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What New York has taught me in the first 7 days!!

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What New York has taught me in the first 7 days!!

I’ve always joked that I have no soul. I think it’s been my way of apologizing to the world for my innate instinct to be void of emotions when any normal human being would be a blubbering idiot or giddy or whatever the situation may have called for. It is something that the Lord has been working with me on, but I’ve got a long way to go.

The only time my mercy meter would really register any activity growing up was during those commercials for poverty stricken children in 3rd world countries. Praise God I didn’t have access to my families bank accounts because I would’ve absolutely bankrupted my dad. I literally had to change the channel. For some reason, I was able to muster up compassion for people I didn’t know who were in desperate need, but when it came to people within my sphere of influence…. well, I wasn’t exactly a soft place to land, unfortunately.

Fast forward all these years later and my family has just moved to a city where I come across incredible need every 20 feet. And I don’t have a remote that works on real life. I can’t change the channel. Now, anybody who has lived here will let newcomers know that this overwhelming sense will fade and you will soon be able to walk by with the learned and perfected gift of ignoring or even overlooking. This may sound cruel, but it is, in fact, a necessity of life in an urban city. But one I have not mastered.

This past week, my husband has indulged me. I have not yet learned the art of neglecting the need. Please understand me. I don’t mean to sound condescending. I recognize that the need is so much more evident to my eyes. I am fully aware of that, but I’ve decided to just live in that. I understand that there are people who are not ACTUALLY needy that are out there and people who are surrounded by it have a much better radar for those situations.

We took the girls to the park and so bought a couple extra baked goods to divvy out as we saw people in need. We gave away a pillow and blanket we were throwing away and talked about how to approach the need in the future without bankrupting our already tight budget.

I am not saying this to make it sound like I do all of this sacrificial work for the needy! I am saying it for accountability and encouragement. This fervor may wane. I pray it doesn’t, but it may and I will need to be reminded to SEE people; not to wonder about HOW they got in this mess and blame them for their situation. My job is to love them now.

Jesus always met a need… a physical need of the people He ministered to. I want to learn to be aware of needs around me. I want to teach my girls to see need around them and to be a soft place for people to land. A source of compassion and love.

The census of 2016 shows that since 2010, people are moving to the city in rates of about 60,400 per year. The homeless population in 2017 is just under 62,000 people. What if every new resident of the city allowed themselves to feel the compassion that innately wells up in us when we first come to see the need? People tend to suppress it. I feel like it makes us feel more like a genuine resident. But we need to prioritize looking like residents of the Kingdom, and the mayor is commanding us to approach the needy head on…not pass them by. What if every new resident chose not to suppress compassion?

I am not suggesting that there would be no homeless, but I am suggesting that we would look more like our Maker. I am suggesting that we would encourage a community of compassion and I am suggesting that people would feel differently in themselves.

I have never understood the stereotype given to many New Yorkers of being rude. I have rarely experienced a rude New Yorker. Their kindness looks and sounds a little different than it does in the south, but the sentiment is the same.

I have been lost on the subway and they have helped. I have had a malfunctioning metro card and they’ve given me a free swipe. They’ve seen me struggle with a stroller and two kids and missed a train to help me up the stairs! They have told me when I dropped something. The wait staff at restaurants have always been kind and courteous. People have even walked by…total strangers and made passing jokes or casual conversation. It’s far from the stereotype of everyone being on their phone and refusing to acknowledge another person’s existence.

That being said, they are usually focused and on task. They don’t like people who talk or walk slowly and they don’t do superfluous conversation at least in passing…which I love. But the moms I meet on the playground are helpful to give me information on child rearing in the city and let me know when Jozlyn has run off (again). These people are awesome and genuine. What you see is what you get. I love it.

I’ve been warned of its dangers and many of those dangers are very real. My brother had his iPhone swiped from his back pocket while he was up here (tip- don’t leave your iPhone or wallet in your back pocket..ever). But some of the fears I had were from movies from the 80’s when Central Park was a den of thieves. If you are coming to New York now, please know that there are legitimate things to be aware of, but don’t live in fear here. There are a lot of good people around

Yes, this is the city that never sleeps, but when I came as a tourist, I felt like I had to see this amazing, one of a kind place in such a short time that I would cram a month’s worth of activities in a weeks time frame. Well, of course, it felt like a whirlwind! But Dallas would too if I said I had to go to the Houston Rodeo, the Ft. Worth Stockyards, a Cowboys game at the Star,  Six Flags and see a show in all three cities in a period of three days!

