A little over a week ago, I made the choice to leave the comfortable and familiar, for a new adventure in a familiar area, yet uncomfortable new surroundings (very different from the environments I’ve resided in for the last 15 years). I cried as I closed my garage door one final time. It was excruciating to leave the comfortable and familiar, even when I knew the Lord’s hand was all over it.
In 2010, Corpus Christi became home. (I can hardly believe that was SIX years ago!) What’s interesting is that Corpus Christi came around TWICE as I was looking to leave Salt Lake City. The first time, the opportunity wasn’t ideal. Yet just a few short weeks later, another completely different, unrelated opportunity presented. Could it be God was giving me a DIRECT sign I was to move to Corpus Christi, Texas? I was fed up with the cold, the 6 months of snow covered ground, and icy road drivin’, so sunny, warm and beachy sounded PERFECT to me. It was an unfamiliar city. I knew NO ONE there. But the Lord knew EXACTLY what He was doing when He placed me in a community whose name means “body of Christ.” I was beginning a new season, alone, and Corpus Christi was the EXACT place the Lord would usher in healing and redemption.
As I sit on my couch in Louisiana, typing this post, my heart is full as I am near my family, but SO homesick for a place divinely appointed for a time I needed it most.
Here are 7 things I will miss most about Corpus Christi.
1. My church
As I was researching Corpus Christi, one of my first Google searches was “churches.” Almost immediately I came across a non-denominational church called Bay Area Fellowship. At the time, the sermon intro video/music was a spot that serenaded, “A New Life Starts Today.” And that was precisely the season I was entering! I was intrigued by the pastor, Bil Cornelius, and the fact that one Easter Sunday, he gave away like 10 new cars or something and people flocked to the church in droves to see if they could win. Or the time he EMPTIED the church bank account, and gave each person in the Sunday services a $100 bill with instructions to return the following Sunday with it multiplied. Conventional? NO! Intriguing? ABSOLUTELY!!! No disrespect to any of my former churches, but I was ready for unconventional…for a go big or go home, all in, risk taking church. And that’s EXACTLY what I found at Bay Area Fellowship (name later changed to Church Unlimited). Pastor Bil has this amazing gift of speech where the Lord uses him to speak directly to your spirit and heart. I’ve never heard another pastor with this type of communication anointing! The church members welcomed and took me in immediately. I dove right into ministry and got as involved as my work schedule would allow. I used to say I would never be able to leave Corpus Christi because I loved my church and church family SO much. So here’s hoping Pastor Bil will decide to open a campus in north Louisiana!
2. My community
This one brings tears to my eyes. You know who you are. Corpus Christi gave me friendships that were PRECISELY the ones I needed for my season of healing. My life group was all women and a mixture of older and younger, single, married, divorced and widowed. And OHHHH do they know how to love. Need my house checked on while I travel? Done. Need a faithful, strong prayer warrior? Done. Need taking to or picked up from the airport? Done. Need essential oils when you’re sick? Done. No need ever went unmet. We spent countless hours around the table whether in our homes or at a restaurant. We traveled to Guatemala and formed a bond that can never be broken. We served our community, wiped tears and embraced the least of these. These are some of the most selfless girls I’ve ever met and I am beyond grateful the Lord allowed our paths to cross.
3. My neighborhood
I lived on the south side of town in a little community called The Lakes. You’ve probably figured out, I’m pretty picky when it comes to houses! Like I waited 22 months for my cottage, I rented in Corpus Christi for almost two years because I couldn’t find the perfect house. I had some of the same requirements: not too big, not too small, one story, safe neighborhood, mature trees (no new builds), tennis courts, and a place to walk. The Lakes offered all of this and more. And FINALLY one Sunday after church, I drove through The Lakes on my way home and FOUND IT. The sign had JUST been placed in the yard (and it wasn’t even listed on the MLS yet). I immediately called my realtor to see it and by Wednesday I had it under contract. Every time I’ve bought a house, I knew IMMEDIATELY after walking in the door that it was the one. This house was no different. My favorite part of my neighborhood was that 2 mile loop I walked every day I was home and circled my heart’s desires in prayer. And I watched the Lord grant grace and mercy by bringing those desires to fruition in His perfect timing.
4. The weather
Oh the weather! I remember the first December I was in Corpus Christi and it was sunny and 70 degrees and I was walking in shorts! I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Because I LOATHE to be cold, the climate in Corpus Christi was PERFECT! I mostly got rid of all my winter clothes, so THANK GOODNESS it’s not my year of NO NEW CLOTHES because I’m definitely going to have to shop for warm clothes this fall!
Don’t laugh. But it’s SO true. For those of you that don’t know HEB, it’s a major grocery store chain in Texas (especially south Texas). Their motto is “Here Everything’s Better” and that is NO JOKE. I could get fresh watermelon 365 days a year and it was ALWAYS as a sweet as a Hope melon on the 4th of July. Blackberries were often 88 cents a pint. And the prices were better than Walmart. In fact, I probably only went to Walmart 10 times or less the entire time I lived in Corpus Christi. Oh and, never mind the fact that they have an ON THE SPOT fresh tortilla bakery!!!
6. Breakfast tacos
It’s no coincidence that Texas Monthly named Corpus Christi as having the Best Tacos in Texas! I LOVED home office days when I would get up, have coffee/quiet time, run and then drive to get a breakfast taco (canceling out any calories I had just burned). But egg, bacon and jalapenos wrapped in a fresh, homemade tortilla just melts in my mouth like butter. So if anyone from Corpus Christi comes to see the cottage, don’t show up unless you bring me a breakfast taco!
7. The beach
Believe it or not, the 6 years I lived in Corpus Christi, I probably went to the beach less than 20 times. I know, it’s so terrible. But gosh, I loved it so when I was there. Corpus has a LOT of beach areas where you can go and be far away from other people and really soak in the ocean breeze and sand between your toes. The first summer after I moved to Texas, I spent a LOT of time at the beach. In just a few minutes’ drive, I could find priceless therapy via waves, sun and uninterrupted time with my Father.
I love Corpus Christi! It was incredibly hard to leave. I argued with the Lord when I audibly heard Him call me closer to home. I had SO many reasons to stay! However, ultimately it came down to obedience. It isn’t always easy, but the way of the Lord is ALWAYS the right way even when it’s uncomfortable and unwanted. A dear friend reminded me: “You never grow INSIDE your comfort zone.” And she’s right. The times in my life when I’ve experienced the greatest growth have been the times I’ve either been pushed or forced into situations that makes this Type A girl’s head spin! Yet the Lord’s provision never fails and His promises are ALWAYS true.
Has there been a time in your life when you had to leave a place that held your heart? Did you feel or hear the Lord prompt you? Were you obedient? Either way, I’d LOVE to hear about your experience and thoughts in the comments below.