This is the blog post that I never thought would actually come to fruition – my goodbye letter to Los Angeles. Tomorrow, I board a plane, grab my one-way ticket, and say “good bye” to the city that I have called home for over five years. Even though five years is a relatively short amount of time, my life has irrevocably been changed by this city and my time here.
When I first came to Los Angeles, I was an 18-year-old high school graduate, taking a fledgling attempt in starting a career in fashion design. Suffice it to say, the Lord had other and greater plans in mind. I stepped off the plane and into this new and scary city with no friends, no idea what my future held, and an open mind. All I knew is that I loved Los Angeles, its constant energy and endless variety. Anything that I wanted to do, I could. Nothing was withheld, every opportunity beckoned at each single corner. But in the Lord’s providence, he put me at Grace Community Church, where some of the strongest relationships were formed (and still remain!). I have met people that, quite simply, have changed my life. I would and could not be the woman that I am today without their love, care, support, and prayers.
From FIDM, I came to community college, still unsure of what I actually wanted to “do” with my life. I had more of a direction, more of a process, but still no definitive answer. All I knew is that I needed to trust in the Lord to guide me and to make my paths clear. My job was to put in my hard work and to pray. And the Lord blessed me beyond reason with my transfer and acceptance to UCLA. I never thought in a million years that I would graduate from there with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. I still can’t believe it. And going forward, I never thought that I’d be pursuing a Ph.D and/or Master’s degree in Restoration/18th Century studies. Incredible.
Los Angeles has been the place where I have transitioned so many times. I changed schools three times, apartments multiple times, Bible studies, etc. I have had amazing conversations with dear saints, my heart broken, watched the sun come up so many times, laughed with friends, marveled at God’s mercy. I have been to weddings of friends, heard the Gospel preached so many wonderful times, sung with worship team, and lifted up countless requests to the Lord in prayer. Los Angeles has changed me, has given me so many opportunities. In some ways, it will always be home for me. No matter where life takes me, this city will forever be near and dear to my heart. And I know that all good gifts are from the Lord. Everything that was given to me in Los Angeles counts as an incredible blessing. Even the times when I would sob until my body shook – that was a gift. God’s providence and lovingkindness never ever failed me. Not once.
And now, I am transitioning into a future that is oddly similar of my initial arrival in Los Angeles. I’m moving to a new country where I know no one, know nothing about what my life will look like. I don’t even speak their language fluently! In some ways, I feel like that 18-year-old girl again, facing a whole new challenge and a whole new set of obstacles. But if I’ve learned anything in these past five years, it’s that God is incredibly sovereign and that He has my best at heart. I know that He will provide in his perfect plan, for every need. In life, there is no plan “B”. No matter what sorrows or troubles befall me in France and beyond, I am confident that the Lord will lead me into the source of true joy – the Gospel. Knowing that Christ has paid the ultimate price for my soul is enough to balm my weary soul.
But Los Angeles, my beautiful and complicated city, you have given me so many gifts, in your own special way. I learned patience sitting in rush hour in the 405. I explored so many types of cuisine in your various districts. I walked on your beaches and down Rodeo Blvd. I probably have eaten at every single Yogurtland and never regretted it once. I loved your endless variety and cheap concerts. I could not get enough of your beautiful weather, although I am happy to leave the smog behind. You will be sorely missed.
And to all my friends that remain in Los Angeles, (because I know that some of you will read this) you have all changed me. I am a better woman for knowing each and every one of you. I give you indescribable thanks and gratitude for loving me and supporting me. I would be half of the person that I am today without your influence. Because I believe in God’s sovereignty, I believe that you were all placed in my life for a purpose. No matter if your influence was for a few weeks or years, you were crucial. You were key.
It’s an odd feeling, being the one who is leaving. My heart breaks because of what I’m leaving behind – chance, possibility, comfort, security, affection. And I know that some friends I will see again in this life and some I will see in heaven. It’s a heavy concept, something that I don’t even fully grasp. It’s some measure of comfort, but life isn’t always about staying “happy” or “content”. It’s about doing hard things, things that make you cry. But to serve the Lord where he’s putting me… what a great gift! But it is still with a heavy heart that I board this plane, not knowing when I will see this city again. This is an act of trust, an act of obedience. I am happy to be a servant of the Lord and follow where he’s leading me.
But this… today… it is a sad celebration. Rejoice and mourn with me.