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Answering The Call to Austin, Texas
In life, there are moments that leave indelible marks on our hearts, forever changing the course of our journey. Such was the case for our family, gathered around the kitchen island one evening, when an unexpected revelation sparked a stirring in our souls. Little did we know that this simple conversation would set us on a path to Austin, Texas—a place we never thought we would call home. This blog post chronicles our journey of faith, intertwined with The fingerprints that illuminated our path and guided us toward God's plan.
One evening in 2018, me, Garrett and our two sons were sitting as usual at the 14 foot kitchen island that Garrett and our friend Larry built together. This was a great project that made our tiny home one big open space for our family to get together.
The four of us were giggling over jokes. We always had the conviction that a family should eat dinner together. I have some pretty blurred memories from when I was a child but a few I remember the most are the ones where we sat around our oval table and my family ate together in our tiny dining room that hugged the narrow kitchen and opened up to our living room; usually we ate hot flour tortillas, fresh beans, some roasted chicken and almost always fresh salsa. I don't remember many of the conversations but I remember the smiles, sometimes tears and the many attempts to hide my veggies in the napkin under my plate.
That night during dinner, Garrett talked about his job and some opportunities that were in other states, specifically Texas. We all started to giggle at the name Waxahachie Texas, we laughed as each one of us gave it our best Southern accent. Ethan, our youngest, made a comment that when he was learning his 50 states in elementary school, he noticed how very BIG Texas was. It was then that Garrett opened up his ipad to explore Texas on google satellite.
When he landed his finger on Austin, Texas, during a virtual tour of the state, a sense of awe enveloped us. It was as if Jesus had entered the room, and a holy reverence hushed our voices. We all felt a stirring deep within, a divine calling to this unfamiliar place. Our hearts aligned, and we realized that Austin was where we truly belonged. This evening was followed by a long sleepless night and lots of conversations about how we felt after that night for weeks. We couldn’t shake the unexpected feeling that we were homesick for a place we had never been, especially a place we NEVER planned to live.
Amidst uncertainties and fears, the Holy Spirit reminded us of Romans 4:17: "Call those things which are not as though they were." This scripture became our guiding light, assuring us that our dreams and passions were not mere illusions. My passion place—a place of worship through writing, painting, and gardening—was a reality that God had prepared for us in Austin, Texas. I had actually been in a season at that time since 2015 where out of obedience to God, I went back to school. I was working and going to school full time, learning about environmental horticulture.
The next several weeks and months we each felt that we got confirmations and Peace.As each family member experienced their own confirmations from God, a profound peace settled upon us. Our oldest son, Avery, found answers at the altar, while Garrett and I felt a peace that surpassed understanding (Philippians 4:7). Leaving everything behind—jobs, friends, and the comfort of familiarity—became a faith journey with God as our guide (Genesis 12:1-9). Before all this started, we were actually finishing up a very long process of remodeling our home. We worked so hard to make it everything we wanted, not realizing that we were fixing everything up to sell and move.
Despite the lack of a clear roadmap, we chose to trust in God's plan rather than relying on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We put our house on the market. Our attempts to find alternatives and secure jobs in Texas outside of Austin only led to restlessness. The peace we sought could only be found in walking obediently in God's calling. Anytime we looked at homes in other cities like Dallas or Houston, we would lose our peace. Our conviction for Austin was obvious.
With faith as our compass, we shared the news with our pastors, employers, and loved ones. Although some were shocked, confused, and probably thought we were crazy. We used this opportunity to plant seeds of faith and inspire others to trust in God's leadership. As the saying goes, "Faith is taking the first step even when you can't see the whole staircase."
