At this point, though I have only just arrived in the Big Apple, I am certain that I am going to die a slow and painful death as I venture into the unknown territory that is New York City. Granted, it’s not really fair to judge the whole of the city so harshly considering my pounding headache, achy body, and tired mind. Why am I so worn? Let’s just say the trip here wasn’t too smooth…
Our first destination in New York was International Baptist Church, the sanctuary which I will be attending as I begin my new life at Pratt. So, the first two or three hours went quite well. We (my mother, brother, and I) stopped once to stretch out our legs and go to the bathroom and then continued on our way. Then we crossed into a strange land called New Jersey and then passed over the Bridge portal into the diverse universal dimension of New York City. Once I got a glance of the Freedom Tower and my senses were arrested by honking horns, foul-smelling tar and exhaust, and heart-wrenching road rage, the name of the city morphed into something entirely different; “You’re Never Going to Make It.” I realized very suddenly that this was the Enemy trying to trip me up, make me give up and turn back…but even though I was aware of his involvement, it did not make me any less fearful.
On our way to Brooklyn, we became lost. Seriously, lost. Fortunately, we had brought a G.P.S. with us (though I didn’t often trust it due to past experiences with it getting me hopelessly lost). I plugged in the address of the church, and (holding my breath) waited for the G.P.S. to plan out a route.
We followed the G.P.S. and we arrived safely at the church. Though we had indeed arrived safely, I was already suffering from a headache due to the amount of pressure I had begun to feel the moment we entered the city. I was stressed, cranky, and frustrated.
“God, why on earth did You want me here? How the heck am I going to be able to handle living here for four years and possibly more when I can’t even handle visiting a church?”
No answer. Nothing.
I couldn’t even feel God moving me anywhere.
I quickly became very angry.
We walked into the church to begin our appointment. As I walked into the secretary’s office, I was greeted by the kindest face I had seen all day. The woman sitting behind one of the two desks in the room was clad in a soft pink skirt and cardigan with a black undershirt. She was very bubbly and very passionate about her job. I was able to meet her husband, who happens to be the College and Career Pastor at that church. He was the same way.
Immediately, I felt at home. As I toured the physical building at which the services and such were held, I realized that I was going to be alright. God finally spoke to me (not audibly, obviously, but the Holy Spirit was giving me much needed direction), reminding me that I was emotionally unstable and my body and mind were in great need of rest and refreshment. It’s easy to see His will when you’re surrounding by His children.
Once I met the senior pastor, I knew without a doubt that this was going to be a great place to grow. By the time I left, I was ready for it to be Sunday morning so I could experience all that this place had to offer. The pastor helped me feel comfortable enough to voice my fears (both rational and irrational) of the transition from small town to big city. I was able to explain to him exactly what I wanted and needed as a Christian and as a person. By the closing of our meeting, I had directions on how to maneuver the subway system to get to the church, cell phone numbers, emails, home phone numbers, every contact imaginable, and I even was invited to go to dinner with the pastor and his wife this coming Thursday. I guess the church has a men’s softball team and Thursday night they’re having a game. The pastor and his wife offered to pick me up from college Thursday night, take me out for a bite to eat, and then take me to the softball game and introduce me to everyone there. What a blessing…what a relief! I now knew three people in New York City. I’d say I was on a roll.
The three of us left the church and headed to the hotel. We got lost, twice, and I became frustrated once again, succumbing to the sour attitude induced by bodily exhaustion. Finally, we reached our second destination.
Upon entering our room we were greeted by a putrid urine-like smell that seemed to emanate from the walls. I quickly threw down my bags, sprinted to the coffee maker and began the brew to make the urine-smell evaporate. The coffee smell reminded me not only of home but of my father, which was a great comfort. We all settled in and mom took a nap and Jimmy watched a movie or two to chill out a little bit. I wrote this blog post.
Looking back on the day, even though it’s far from over, I can see that God was with me every step of the way. He was with me as we left the house and I was overwhelmed by a calming feeling. He was with me as we drove on the everlasting highway and the lyrics of Christian music soothed my soul. He was with me every time we lost our way, calming my heart and convicting me about my attitude. He was even with me when I came into the hotel room, telling me to look around at the well designed and well decorated chamber in which we were to be staying.
God is so good. Even when it seems that exhaustion, pains, frustrations, and futuristic fears are bigger than He is, He somehow proves that His love is big enough to cover all of me.