to be able to support us in light of my ex-husband’s illness. The prognosis did not look good for his health, and in addition to helping the children cope with what seemed like the impending death their father, I felt the need to plan for the worst financially in a world without child support or health insurance for the kids.

That should have been enough to seek God’s plan for me, but I thought He was moving too slow.

I reluctantly started applying for full-time jobs in the Dallas area.

After about six weeks of an intense job seach that resulted in a few interviews but no offers, I decided to expand my career search options. I talked it over with my ex-husband and then with the kids.

Notice I never said I talked it over with God.

I was going to explore the possibility of moving to Mississippi.

College friends were thrilled and started the job and house hunting from their end. The cousins were excited as we planned all kinds of high school football games and events we could attend together. My parents – who live in Chicago but travel to Mississippi often – were even excited for this new possibility.

A possibility for me to live close to my family for the first time in about 21 years. A possibility for my kids to experience high school with their cousins. The possibility for us to be surrounded by love at a time we felt hurt and rejected.

So I started applying for jobs in Mississippi. Almost instantly I started receiving calls for interviews. I had first interviews and second interviews and by mid-October it looked as if we would be moving before the end of the year. I started comparing school districts and weekend trips to Mississippi were happening to look at places to live and meet with school counselors.

As far as the kids and I were concerned, this was going to happen. The time was right to start telling our Dallas friends what was going on. Many of those conversations did not go well because our Texas peeps simply didn’t want to see us go. To them, Mississippi was an unknown land that would take away the people they love. To us, this move needed to happen to keep our sanity.

After the inital job interviews and announcements to friends and family, the job hunting seemed to slow down tremendously. “My plan” was to take the first load of my things to Mississippi during Thanksgiving. By the time we were ready to go, I didn’t have a job prospect in sight and I told the kids I didn’t think this move was going to happen.

There were tears.

And more tears.

And even more tears.

As a sign of mourning for the move, they wore college hoodies daily from schools in Mississippi.

Alcorn State University is only one of the schools we represent. Any given weekend, I could be seen in a Tougaloo College or Jackson State University shirt as well.

I sent a lot of sad-faced emojis to Mississippi cousins and friends.

And then I just stopped talking about it. (I secretly held out hope that something would come through, but reality had already started setting in.)

So, feeling defeated, unloved, and rejected, I applied for one more job in Dallas. Without even thinking about what this job would mean if I got it, I applied. As soon as I sent my resume and cover letter, I said one prayer, “Please let me know if I’m on the right track with this.”

After three months into the job-hunting process, I finally sought help from The One who could help me the most.

Two days later I had phone interview #1. The next days were filled with more phone interviews. Eventually an in person interview was scheduled and before we all knew it, I had a job.

My dream job. Here’s why:

I manage social media for a large faith-based organization.

I am working with people who have worked in marketing consistently for the past 15-20 years. This means I’m able to learn all that I lost when I was exclusively working in higher education.

I read books by one of my favorite authors (for marketing and social media  content ideas) regularly.

A bible (sometimes two or three) is on my desk prominently displayed.

I write about Jesus all day.

I’m able to still teach part-time at the college.

I do not feel overwhelmed with life by the time I pick the kids up from school at 4:30. Maybe it’s the job, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been studying God’s world consistently for several hours by the time I start mommying again. I think we all know it’s the latter of the two.

I still have time to blog.

I am doing life and work and church with some of the coolest people on the planet. Despite being a large organization, I feel a huge sense of community there.

Honestly y’all, it doesn’t get much better than this.

His plan wins.

 

Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post. If you are feeling hurt and rejected, it’s helpful to seek God first. This book by Lysa Terkeurst can help you. And if you learn nothing else from me today,  remember the nugget that I almost missed out on – His plan always wins.

 

 

 

 

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