The view from W. River Parkway — my commute home from work.
In December of 2017 I was doing research online and found a small magazine based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, that I really liked. A few weeks later I was in Southern California visiting family and wandered into a shop that had the print version for sale. It was different than most. The value set and quality of the publication made my heart swell — I was living across the country, but I wanted to be a part of writing the words in those pages. In fact, I didn’t even care if I was writing. I reached out to the founder and to those contributing content and asked what I could do; I was willing to do anything — to write, to edit or even to just pray for the team and the execution of the print edition. But, I didn’t get a response, from anyone.
Still, I started praying. On February 5th, 2018, I wrote about Minneapolis in my journal for the first time.
“God, I pray over this city. I am already getting excited about it, but please allow me to be patient and prayerful and go where you are leading me, not where I want to go. If it is my someday place, please begin to cultivate and prepare it for me, and me for it.”
I really had no idea why I was praying. I’d maybe thought about the city five times before in my whole life. The odds that I’d ever have anything to do with anything there seemed enormously slim. I figured my fascination would fade.
Then, in ways I can’t explain, Minneapolis suddenly began popping up all over my radar. I’d randomly learn people I knew had roots there, or a musician I’d always loved was from there. I discovered more change-making publications headquartered in the Twin Cities, and found entrepreneurs on Instagram who had ties there. One day I woke up and saw on social media that a friend of mine had flown to visit, and I had no idea he was even going. Other magazines I looked at had contributors based in Minneapolis, and art I found on the popular page on Instagram was created by people there.
All in all, it was weird. In a million other small ways, Minneapolis was elbowing its way to the forefront of my mind.
Early on in my exploration of the city, I looked up the Young Life area for Minneapolis online (because I’m me) and watched a promotional video of two high school boys talking about how YL in the Twin Cities impacted their lives. Again, it was like everything in me lit up and I felt an immutable sense of urgency — I need to be there. I sent out a mass email to every single person on staff in the area and told them that I saw their video, that I was praying for the ministry happening there and that maybe, just maybe, I might be moving there someday. It was a shot in the dark.
Zoom out from the dreaming and I was a junior in college beginning to dig my heels into a city I had grown to love and an area of study I loved even more. I was learning every day and leaning in to whatever opportunity or relationship I felt like God was presenting to me. Minneapolis was in the back of my mind, and I began to consistently record my prayers over the city in scattered journal entries, but life was moving on — and moving fast.
In the spring of 2018, I discovered an opportunity with another publication I felt connected to. This opportunity was in Los Angeles; I hated Los Angeles. Still, my prayers shifted to revolve around the possibility of moving there. I had conversations with the management team and asked God to lead me according to His plan, even if it was to a city I felt was grimy and grossly overpopulated. For awhile I was convinced I would end up in LA. But alas, the opportunity didn’t pan out. Thanks God?
The summer months showed up and brought with them more pinch-me moments than I knew what to do with. As soon as my friends and I finished spring finals, we hit the road for a week split between BANFF and Glacier National Park. We returned and the next weekend two of my best friends married in the middle-of-nowhere Eastern Oregon. 36 hours later I was on a plane to Switzerland for two weeks of vacation with my family. Four days after we got back I flew to Colorado to spend three weeks serving at Young Life camp. And then, post-camp, it was back to Eugene for a month of summer classes. During my week off before the fall term commenced, I flew to Georgia to visit friends and road-tripped through three southern states.
Throughout the summer, my mind was racing just as quickly as my body was, but I remember noticing that another girl working with me at camp in Colorado was from the Twin Cities. I asked her about it, and I told her I had this weird itch to move there.
On August 27th, 2018, I wrote: “Lord, again I am coming to you with prayer over the city of Minneapolis. I just feel something. I feel like you are pulling me there. Flesh out my intentions and wipe me clean of impure motives and idols — let me see clearly if this is a city you want me to pour my heart into.”
In the fall, graduation went from seeming like a marathon-distance away to a quick 100-yard sprint with the wind at my back. I was a senior; I had one year left, and I was acutely aware of the fact that soon I could basically go anywhere I wanted. It was, and still is, liberating.
