For any of you who might follow along with me on my other social media platforms, you likely saw a barrage of posts a few weeks ago when I made my first trip back to California since moving to Nashville. It was a 6 day whirlwind, trying to cram time to see friends, family, and mentors from the Bay Area to Sacramento and back. I enjoyed absolutely every minute - even as someone more on the introverted side of the spectrum - and regret only that I didn't have more time with everyone.
I was able to see so many sweet friends on this trip. From the girl who has been one of my bests since the 3rd grade, to some of my closest friends and mentors from college. Even if it was only for 30 minutes, I fully believe the conversations that were had were edifying to one another and, more importantly, brought tons of glory to God. I purposefully got together with some of my girls who were preparing to graduate, and I loved getting to hear about where they believed the Lord was leading them next. My friends are doing all kinds of things, from raising their families, to traveling the world, to leading ministries, to praying for physical and spiritual healing... and all of them were just straight up surrendering their dreams and plans at His feet - mind blowing!
Then there was family, in every sense. I saw both of my grandmothers, my closest aunt and uncle, as well as my cousin and her husband, which was all very treasured time to me. In the Bay Area, I stayed (as I always do) with an incredible family that has treated me like their daughter/sister for the last 7 years, which yes, has been since I came to Christ in high school. Of course, I also saw my family: my dad and brother in the Bay and my momma in Santa Cruz. I was anxious because, a few weeks prior, God had clearly revealed to me that my season in Nashville is going to be a long one and I needed to gracefully and honestly tell them, not shying away from telling them I was continuing to try to follow God's leading. All to say, they were ecstatic for me! They could see my personal convictions, they commented on how happy/well I looked, and, in a sense, gave me their blessings, which means a lot to me! I just love all of my family, both biological and spiritual.
Lastly, I spent time with some others that I have been praying fervently for the last few years: the sweet little girls that I used to nanny. I had the privilege of having a sleepover with A + R and then hanging out with them all of the next day. Man, kids grow up so fast… I felt like I really hadn't changed much since moving 7 months ago, but these monkeys proved me wrong. A was making beautiful art and sharing stories from kindergarten, while R was talking up a storm, being her sassy, crazy self. And I had to hold back tears, multiple times. The first was when I was asked to read them a bedtime story, from their copy of The Sweetest Story Bible, and then, when their mom was showing me some of their artwork, she pulled out an envelope that contained a letter A had written to "Jeases." These precious girls have been on my heart constantly since moving, and I felt like the Lord was saying to me, "Gennean, these girls are mine. You planted seeds in your time with them, your prayers are coveted, and your connection with them will be forever, but I AM at work in this place, with these girls, and I do not need you to be here for that to happen." This was some seriously treasured time, friends.
So to sum it all up, this trip was so, so good for my heart. I saw so many people that I had missed, I shared what was going on my life since moving, and I learned a really important lesson: the door to my season living and learning in California is, at least for a while, very much closed. It will always be a home base for me, having been born and raised there, but right now home is where He has me: in Nashville. And I will continue to walk in this season confident that California and its beautiful, wonderful people will always be there for me to go back to, but right now it is time to live even more fully in this place. To that I can only say, "Let's do this."