No, I wasn’t born in Hawaii. Yes, I’m from California. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay, but I don’t have any current intentions to leave. I’ve been getting the same question a lot lately- more than usual. “How long do you think you’ll live in Hawaii?”
When I moved here in 2016 I didn’t necessarily have a plan. It wasn’t, “I’ll stay for a few years then move back to California and really get life started.” I knew that God wanted me in Hawaii, and so the next right step was to move to Hawaii. So, my honest answer to everyone’s question is that I’ll stay for however long God wants me to stay, and the minute He tells me it’s time to go then I’ll go.
But at this very minute, my heart breaks at the thought of me ever leaving. God has done wonderful and beautiful things for me in Hawaii that I could have never expected, but first He had to take me through some ugly and painful seasons as well.
Wednesday June 21, 2017 1:38 AM.
I woke up in the middle of the night- something I don’t often do- but there was an uneasy feeling in my heart that stirred me awake. I rolled over in my bed, grabbed my phone, and checked for notifications. There was an email from my pastor with the subject line ‘Aloha’. In my half-awake state I read the email, shook my head, and read the email again. “People are stirring things up.” “Drama team.” “I have been asked to intervene.” “They talk a lot, to a lot of people.” Before I knew it, tears were rolling down my cheeks and the breath in my lungs had been stolen from me. In a season where I was constantly feeling like I was never good enough, this was the final blow.
With tears flooding my vision I begged her to let me go. “Mom please, please I just want to go home. I don’t want to be here anymore. Can I please fly home today?” For the first time in my life, Hawaii was not home. Hawaii wasn’t a place of peace and comfort, but it was the place that crushed my every hope and desire.
In that moment I was ready to leave.
Friday June 21, 2018 4:26 PM.
“I don’t think you should go to church tonight.” “But I loooooooove church.”
I had a 99.7 degree fever, a small migraine, potentially an ear infection, and a sore throat. Most of my day was spent sitting down to avoid moving around too fast and making the migraine worse. Even in the humidity and heat, I was shivering cold and needed a fleece jacket. Still, I wasn’t going to miss church.
Church has become my place. It’s where I know I’ll see all my friends, where I know I’ll actually get to have interactions with people my own age not two decades younger than me, and where I know I’ll meet God’s grace. Even missing just one service makes me feel like I’m missing a month’s worth of quality time with the people I care about the most.
It’s because of my church that I know I’m not ready to leave.
See, I was ready to jump ship. I was ready to pack up my bags and never look behind me. And I almost did! I applied for jobs in San Diego, I considered getting an apartment with my sister in Point Loma, and I thought I could just slip away. But God still wanted me in Hawaii. And if I had even for a second doubted God’s goodness, I would have trusted in my own understanding instead of having faith that God puts purpose in the midst of pain. So, because I know better and because I’ve had enough experiences under my belt to know that God is always good, I held out onto hope that there would still be light at the end of the tunnel… A tunnel that quite literally felt like it was crashing down on me and I had no way out.
Now here I am having finally made my way to the other side- absolutely loving this life that God has allowed me to live. Each day gets dreamier and dreamier. The color of the ocean and the sway of the water has yet to lose its awe and wonder in my eyes. Then even on gloomy days when it’s pouring rain there are still specs of beauty as each new waterfall forms in the ridges of the mountain. From one side to another, this island is beautiful.
But it’s not the beauty of the island that makes Hawaii feel like home. It’s the people I get to share my life with. The people I bake cookies with. The people I have sleepovers with. The people I text when an episode of Game of Thrones gets too wild, or the people I go to the movies with. It’s the people that ask me the tough questions, and the people that remind me I’m being prayed over. The people who are guiding me in my call to ministry. The people that welcome me into their homes and into their families. These are the people that have helped Hawaii feel like home again.
Because of them, I think I’ll stay for a while.