This week marks 6 months that my family has been living in Manhattan…
6 months that will go down in history as some of the most challenging and exciting months of my entire life!
-Since moving to to the city, I went from living in a 4 bedroom house in the suburbs, to a one bedroom apartment in the middle of the insanity that is New York City!
And while our living space is 1/3 of the size that it used to be, our rent and grocery budget has easily doubled!
-We got rid of both cars, and nearly all our possessions – even down to our dog, grade school yearbooks and christmas tree – and are now limited to keeping the little we still possess to one tiny coat closet off the living room.
-We have transitioned from my husband working what would have been considered a flexible schedule, to that of a grueling ‘6 day a week, every week’ schedule, thus teaching me to navigate life and parenting without him always around.
-I also have found a super-human physical strength in myself that I never knew existed, being that I am now one of the many Manhattan Mommies that can carry my 2 year old, sitting in her stroller, with the diaper bag filled with enough snacks to keep an entire eskimo family fed through the winter, up and down up to 20 flights of subway stairs!Take that, Jillian Michaels!
And the look of astonishment on tourists faces, always serves as the perfect reminder that even I, didn’t know something like that was physically possible! Until I moved to NYC, that is…
-I am also proud to say that I have memorized all the Upper East Side and Upper West Side streets!
…And can now make perfect sense of the subway map!
-I have learned how to use the subway, bus, Metro North, New Jersey Transit, and PATH train. That’s 5 methods of transportation, covering 2 states in 6 months!
…and occasionally you can even find me giving a tourist or two some PHENOMENAL directions! 😉
– Not to mention, I can now walk wicked fast, even for a girl with short legs!
Since moving to New York City, I can barely recognize the person I used to be!
Growing up I was paralyzed by perfection.
In elementary school, I spent PE class hiding in the bathroom while the rest of my class played kickball, for fear that I would let my team down. I can remember sitting at my desk, endlessly ripping sheet after sheet of paper out of my notebook, so that I could start over when my handwriting wasn’t neat enough.
I also falsely believed my outer beauty was directly correlated with perfectly curled hair, flawless nails that coordinated with my outfit, and high heels. And that the best way I could adequately show my love for my family, was by making every meal homemade and slaving in the kitchen for hours.
Since moving to New York however, I’ve had to let go of the expectations I unknowingly, seemed to have placed on myself over the years…
For one, my kitchen is tiny, and any meal I make is sure to set off the fire alarm!
And even on my best days, my curled hair wont be flawless by the time I take the 3 trains it takes to get to my desired location!
Not to mention, heels are entirely out of the question!
Growing up I also was surprisingly dependent.
I would definitely still categorize myself as independent, but until moving here, I never realized how dependent I was on the men in my life.
Throughout my childhood, my Dad was always there when I needed him; voluntarily calling the mechanic for me when my car broke down in college -and if we are honest, probably paying for it! My husband than took over the reigns once we got married, and I relied on him to do everything from calling for takeout, putting gas in my car, taking out the trash and going with me to every one of my daughter’s doctors appointments.
In our new lives however, with my husbands new schedule and responsibilites, I have spent the better part of our time here, braving New York City alone.
Learning how to navigate life with a toddler without a car, how to get my laundry done without a washer and dryer, and learn how to get my groceries up ‘the stairs of death’ without dislocating my back or having my toddler lock me out of the apartment!
It literally felt like someone dropped me and my daughter ‘Hunger Games style’ from a Hovercraft into some foreign land- a place where the languages are different, the people are meaner, and literally everything is a trillion times more difficult!
My Dad called a couple months ago and laughed at my newfound life “ Krista, you realize as a child you struggled to order your own food at a restaurant? And now look at you! You are jetsetting around New York City!”
My 16 year old brother put it a little less kindly when he blatantly called me out, “No really… how are you surviving?”
By the grace of God, my friend, by the grace of God… 😉
In the last 6 months, I have been stretched farther than I thought could ever be possible-
and yet, I have to say, I am empowered!
I feel privileged to know that I COULD BE stretched that far, and even more honored that HE WOULD stretch me that far!
And although all my earthly possessions fit in a mere 650 square feet-
my heart is unexplainably full!
In Matthew 19:27-30 Peter asks Jesus
“See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you… everyone who has left houses, or brothers and sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold…”
Just like in this verse, I feel like I have sacrificed it all! Often times even questioning God the same way Peter did; inquiring if there could possibly be anything left…
And yet, like I said, there is no denying that my heart is unexplainably full just like He promised!
And I can assure you its not just because NYSYNC reunited! Although, that definitely doesn’t hurt… 😉
In John 10:10 the Lord goes on to outline His purpose as wanting to ‘give us a rich and satisfying life’
We like the sound of that don’t we? “Rich and satisfying…”
Our thoughts jump to winning the lottery; buying a penthouse suite complete with a chefs kitchen, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking Central Park, with a doorman named Alfred, that greets you with a “Good morning m’ Lady!” and who regularly insists on bringing up my groceries, refusing a tip!
Or maybe that’s just me…
And yet after poring over this verse for the last couple days – knowing that my heart is full, but tossing around whether I consider my life to be the rich and satisfying life the Lord talks about – I realized that if we were to talk about ‘rich and satisfying’ as it pertains to food, the meaning would change almost entirely!
A rich and satisfying meal doesn’t always mean you have endless amounts of food – or even the highest quality food for that matter – a rich and satisfying meal is one that leaves us full, with no need for even a bite more! Complete fulfillment.
There are times where we are ravenous, and it takes much more to keep us satisfied, but even then it doesn’t take grass-fed filet mignon seared to perfection by Chef Curtis Stone to do the trick! The simplest beans can satisfy even the emptiest of bellies.
Other times its a small taste of the richest velvety cheesecake, that is just enough pure bliss to hold us over to the next oppertunity to indulge.
As I look back on the last 6 months, there have indeed been moments – small bites – of pure bliss in my new life in Manhattan, and times where I have ate my fill of the greatest experiences…
And then there have been days where I have ate my fair share of beans – day in and day out – until I was blue in the face!
Even then, I have never been less than satisfied!
Haha, Ok, that’s a horrible analogy… But the point is, my heart is full, and I am in need of nothing more.
Do I have wants? Bet your bottom dollar, I do! But my greatest needs are covered, which leads me to believe that I indeed DO have a rich and satisfying life! Or at the very least, am headed in the right direction of obtaining one…
Looking back on my time in NYC, causes me to feel overwhelmed to the point of tears; remembering all the sacrifices that had to be made, all the fears that had to be worked through in the middle of the night, and the excuses that had to be put aside.
The conscious decision I had to make, to stop hiding in the bathroom when there was adventure to be had, and to tear down the walls that I had barricaded myself against for so long in the name of ‘what was within my comfort zone’ !
To be willing to fail miserably, venture out alone and get beautifully lost in the process!
It’s only been 6 months, but I can barely recognize the person I used to be!
And the truth is, I think that’s exactly what the Lord intended! 🙂
***Thanks for listening to me reminisce, and for being an encouragement just by reading! Thanks to those of you who have rooted for me, laughed with me, cried with me, and for those who have bravely shared their own amazing journeys with me along the way!
I truly value each and every one of you!