Meet Corlischa. She is one of those people who is always all-in. With the Lord. With her husband. With her friends. With whatever is going on at the moment. She is fully committed but not in a way that makes it seem like a duty. Her commitment looks more like faithfulness. She is full of joy and excitement that are contagious. She is brave and bold and has a deep compassion for people. She is the campus women’s pastor at our church, and she leads with humility and honesty and determination. We (all of us) are so grateful for you, my friend.Our friendship was forged on Highway 290, driving to and from a smattering of different events. It also involved one afternoon of sitting in the stopped HOV lane for well over an hour while a stalled car in front of us was cleared. When you spend that much time in the car with someone, you get to know them. We have gotten to do some hard things together. And we have gotten to have a lot of fun (sometimes even while doing the hard things)! I am so grateful for her, for her love of life, for her love for the Lord, for her friendship. We have pushed and pulled each other into the presence of God countless times over the past two years, and I can’t imagine this season without her.
Corlischa, your friendship is a gift. You are a gift! Thank you for sharing your heart with us here.
Her words are below.
The past week The Lord has been so personal to me. He showed me that He truly knows, listens and cares, but more than that, I encountered my God in a way that makes me believe He wants to know me personally and He wants to be known by me. And by you. Deeply. Intimately.
My life has been very “interesting” over the past two years. I use this word, because I feel “interesting” is a safe option. Everything I once thought was comfortable and known was somehow exchanged for an adventurous journey with God and my man. Moving across continents sounded like fun. So we did it. [Corlischa and her husband moved here from South Africa.] Of course I knew that I would probably have culture shock, but there are so many things that no one could have prepared me for:
- An American diner truly is exactly how you see it on TV – it even smells how I imagine it to smell…
- People drink cold, sweet English tea (who would have thought, but I’m converted and actually like it!)
- People use phrases like y’all, or if you’re truly Southern you say “all of y’all”
- Starbucks has a million options to choose from and when I say “a TALL Latte” they hear “two lattes” (I switched to a Grande…)
- The love and affection Texans have for their cars…the bigger the better (this makes me smile)
- People in Houston are connected to each other. They go way back. Some even for 30+ years.
I know that we get use to things that are different. You adapt to the culture and you remind yourself to laugh when you use a word that no one understands. You laugh when the biggest truck you can imagine passes you on the freeway and you laugh at silly questions about lions roaming in the African streets or backyards. But the way people are connected has been something that keeps surprising me.
With being in Houston for a little over two years, the longest I’ve known anyone in my daily encounters in this city is 28 months, so hearing that people went to kindergarden together is somehow very foreign in this season of my life. It’s not really a big deal and I don’t usually pay much attention to this, but about two weeks ago Anthonie and I had dinner with an awesome couple when I discovered more of these “way-back-connections.” They started telling us of all the people in our circle of friends who they have known since they were in elementary school. I couldn’t believe it. We are talking about 25+ years ago. As we were driving home, it hit me. I literally don’t have anyone in Houston who knows me since I was 16 or even 20 years old. (Now, please don’t think I share this out of self-pity or feeling sorry for myself, because then you’ll miss the point)
I’m usually okay with this (it’s kind of what you expect when you live abroad), but this particular day it dawned on me that there is no one in my day-to-day life that has known me in a “previous season.” I am extremely thankful that God has planted us here and that He has surrounded us with amazing people who I love dearly and deeply. But just for a brief moment I missed having a friend who knows my heart from way back. I missed a middle school friend or my college roommate in driving distance from me.
Now, you need to know that I don’t do well with dwelling in conversations about “what do you miss”. I choose to live with purpose in the moment, but for some reason my heart was just homesick. I voiced it to Anthonie, but I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. As I was laying in bed I whispered all these emotions to God. I also made a conscious decision to just leave it with Him.
A few days later I saw a wise women who goes to Church with me and whom I respect so much. She is probably my mom’s age. I don’t know her that well, but I know she walks with Jesus. She pulled me aside and saidthat she needed to tell me a quick story. She saw two of her high school friends in HEB that day. As she was walking away from their conversation she suddenly thought of me and realized that I probably don’t have anyone from a “previous season in my life” at this moment. (The exact words I used to describe it to God.) She became so aware of this and was led to pray for me. As I listened to Cathy sharing this with me, I was thankful that the Lord is Faithful. I was thankful that she was quiet enough to listen and obedient enough to pray for me, but I was even more thankful that she told me. Because this reminded me of our God who knows us. He listens and He cares. He does encounter us–even if it sounds silly and small. He encounters us exactly where we are.