It has been one year (to the day) since I moved away from my family, my friends I have known for 13+ years, and my church where I had been helping lead worship at for 11 years.
For those of you who do not know in the Fall of 2014 I was asked by Mark and Amy Calkins (the Pastors of a church plant, called Face to Face, in Harrisburg, PA) to consider moving to help them church plant and be the worship leader. I am pretty sure I thought of every excuse in the book why I shouldn’t (all fear based). I know it was a divine connection (due to the crazy circumstances of my meeting them) and Jesus really confirmed in my heart to jump on this opportunity and commit.
So, after running out of excuses I said yes and moved a few months later on February 20, 2015. To say that this year has been hard would be a lie. I thought moving was going to be hard-leaving everything I knew to move to a city I didn’t know, people I barely knew, and missing my best friend and my family. However, this year has been absolutely amazing. I cannot even say that enough. Yes, I miss my family and my bestie. Yes, I miss people back home. But, I have found that moving was THE best decision for my life. Coming into a church plant can be hard work sometimes but I have found an intimacy with the Father in this setting greater than I have ever known. I have also had the honor of being entrusted with this position and have been given the freedom to allow my prophetic worship side to come out to a greater level.
I am in tears as I write this next part. It may seem sappy but it is the honest to goodness truth.
Mark and Amy Calkins welcomed me into their home, their church, and their lives with open arms. They saw so much inside of me when I was going through the absolute darkest season of my life. A time where I felt like I was spiritually and emotionally drowning every single day. They have pastored me, befriended me, encouraged me, given me wings to fly in worship, allowed me to make mistakes and love me through some ugly rants. Mark has fathered me with a loving heart and between him and Amy they have instilled in me a passion for community, a culture of love and honor, and the importance of respect. Face to Face church has been more than a church….it is the safest place for me to be myself, to express my heart and not be afraid of judgement or being “swatted down”. It is a place where I have been encouraged to explore my prophetic gifting and given a place to practice it. It is a place of community, love, and safety at its finest. I cannot say enough good things about Mark and Amy and our church. Just, so much good.
About 2 weeks after moving here I was hired at Destiny Image Publishers and absolutely love my job. I love getting to read manuscripts and book proposals and find the gems and getting to call a potential author and tell them we are going to publish their book. I love being able to find new authors and help give them a voice and a platform for their message. It is one of my greatest joys to see other peoples dreams coming true through my job and being able to facilitate that.
This year I also got to go out to Bethel Church (in Redding, CA) for Leaders Advance. Originally, I had declined going because of conflict in work schedules but Amy numerous times would say, “I really feel like you’re supposed to go on this trip” and it worked out that I could go! That trip was a life-changing, future defining week for me. Iwent through a SOZO session and later that day Mark invited me to go with him to meet his old Pastor when he was in BSSM, Sherri Downs, and his friend Rachel Day. While were visiting with them the two of them ended up prophesying over me and their words brought so mcuh affirmation, confirmation, and healing. Kind of a funny story here…right after that meeting Mark, Jeremy, and I went to get dinner while Jim saved us seats for the night session. I ordered my food and while I was waiting for it the Lord brought back to mind the words that were spoken over me that day and well, I ended up bawling my eyes out all through dinner. I was so overcome with the knowledge that God knew me, and saw me, I couldn’t stop crying…in a restaurant! What’s amazing is the next night we had dinner with Tom Crandall who ended up prophesying over me pretty much the EXACT same things that others had told me the week at Bethel. It was amazing. That entire week was beyond life changing. The idea that God sees me and knows me still overwhelms me when I sit down and just think about it.
On another good note, I moved into my first apartment in August. I have always either lived at home or had roommates and for the first time I have a great apartment and live by myself and I love it.
Another good thing while I am at it…God has brought this amazing girl into my life this year. Anna Smith…gosh, I love her. Right after I moved Anna and I clicked and we ended up living together for a few months and I just connected with her on such a real level. She got engaged to an incredible dude in May and they asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding in October. My friendship with Anna and Matt is one of my favorite and I love that I get to be myself with them and they get to be themselves with me. It’s great having people you get to do life with. We live about 50 minutes away from each other currently but we make it work and it is awesome. I am so grateful for Matt and Anna. Outside of Mark and Amy, they are probably two of my closest friends 🙂
So, basically this year has been amazing. I am so blessed!
I am floored sometimes by the shift that was made when I was obedient to God’s call to move. It terrified me, honestly. But, it has been nothing but great things and even more on the way!
Thanks to all of my friends and family back home who have supported me, kept in touch with me, and encouraged me through this year and thanks to all of the friends and church family I have here…I love all of you so, so much!
Here’s to another year of awesomeness!