I’m sitting here in my favorite coffee shop on my favorite street in Nashville, just watching the hustle and bustle of a Saturday afternoon in December. The shop is decked out in Christmas decor, and there is so much laughter going on around me. And it is here, that I feel more at home than ever. So far I’ve seen three dear friends and indulged in conversations full of Jesus, hope, grace, and the assurance that my time away from this city hasn’t weakened the soul ties I have here.
This is my city.
Before I ever even moved to Nashville, I had an inkling in my spirit that I was going to someday end up here. And I did. While life eventually carried me away to Jackson, Mississippi where I currently reside, my heart stayed put right here: captivated by this city. With each and every moment that is passing during my weekend here, my heart grows fuller and fuller. You know that feeling you get when you can take a deep breath and exhale, and everything just feels…right? That’s what this is.
I came to Nashville this weekend for the purpose of making amends to different people I harmed when I was active in my addiction. As I work through the steps in my recovery program, this brings me to the 9th step. Owning up to my actions, admitting my selfishness and inconsideration, seeking to right the wrongs- y’all it’s freeing. It’s beautiful.
I’m in a long-distance courtship with a man who lives right here in Nashville, but until I finish the 12 steps in my program, we have agreed to only communicate through letter writing. Let me tell you-God is showing up and showing out in ways that are greater than my greatest prayers. This man points me to Christ over and over and through this relationship, I’ve found freedom, and hope, and I’m learning more and more how to hand everything over to God- not just once- but every single morning when I get up, and as I go throughout the day. He’s incredible. Due to us only writing letters, I’m not seeing him while I’m in town. The 15 minutes that separate us right now is 15 minutes of faith. Prioritizing my recovery and putting that first has to be the most important thing to me-because anything or anyone I put ahead of my recovery, I know I will lose. So I sit here right now feeling so empowered. Feeling confident in our decision to commit wholeheartedly to waiting for me to finish this process, trusting in God’s timing all along the way.
Friends, my heart is soaring. I don’t know how long the Lord is going to keep me in Jackson-but I do know that the time I’ve spent there has been a gift and has been a pivotal point of healing in my life. Jackson was necessary. But now I find myself seriously asking God if he will give me the go ahead to move back home. How do we know when it’s time to move? I don’t believe that there is always a right choice and a wrong choice about where we live-because we can serve God anywhere. Rather, I’m asking myself, “Have I learned the lessons I needed to learn while in Jackson?” “Have I absorbed all God has been showing me while in Mississippi?” “Does God still have more work for me to do there?”
I never want to rush ahead of God or step out of His will, and one of the biggest growth areas I’ve experienced is that I rarely act on impulse anymore. Sure I have my moments, but I’m learning to approach every situation with intense prayer and an open mind. As I’ve written before, “Anything, even if, no matter what.” And I mean that.
Right now I’m 15 minutes away from the man I am praying that I get to spend my life with. And to me, the act of not seeing him is an act of obedience, commitment, and faith. Waiting on the Lord, trusting Him to act, listening to His voice, this is what fuels me.
Nashville is my city, and it forever holds my heart. The culture, the people, the way I get butterflies when anyone even mentions the city- everything about it. Nashville is where I let my addiction get the best of me, but I come back now, twenty months sober, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the redemption that’s occurred in my life. This city is a reminder of God’s power. A reminder that God takes brokenness and puts us back together, piece by piece. He takes His time. He’s intentional. He’s so good to us.
Today I feel treasured by Jesus, and by those closest to me in my life. The coffee shop I sit in right now, Frothy Monkey, was a place I’ve been on endless coffee dates with friends. Community has been built here. In fact, I’m sitting at the same table right now that two years ago I sat at with a sister in Christ as we shared our hurts and struggles.
My heart is full. And my goodness, this weekend is just getting started.