Dear Lost in Memphis

Written by K. Becker Johnson

Go ahead and cry, just don't be scared. Don't panic. 

I understand that it’s overwhelming and emotional, and you are allowed to feel it. You've lost a lot in less than a year: friends, your favorite job. In nine months you'll be stepping onto this same hard path of uprooting again. 

You moved to a new city to find it was not as you hoped. You thought you could be who you used to be− a young professional with all the resources, friends, and connections − immediately upon arrival in a totally different culture. Yes, optimism is good...but friend, be realistic. You moved because you wanted to try new things, move closer to family, and maybe even grow your savings. Patience is this season of waiting is going to strengthen your marriage, friendships, and perspective. You prayed for that, so be careful to notice when its answered. 

At 26 years old, you're not the success you thought you'd be. You thought you would be pregnant by now, and you’re not. Your old friends are getting jobs and growing their families and you're quitting your job to move to Oklahoma for five months, with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome adding pounds and fighting off a baby at every chance. Sigh, sounds like failure. Maybe, maybe not. Some pain stays and marinates for a long time, just so you understand its sting. Be sure to recognize that you’ve done the best you can through the test you’ve been given; you’ve moved through 3 states, 3 homes, in 11 months. Change is just another way to strengthen your faith. 

Ecclesiastes 3:3 says: “A time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; {...}6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;” Don’t run away from a season just because it’s a new season. It’s all necessary, and all part of the balance. 

The underlines in your Bible are much more valuable than the job you hold. It’s the gladness in the “in between” blessings: The hugs from your closest friend after an emotional day, the Sunday lunches on days with no other plans, and the backyard grill nights where everyone stays long past sunset without noticing the bug bites. Make space for this in your life! Dive deep into change and get your hands dirty in the process. Nothing is instant, and the lasting results are the ones that take time. 

In all the time you spend feeling lost, don’t forget how grounded your faith has kept you. God provided, and even in the midst of “a time to weep” there was always a “time to laugh.” Take notice of each season’s change. Your failure or perceived failure doesn’t negate the beauty of how God is working. Don’t miss it.

Sincerely,

Still Lost in Oklahoma, Still Found in Christ

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Kaitlyn Becker Johnson is a photojournalist hailing from Rhode Island, Virginia, Memphis, and soon to be Oklahoma City.  She is a nomad who loves hiking and swimming. Since being a little girl and watcher her photojournalist father hustle at a busy newspaper, she has always wanted to be a photographer. While wielding a camera she has hung out a doorless helicopter three times, met the white house staff photographer on accident, held the hand of a widowed army wife, and seen hundreds of people unite over natural catastrophe. Before she dies she would love to stand in the Himalayas, drink authentic Indian Chai, and photograph for Time Magazine. 

Chelsea Francis