I was praying frequently, but I wasn’t actively doing much of anything to get to Minneapolis. I purchased some of the local art I had found on the Instagram popular page and followed a few new publications, but the dream I had to move to the Midwest was largely just taking up space in my head. Around that time I was talking on the phone with a writer who has been a mentor of sorts. She told me I could fantasize all day, but if I really wanted to go places and make anything of myself, I needed to give my dreams legs.
I thought about the book of Joshua in the bible. I thought about how God told Joshua that He would be the one to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. God had already given Joshua victory over the people who were residing in the land of Canaan, but still, Joshua rose early in the mornings. He sent out spies to observe Jericho. He strategically executed attacks on Ai and the five Southern kings. And, Joshua prayed, fervently, words of his own submission and God’s deserved exaltation.
I knew that while God’s timing was perfect and His will resolute, I couldn’t simply sit and wait for Him to act on my behalf. Like Joshua, I needed to be active. I was sure that He was nudging me toward Minnesota, and to honor that nudge I needed to be persistent in seeking out opportunity. God’s call requires our participation. And, more importantly, our obedience.
So, I reached out again to the first Minneapolis publication that caught my attention. Then, I began to scour the internet and intentionally look for a way I could fit into the city.
As I was looking into local churches, I found a podcast called “The Making of an Exception,” done by a pastor as his side-gig. The basis of the podcast is to interview young creatives in the Twin Cities who are living out their faith while being exceptionally skilled in their field. I binged 5 episodes in a row as I drove from Eugene to Seattle one weekend.
A few days later, I remember sitting in my car out front of my friends’ apartment. I was about to send an email to a brand strategy agency called Honest Media — the founder had spoken on the podcast. I prayed a ridiculous prayer, one that was specific and seemed way too big.
Meanwhile, I got in contact with the podcast’s producer. As we talked, he mentioned he did work for Honest Media — I had no idea they were connected beyond the episode I heard. He said he wanted to be a resource to me in any way he could, and that he’d talk to the team at Honest about potentially hosting me as a summer intern.
The too-big prayer I prayed in the car, and all the other smaller ones I’d been praying for a year, were beginning to be answered.
Each step forward was continual confirmation that my preoccupation with Minneapolis wasn’t happenstance. Still, Honest Media wasn’t the only option for me post-grad. I was considering another position and felt entirely torn on which to choose. I prayed and sought wise counsel and prayed some more. But, I felt confident that God was blessing both options, and wanted me to make the decision on my own — He’d provide no matter which I chose.
In the final week before my decision was due, I had a phone call with a writer in Minneapolis I had reached out to awhile back. During our conversation, I decided.
Roughly one year after I started praying over the Twin Cities, my place there was solidified. I was going to relocate and work as a copywriter for Honest Media during the summer season.
To me, it was a choice to be obedient. God had answered my prayers and created so many connections for me in the Midwest. I felt like He had laid out each step, and all I had to do was walk them. I wanted to honor His provision and exhibit my thankfulness by going.
In the months that followed, it seemed as though every other page of my journal was being filled with prayer over this new adventure. Prayer over the job — my coworkers, my confidence and my ability to deliver strong work. Prayer over community — future friends, a church family and roommates. And prayer over the city as a whole — strangers, ministry and revival.
God continued to orchestrate my move while simultaneously blessing the end of my season as a college student. Eugene, Oregon, is currently my favorite city on the map. It’s the place where I learned and loved. I could talk endlessly about this place and its people — and I probably will a different time. So, leaving was no easy task. But, God poured out so much grace and sweetness and contentment over my transition, more than I deserved.
What’s next? Who knows. I’m going on week four in Minnesota and falling so in love with the green, green, green. I’m asking God to reveal His purpose in sending me here, but I’m not overly concerned with receiving a big-time revelation. Instead, I’m taking one day at a time and keeping my eyes wide open.
“The one thing I ask of the Lord — the thing I seek most — is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
Jesus, may I never get to a point where my “dreams” depart from your will.