When I was about eleven or twelve I remember visiting my aunt and uncle in Dallas. I remember walking around the emerging construction neighborhoods with my family and dreaming out loud with my sister of the day we would move there. We wandered inside houses that weren’t quite finished yet and talked about things we liked and things we would do there. We drooled over the walking trails between the houses and gaped at how cool the parking alleys were.
That’s when my love affair began.
Over the years I would drive down very rarely for Six Flags trips with the church or to see Chris Tomlin concerts or summer trips to see the Rangers play. Dallas seemed like a million miles away from tiny ol’ Gladewater. But when I finished college and found myself suddenly single, I felt like I could do it. It was finally attainable. God knows I talked about it all the time and surely annoyed my friends. My friend Robert told me once, “Melody, stop talking about it and just do it already.” I think then I realized, huh. I guess I can actually do it. So thanks, Robert.
In the fall of 2014 and early spring of this year I dated a few guys from Dallas which only fanned the flames of my affair. I got restless. Hungry for that city. I talked about it more. Swore to myself I’d start saving every penny. I didn’t. I got angry with myself because I felt like such a failure. I felt unfulfilled. I desperately needed something new. A new start. I slowly rebuilt my life and myself over the last two years and I needed a new place to call home. Something that was solely mine. Something that I built.
So I started curiously looking at apartments in Dallas, checking them out to see costs and types of places I might be able to afford. I searched every apartment hunting website known to man, subscribed to a couple apartment finders, asked around and perused Craigslist.
A year ago when my sister, Shelby, moved to Waco, she found this absolutely stunning apartment in a fourplex. A kind of new-to-me concept. This old house had been turned into four separate apartments. She scored the corner one with it’s dark hardwoods and 12-foot ceilings and natural light. Crystal doorknobs and a medicine cabinet stole my heart in that place. I knew if I were to ever move out I wanted a place like that. When I initially started my apartment hunt (and this is so weird to actually be in a place where I’m typing out ‘when I started my apartment hunt’ knowing how this ends. TWILIGHT ZONE.) I knew that’s what I wanted, but wasn’t sure how to find it. I eventually convinced myself I’d never find a place like that in Dallas and continued to look for my own space in a big complex. Besides, the rent was cheaper there anyway, right?
Rewind to April. After a tearful conversation with my boyfriend (who, btw, has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this entire process *heart eye emoji*), sitting in the car, head in hands, feeling like a failure having not saved hardly anything, he encouraged me. Gave me a game plan. I made a poster. You know, one of those with the big thermometer that city’s make and fill in to show that they’re reaching their goal for a new pool or something. I listed out everything I’d need to pay for a move: deposits, fees, groceries, setting up cable, etc. and came up with a number. Little did I know that God had already been working in my finances months before.
Earlier this year, while on a date I might add, I totaled my car. Poor CR-V! I was absolutely distraught. But six hours of defensive driving and one ticket later, I finally got a quote to fix her only to find out she was a goner. But thanks to Jesus and State Farm I got a pretty hefty car replacement check. Then Mesquite produced the most beautiful 2007 black Honda Civic complete with ballin’ rims (dream car, nbd) I’ve ever seen just in the nick of time and left me with $900 to spare. Promptly put in my brand new savings account. Thus beginning my savings.
A few weeks later I parted with other very pricey items (sold immediately after listing!) I could live without and socked money away. Anything extra I threw at it. Within a month I was nearly to my goal.
I passively started applying to jobs a few months ago trying to find something in the retail world thinking I’d fit right in. I dreamt of being a merchandiser or buyer and applied to all sorts of jobs in that field. Nothing ever felt right. Nothing clicked. Would you believe I never got a single reply or call from any of those jobs? I started to get frustrated. Not a thing was happening for me. If I’d had this dream for thirteen years why wasn’t God answering it?! Where was He?! Why, after obsessing over my resume, were no companies responding? Why weren’t things happening on MY time schedule?
I make myself laugh looking back and seeing so clearly God’s hand (and arm and feet and head and face) over this last year. He was so obviously moving and I was too dumb to see it. I have had so many friends encourage me, without knowing my situation, the last few months when I was feeling defeated. Friends texting saying, “God told me He has a plan for you.” Or, “Good things are happening for you.” And the one I heard most often, “Everything will be okay. Stop worrying.” I never realized I was a worrier until recently. Jobs: Am I good enough? Am I qualified enough? Will I like the people there? Apartments: I’ll never find one that’s good enough. Safe enough. Pretty enough. Open enough. Old enough. Charming enough.
And then fear. Fear that I won’t click easily with coworkers. Fear that I’m making a mistake. Fear that I’ll get robbed in my new place. Fear that none of the timing will match up. Fear almost overwhelmed me. But I pushed through. Because that eleven year old Melody wouldn’t let me give up.
All those late night desperate searches for apartments online left me empty. I scoured Craigslist for any kind of unique place for months and nothing was coming up. Until May. May, you beautiful month, you. All of a sudden the dream places started showing up. Hardwoods, natural light, character, charm. My heart! I booked a couple showings in neighborhoods I liked and went down to Dallas. The first one was cute. Small, livable and within walking distance of Lower Greenville, my favorite neighborhood of Dallas. I liked it, but I didn’t feel anything. The second was huge, had a porch, and was still in my favorite neighborhood. When I left, the words, “It just felt like home,” fell out of my mouth and I cried. It was the first time in all the dozens of trips to Dallas I felt like I belonged. Boyfriend held my hand and said, “Apply tonight.”
Memorial Day weekend I applied to the Baptist General Convention of Texas as a Ministry Assistant in the Communications department. I actually stopped applying to anything else because I just felt at peace with that application. Sure enough, the last time I was in Dallas I got a call from the BGCT asking me to come in for testing. Just to make sure I wasn’t an idiot. (Spoiler alert! I’m not.) My phone had died earlier that night after apartment hunting and I didn’t get to a charger until about 11, just before bed. I listened to that voicemail and a look of sheer shock and excitement flashed over me. I went in for testing and aced it. On my way out, I happened to meet Paul Atkinson, head of Church Starting, who also happened to be looking for a Ministry Assistant. Kim, my tester, introduced us and we had an hour long informal interview right there in front of the elevators. That night I expressed my interest to HR in his open position and also applied for my dream apartment.
Over the next few days I worried more than I have in a long time. Would I get an interview? Would I hear back from the apartment? How much was this job going to pay? Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney. That’s all I thought about for a week. Obsessing and worrying that maybe I hadn’t saved enough or that the job wouldn’t pay enough and I’d barely be able to keep my head above water.
Three days after my test I got a call. Paul’s assistant, Terry, called to set up an interview. I couldn’t say yes fast enough. As soon as I hung up tears streamed down my face. It was happening. Suddenly I went from desperate and frustrated to overwhelmed by God’s provision. June 8 I went in for an interview. At the end I was offered the position. Completely stunned I accepted. The next day, in the middle of closing one local bank account and opening a new one with Chase, I got a text from the dream apartment manager saying, “Melody, the apartment is yours if you want it! Welcome to the building, neighbor!” The biggest grin spread across my face. I have a home. I. Have. A. Home. In. Dallas.
I still can’t believe it. Every single tiny thing I ever wanted God gave to me. I absolutely do not deserve it. I am floored by his grace and generosity. Telling this story over and over to friends I hear God whisper to me that He saw the desires of my heart all this time. And I’m overwhelmed again. Everything I needed and wanted was handed to me. In two days! The sheer outpour of love from our Jesus has just overwhelmed me. I owe my life forever to Him. Forever.
This is my home now. And I can’t wait to share this new journey with you.