I remember March 13, 2016, like it was yesterday. It was the day I walked into LifeAustin for the first time. I was a broken shell of a person. At that point, I had experienced so much loss in a such a short amount of time.
Just over a month before, I had resigned from a job I had been at for 13 years. I had put so much of my identity and self-worth in my job, so when I had to walk away from it, it felt like a part of me died. Then just thirteen days later, my mother passed away from a four year battle with Non-Hogdkins Lymphoma.
I felt like I had lost everything. I needed a change. I needed to get away. So, I applied to a Connections Coordinator position I saw online at a church called LifeAustin. The position wasn’t in my wheel-house at all, but that was fine with me. I just wanted to get out of Virginia.
That brings me to March 13, 2016. The moment I drove onto the LifeAustin campus for my interview and to experience the church, I felt God’s presence. It was so thick and so real. I cried through the entire service. And, right in the middle of the worship, I sensed God tell me He was going to give me life at LifeAustin… And, that’s exactly what He’s done…
I am not the same person I was when I moved to Austin. Through incredible friendships, LifeAustin has been a safe place for me to grieve… to be vulnerable… to be loved… to be transformed.
That’s why it saddens me to say I will be leaving Austin on May 1, 2017, and returning to Hampton Roads to pursue the opportunity to co-own/direct Transcendence Aerial and Dance with my friend, Dede Ulses. But, I’m not just returning home. I’m returning to my first love, my first calling: teaching dance.
My theme word for 2017 is ROAR. As I mentioned in a previous blog, lions roar to proclaim territory and rally straying members of their pride. For me, going back home to proclaim and reclaim territory and rally my heart, mind, and resources around what God’s called me to do since I was 15 years old, is a part of how that theme word is manifesting.
I would be lying if I said my family didn’t play a role in my decision. I miss them terribly. I don’t want to watch my nephews grow up over FaceTime and Instagram photos. I don’t want my brother to launch a church without me. I don’t want my dad and grandmother to grow older and me not be there to help them and make sure they’re taking care of themselves.
As happy as I am to return home to my family, my friends and my students, I’m so sad to leave the great state of Texas and the wonderful people I’ve met here. There’s no place like Texas. Truly, there’s not.
I used to say I was a Virginia girl with a Virginia heart living in Texas, but now, I think it’s safe to say, I’m now a Virginia girl with a Texas heart.