To acquaint ourselves with our future home, Garrett and I decided to visit Austin. Amidst the excitement, a small thought nudged me at the airport—a feeling that something was missing. I have always taken books to read when I've flown. I suppose in all the excitement I forgot to grab one. As we were waiting at the terminal to board, I ran back to the store to snag a book for the flight. All I was thinking was to purchase something funny because of my nerves. I grabbed a book that had a photo of a donkey on the front called “Flash” But God's sense of humor prevailed, because the book I snagged and ran with just happened to be a faith-based book with an unexpected connection to Texas. You can't make this stuff up! It was literally a book (memoir) about a couple who God called to move to Dallas Texas and their journey of faith that turned into a beautiful blessing because of a stray donkey. Through this divine appointment, we were reminded that God's hand was orchestrating every detail of our journey. Not to mention the tears we shed together on the plane as we read several chapters together.
Our journey to Austin, Texas, exemplified the faith and trust required to follow God's calling. Through scriptures, God's words spoke directly to our hearts, providing guidance, peace, and confirmation. As we embraced His plan and stepped out in faith, we discovered a deeper sense of purpose and a renewed trust in His goodness. Our family's decision to answer the call and embark on this life-changing adventure was an opportunity to witness God's faithfulness and experience His abundant blessings. We grew a lot spiritually during this time as a family.
From finding a church community to discovering purpose in ministry, and witnessing the faithfulness of God in our careers, this chapter of our lives has been nothing short of remarkable.
Upon our arrival in Austin, we were led to a vibrant church called Oasis Church in Round Rock Texas. From day one we were blown away as the pastor preaching that day happened to preach Romans 4:17, the scripture that God used to confirm our call. This community of believers quickly became our extended family, providing love, support, and opportunities for growth.
God's faithfulness extended to Garrett's career as well. With 20 years of experience in his company, God orchestrated a unique opportunity for Garrett to work from home in Austin. This unexpected provision allowed him to continue his employment while embracing the new chapter in our lives. It was a testament to God's favor and His ability to open doors beyond our expectations. It’s a wonderful thing to wake up and be excited for work. We never thought we could have that life.
The move to Austin also allowed us to prioritize family and invest valuable time in our sons' lives. With a reduced workload for me during the initial years, I had the privilege of being present for my children, witnessing their growth and actively participating in their hobbies. It was a season of bonding and cherishing precious moments that would have been missed in our previous circumstances. Those memories are even more precious to me now because our oldest son joined the United States Navy last year and now stationed in another country.
As we settled into our church community, God began to reveal His purpose for me in ministry. He gave me a vision of writing full-time, using my passion for words to impact others for His kingdom. Encouraged by this calling, I pursued theological education, and obtained a ministry license. God's hand was clearly leading and equipping me for the path He had set before me.
Doors continued to open as I was led to a family-owned nursery, where my horticultural expertise and marketing skills aligned perfectly with their needs. In addition to my role in marketing and social media, I was entrusted with the task of starting a community garden, The Oasis Community - on our church property—a project that combined my love for horticulture and serving others.
A few months ago, God spoke to me, confirming that my season at the nursery had come to an end. He called me to step out in faith and pursue writing full-time, trusting in His provision. When I shared this revelation with my husband, he wholeheartedly supported the decision, and together we took another leap of faith.
As I obediently embraced the call to full-time writing, God's faithfulness became even more evident. He connected me with a network of ministers, leading to my official ordination into Christian ministry through The Destiny Church and Minister’s Network, Destiny Leaders. I was filled with awe as God orchestrated every step, providing a talented and very patient web designer Janae Carlee and enabled me to write my first book, (Called to Stand Out, Embracing My Unique Journey to Faith). Now, I stand on the precipice of launching a women's ministry, Lyssa Christina—a dream that has been nurtured within me for years. Garretts Career is thriving, both of our sons are happy and doing great things.
Our journey in Austin has been a testament to the faithfulness of God. By answering His call and taking each step in obedience, we have witnessed His provision, guidance, and favor. The road hasn't always been easy, but the rewards and blessings that have unfolded far exceeded our expectations. Our hope in sharing our story is to encourage you to embrace God's calling for your life. Take that leap of faith, trust in His promises, and watch as He leads you to places you never imagined. Remember, with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)