Something started in my heart in about October. This craving. An unsettling. A stirring. Not so much a discontentment as it was a curiosity and realization that there was something God wanted for me that I wasn’t doing yet. It was just a little flutter in my heart…and on some days it seemed a lot more like a tsunami than a flutter. I knew there was a change coming. I knew there was something more God had planned for me.
Nashville started coming up in conversations. Just here and there. And finally I started putting the two together. I realized that maybe the stirring and the Nashville were one in the same.
So I prayed….for it to not be Nashville. Because honestly Nashville would break my heart. I wanted God to let me go home to Andalusia. I knew my parents and grandparents could absolutely use the help. I thought it was the logical move, the move that showed the most love of God through me. I didn’t know why a loving God would not allow me to go home to help my parents who have given and done so much for me. Surely my sweet God would let me go help my precious and overwhelmed parents. Not to mention, my parents are my two best friends, and I don’t have a bit of shame in saying that! It was the move that would have honestly made my heart the most happy upfront…the most comforted…the most peaceful…the least anxiety filled. I knew I could find a job in Andalusia, and truthfully I probably would have been happy if I would have chosen to go there. I also threw in the move to Panama City. Because that’s where so much family lives. I would have LOVED to have lived close to my GanGan. She’s literally the most precious woman to ever walk the earth in my opinion. She loves so well and so big. She is a constant giver of herself. Always there for each one of us no matter what or no matter how many times we cry over the same things. She’s a rock. Plus she is HYSTERICAL so living close to her would have filled my belly with deep, deep laughter.
So I prayed….prayers that sounded like this “Dear Jesus, please let me go back home so I can help my sweet parents or let me go live by my GanGan. But I guess if Nashville is really what you want then I’ll go”…..Seriously didn’t even mean the last part honestly, but I knew it was the “Christian” thing to pray.
God started stirring me and reminding me of Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple”. So I didn’t even know what verse that was and honestly kinda resented whatever Pastor that preached a sermon on that and burned it into my brain (okay…only very slightly resented them). But there it was, etched into my brain and written on my heart for me to have to dreadfully hash over and over in my brain. I’ll tell you this….it wasn’t a fun, happy, encouraging scripture to meditate on. IT SUCKED. IT HURT. And it let me know exactly what I HAD to do. Except I wouldn’t listen. I swallowed the sermon and did my best to throw it in File 9 (in third grade at Pike Road Elementary File 9 is known as the TRASH).
I wrestled with God and begged him. Literally begged him not to make me go so far from my family. B E G G E D. P L E A D E D. I told him I would do anything, just don’t make me leave them.
I think I always knew it was Nashville. I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. I kept praying for the others. Like really praying hard. HARD.
Then came January and February and the incredible pain….the overwhelming, drowning, miserable pain that it brought. The funerals and memorial services, the memories, and tears. I couldn’t even pray for a move because all I could muster up in my prayers was ‘help’. I hurt alongside some of the most precious teachers, friends, and humans a girl could ever know. I hurt with them, cried with them, tried to cope with them, and seriously leaned on them. There was no chance I could ever leave them now. I couldn’t leave this support system. I couldn’t leave them after the things we had faced together.
God was gentle to allow me to reach a point of stability before he pressed moving again on my very fragile heart. This time though, there were no other options. He fully pushed Nashville on me. And it broke me. All. Over. Again.
I remember verbally saying “why would you make me move all alone after I just went through so much hurt”…”why would you let my heart break again”…..”I can’t do this again”. The “whys” eventually turned back to “I’m not doing this” “I’m not moving away from my family and my friends”.
**And then it all happened. I had gone home to Andalusia one weekend. The whole weekend my heart was hurting because I kept saying “God, I can’t leave these people and not be able to come home all the time. It hurts.” I had cried myself to sleep the night before just from thinking of the sheer pain moving to Nashville would bring. And in my tears, I told God I needed him to give me a sign in a big way because a big sign would be the only way I could accept that it was really what he wanted.
I was standing on the edge of my parent’s back porch staring at the stars while I was waiting for Mac to do his business so we could go to bed. I’ve always loved the stars. They fascinate me. I have fallen more in love with them since traveling to other countries and finding wonder that I can be so far from home and yet be staring at the same stars. I find the most beautiful peace in knowing that my family from across the world see that same beautiful sight each night. It just gives my heart a little glimmer of warmth. So there I was admiring them. And I found that I couldn’t take my eyes off of this one little group of stars. Now let me back up and say that yes, I love the stars but I know NOTHING about constellations or their names. But there were these three stars that I could not get enough of. Mac finally finished his business and we went to bed. Nothing big right…..WRONG.
I drove back to Auburn the next day and I couldn’t shake those stars from my mind. I’ve looked at the stars a million times so I found this really, really odd. I try my hardest to look for God in the things that I can’t quite get over. So I tried to search for him in those. I became obsessed with trying to figure out which stars I had seen. I would go outside my trailer at night for a few nights and try to find them, but I couldn’t find them again for the clouds or the trees. I began googling the constellations, and I found Orion’s belt which looked the most similar to the stars I had seen.
At this point, I was pretty sure there was a reason that God had me stuck on this. So I really researched to try to find out why I couldn’t shake these. I found out that Orion’s Belt is one of the few stars named in the Bible. BUT GET THIS. In Job 38:31, God is answering Job in a way that shows that God knows infinitely more and purposes and plans all things. So it reads, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion”.
Okay, cool Ander, so what. YALL. GET READY. Orion’s belt is made up of three stars. These three stars are not on the same trajectory. They are constantly moving away from each other but since we are so far away we can’t see the change. But it’s been happening for years. God was saying that only he can cause them to separate just like only he can keep the stars of Pleiades gravitationally pulled together. So as I was reading and dissecting this, tears began to well up in my eyes.
Three stars. Me. My Family. My Work Family. Moving Apart. Me…I have to separate. Yall…..maybe it’s just me, but that blows my mind that God would take the time to use incredibly amazing things like this to direct a sinner girl that is doubting his goodness and running from his plans.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.
A week and a half ago, I was driving to Nashville to visit. I prayed the whole way there that God would continually give me a peace and an excitement for moving there because really all I felt was pain. I prayed, and I pretended to be Kari Jobe and have a full on worship concert in my little Toyota Corolla all the way from Birmingham to Nashville. I turned my radio down (because isn’t that what everyone does when they start getting into traffic so that it can help them drive???). And there is was……painted on the first overpass when you hit the Nashville city limits is the center of the Tennessee flag……three….stars…..together. And I knew. I know. That Nashville is where I belong. It’s where my stars align. It’s where my God has big plans.
(These three stars)
So here I am…..with honestly an incredibly broken and weak heart because even though I know it’s where I must go, it shatters my heart. It shatters my heart to know I’m breaking my parent’s hearts moving so far away. It shatters my heart to know that I have to start over. With making new friends. With a new job. With a new church. With new roads to navigate. Here I am with a month and a half until I move with a trailer in Auburn, Alabama that I HAVE to sell because I can’t afford to “live” in two places. Here I am with a month and a half until I move without a job in Nashville because God has told me no so far on all the doors I thought I was suppose to easily walk through….and without a Nashville place to live because who can find a home when they are a state away. Here I am….with hurt, with fear, with anxiety, but also with excitement and peace knowing my God would go to such extreme lengths to show his plan for me. It MUST be a stellar plan.
Here I am…even though things seem to be stacked against my odds…even though my heart is breaking…even though the details seem fuzzy…even though people are telling me I’m crazy…Here I am. Trusting you Lord. Leaning and Listening to Only You. Send Me. Use Me.