12 May 2017
I love being a Lakelander. I came here to go to college, and never left. Of course, that wasn't my plan, but it is funny how God works. His ways are mysterious, indeed. I never would have guessed them.
For a while, just 5 years ago, I was trying to leave town, to move elsewhere and try to start fresh somewhere else. After college, it was the norm that one by one all my friends moved away for various reasons. The city lost its charm to me several years later, which probably coincided with my job taking a downward nosedive, and I struggled with feeling like I was part of a community as a whole. The city lacked creativity and imagination, to me, at that time. I suspect part of that was me feeling drained of imagination, inspiration, and encouragement.
It is a true testament of God's timing and blessing undeserved, these last 4 years. I couldn't have aligned or planned for it to happen this way, but God has His own plans. When a wonderful job fell into my lap and I developed a new friendship that led to a tiny home to move into in the historic district, these things became bright lights to chase away the fog that was crowding my life.
It is interesting how you don't even realize how unhappy you are until some light comes in through the crack. Then you (at last!) see that there is beauty and grace there and you hadn't been noticing it!
Along with these wonderful situations and people in my life, came the rediscovery of this city and all its beauty. I became reconnected with the lakes and how enjoyable it is to walk around them, the historic neighborhood was now my home, downtown felt like it was joyful again, and it was like seeing the city for the first time. The creative explosion that has been happening here in the city these recent years excites me beyond words. I have friends who are starting amazing projects that impact entire communities, providing places to gather and be creative. I spend lots of time at my neighborhood craft coffee shops. Local restaurants thrive and I enjoy their unique menus. It is such a joy to be part of seeing this all happen.
I spend more time in my two mile radius of downtown, grocery, post office, lakes, church, and library than anywhere else (okay, except my office - it's outside that radius), and I am so content. I love it that way. I delight in knowing my neighborhoods and my neighbors.
God has amazing plans in store for all of us, but oftentimes it is not what we expect. While I was trying to leave, God was preparing all the pieces to fit together so that I would stay. I don't deserve the blessings that have rained upon me. I wake up each morning with a deep thankfulness because I truly know that.