As parents of three year old twins, the mini vacation we booked months in advance was on our minds constantly. I mean, I love my babies, but we walked into this parent role with TWO from day one. We could feel the need to dedicate some time to our marriage away from the fog that has been real life lately. When I bought a ticket to The Happy Hour Live with Jamie Ivey (One of Austin’s finest) in April, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get away.
We left with hope on the horizon. We knew conversation and rest waited there for us, and we couldn’t wait. I was in need of this time to strip away the call of motherhood and just be a wife. Just be myself. Just sit. Just breathe. Just take off what people thought of me and find myself again.
I fell in love with the atmosphere from day one. Austin provides what cannot be copied. Each street holds its own value of vibrant colors and creative outlets. With many recommendations, we decided to stay at the newly renovated Line Hotel. This hotel holds true to the perfect location off of Congress Street and right in the center of downtown happenings. The moment I walked in, my design and detailed heart was in awe of the beauty and historic value they have kept alive. I was drawn to the legacy they seek to continue and the way their hearts are dedicated to hospitality and service.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
1 Corinthians 12: 4-7
I can’t explain it, but Jesus met us there in that misunderstood city. Though the enemy may feel he has overcome it, I felt The Lord’s presence more there than I do most days in the Bible belt that is East Texas. I wasn’t looking for Him, and I can definitely tell you my tired mama heart just wanted to check out and be waited on. It wasn’t to benefit us in any way, no; it was to truly open up our eyes and senses at how He looks at unbelievers. I couldn’t help but love and listen to each person we encountered. Was it strange, YES. But as they say in Austin…
We didn’t pray for this, and we certainly felt like outcasts as Christians at times. But, this is where our opinionated culture of hate, self help, and logic get it wrong. Self is never first. I don’t care how you prove yourself to be right; I have seen the effects of it play out in my own life, and you will always come up empty. When we put God first and His people second, you begin to fall in love with a life not about you. God will start to align the broken pieces and begin to mold and shape a life you never dreamed could be possible. When I just wanted to check out from my role as a believer, He knew that wasn’t going to work.
Every where you walk the phrase hangs proudly, “Keep Austin Weird.” The basis of this phrase is to be who you are and not look back. And well, I get why people hold value to it. Don’t we all just want to be accepted and find a place we belong? And yet, I bet we can all agree as believers that God chose the broken, mistreated, oppressed, and confused.
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.”
Ephesians 5: 1-2
This verse goes on to talk about sin and how to not partner with the darkness of this world that is often confused with light. But, in true Jesus fashion, He begins with love for others being the ultimate imitator of Him. Love opens up the doors and conversations to the truth that only a relationship with Him can offer.
I have seen Him in the faces of workers and townspeople who truly make Austin one of the best places to seek shelter in. I have seen Him in the design and artwork of the most talented people this world has to offer. I have seen Him in the heart of a city that refuses to say His name aloud. We have seen Him in a conversations that give the heart a chance to be more than surface level.
ATX. We fell in love with you. Thank you for the incredible hospitality and your unique way of drawing the eye to a city like no other. Your story is not unwritten or forgotten. Keep being weird…keep being kind.