We have intentionally been taking the mornings to spend with the girls doing things they would like; parks, candy stores, toy stores, train rides, but not with an agenda (or with a packed one anyway…moms got to have some sort of soft plan). Just relaxing days of family time and you know what? The city is kind of peaceful. Yes, peaceful!

It’s like there is so much noise and stimuli that it all becomes this sea of white noise and that “city hum” just becomes the soundtrack to your day. Maybe it’s because I sleep with white noise, but the horns, and construction, and cries of the guys trying to get you to book a bike ride or carriage through Central Park has become this amalgamated, layered track by which my girls and I get to live. It’s on repeat and I love it.

 

I remember walking through my house after we sold it. It was empty and desolate and I was having a rough time of it. Y’all may remember my post about how much of an emotional wreck I was. I was so nervous that my kids would be missing out on things in Texas.

The truth is…. they don’t care! Kids at my girls’ ages need to know one thing; Mommy and Daddy are here. Their world hinges on us…that’s it. My girls could not care less about what they don’t have that they used to (of course, they miss their friends and their grandparents… we facetime often). When Kendall gets a little overwhelmed about all the change, she doesn’t whine and ask for her old swing set or favorite past time she used to enjoy. She looks up at me with those big gray eyes and deep, gorgeous dimple that she inherited from her daddy and says “hold you?” She just needs to know that Mommy is still here and I’ve got her. I don’t know about you, but that’ll preach. She just lifts her hands to her mom (one of the pictures I always remember when I reach my hands up in worship to my Heavenly Father). No matter the chaos, the safety of a loving parent’s arms is the calm in the midst of confusion. Then when she has regained her confidence, she’s off again…. happy and loving this new adventure.

We have the most amazing friends…seriously; Carson and Rachel, Janean and Jonathan, Josie and Jordan, Nikki and Tanner, Nicole and Zac, and so many more! And we miss them dearly. But we were not on the ground for 3 hours before my phone was hit up with messages of people I hadn’t spoken to in years, but they are here and wanted to connect. You have no idea how much that can mean to a newcomer trying to figure out how to create a new normal for her babies.

It is amazing how, no matter how long or short you’ve known someone if you are believers, many times there is an awesome chemistry and familial spirit that is just THERE. There is such sweet comfort and love that has been given to us from who would be complete strangers other than the fact that we are all part of the family of God.

a shot of our new church home.

This kind of goes without saying, but this place is awesome. There is something amazing to do all the time…and usually for free! My kids have been on technology WAY less this past week. Yes, I acknowledge that it’s been only a week, but I’m hopeful this trend is here to stay. They’ve just been too preoccupied with everything to do. And since I can’t just sit at home and send them to the game room, I’ve been more engaged with my kids making me a more intentional parent than I’ve been in the past.

 

Yes, to everyone that said that before we came… you were right. Congratulations! ha. It’s just hard with kids. Without kids? It’s amazing, but these little mini me’s just complicate things in the most amazing, exhausting, miraculous way ever.

It’s hard not having a washer/dryer in the building, let alone apartment. It’s hard hand washing dishes. It’s hard keeping things spotless for fear of mice. It’s hard trying to get the girls used to sharing a room. It’s hard taking a stroller and two kids up and down a subway platform. It’s hard not having a functional kitchen. It’s hard sharing a bathroom. It’s hard trying to memorize where all the elevators are. It’s hard figuring out where to eat when you don’t recognize any restaurants. It’s hard starting over. It’s hard not having my parents here. It’s just hard.

But you know what? It’s worth it. It is absolutely worth it. Not the city…the people… the call. For all the “hard” that there is, there is only One “good” that matters, and I cannot wait to see what He has in store for New York. I cannot wait to see how He will use Jordan and my girls. I cannot wait to conquer those “hards”. It is worth it.

 

I look forward to learning so much more as we move forward. Please subscribe if you want to stay informed on how you can pray for us and what we’re up to. We love you guys.

Love, the Grizzards

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We are a family of four just trying to figure out what our "new normal" looks like in Manhattan! I'm Kayla, a 29-year-old creative with a passion for theater and writing. Jordan is a musician and experience pastor with a heart that loves people. And we have two awesome little girls, Jozlyn and Kendall. Our house is crazy...always full of energy and laughter.... and we have no idea what we're doing! Help us figure it out as we go!

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I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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