To my 2013 self, who hopped in a van in Texas with three kids, a dog, and a baby on the way to follow a dream all the way to North Carolina: here are some things I want you to know.
Leave the dog in Texas. You’ll be back, sooner than you think.
Eat at Lumpy’s more often. Shuckers, too.
You will make friends here. Amazing ones. You will. It will really hurt to leave, but it shows you were loved.
Girlfriend, I know that mommy-brain is real and that you’ve been cooped up in that tiny apartment for so long, but please hear me: taking your children to DC while nursing a two-month old is a terrible idea. I don’t care how much you love the metro and the mole rats. Leave the kids with your sister and just go to Chili’s or something.
You will figure out the roundabouts and where to exit to go to your destination without driving in circles. It’s just going to take awhile. You will never figure out the seminary campus, just FYI.
1000 square feet is not enough for your family. I know minimalism is hot right now, but please…get a bigger place to live. Now.
You’re going to hear “no” over four hundred times while PJ looks for a post-seminary job. Your hearts are going to break over some of those. But there’s a really good “yes” waiting, when you guys finally say “yes” to what God is asking you to do. It’s in Waco. Don’t freak out.
Yeah, I know it seems crazy to drive 40 minutes to church, but trust PJ on this one. FBC Durham is where you need to be. Treasure every week at church, even when you can hardly keep your eyes open. You will be convicted and challenged and loved beyond measure. You’re going to ugly cry on your last Sunday. Just be ready, and bring tissues.
The seminary schedule is hard. Take care of yourself. Put the kids to bed early or let them watch movies and take time to rest. You’re going to run out of steam a couple of times, but God will provide relief just before you utterly lose your mind.
Throw away that book that tells you that your two-month old will sleep through the night. Burn it, even. News flash: that beautiful baby doesn’t sleep through the night until he is twenty-one months old! You’ll survive somehow. By the way, he likes watching Charlotte’s Web on repeat at 2 a.m.
Above all, enjoy your time in North Carolina. Those endless, oppressive semesters really do fly by and you’ll be at PJ’s graduation before you know it. He looks pretty spiffy in that cap and gown. Oh, and your daughter will try to wear doughnut-print leggings to the ceremony. Just hand her a dress.
See you in Texas.