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The Story Of How We Ended Up In Nashville

I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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I got a blog request recently—which kind of makes me feel like a late-night radio DJ on a slow jams station. “This one goes out to you ____________,” but I’m always happy to hear from you, and happy to answer your questions.

I loved this question because I realized it’s a story I haven’t told before. I haven’t told this story because in a lot of ways I feel like I’m still in the process of living it, but I’m happy to share what’s happened up to this point.

The question was: How did you and Carl find jobs in Nashville, and why did you decide to move there?

If you’re new to The Lipstick Gospel, this question is much bigger than it sounds. Carl and I moved to Nashville and got new jobs after being laid off from the company we worked for, on the very same day, four months before our wedding.

We walked into work thinking everything was normal, and walked out at lunch with a severance check and absolutely no idea what our future was going to look like.

A few days later, we sat on my bed with a pen and a pad of paper. Neither of us knew how to go about making these kinds of decisions from scratch. It’s not often that you have as many options and variations for what life could look like as we did that day.

So we did what any normal person would do, I guess, and started making lists.

We made lists of the kinds of jobs we could do—from most desirable to least desirable. We had plans A through at least G, and G was moving home to one of our parent’s house and living in their basement until we had a better idea.

Then we made a list of cities we could see ourselves living in. Denver was at the top for me, I saw this as my free ticket home, God giving me a hug and a plane ticket to a life where I could live next door to my best friends forever and ever amen.

Indianapolis was on the list; Atlanta was too. San Diego, Portland, Austin, Nashville, the list was long and truly pretty random.

With a few ideas jotted down, we began the long journey of applying for jobs. I lost count at 20, and I had too many in my head to keep count of where Carl was applying. We heard back from a few places, but mostly we didn’t hear back—our resumes lost in a stack somewhere on some poor HR person’s desk.

Our wedding was coming up, and our severance was running out, and depending on the day we switched off feeling terrified, exhilarated, excited, and hopeless. At least we switched off though, there was always one of us trying to convince the other that it would all be okay, we wouldn’t starve… promise!

How We Ended Up In Nashville

We prayed a lot in those months—not out of holiness, but out of pure necessity.

We were running out of ideas, out of options, and certainly had come to the end of the plan we’d made on our own. Prayer was the best idea we could think of, so we did it often.

At some point, Carl suggested I call my friend Ally. I’m honestly not sure why he suggested it, or why I decided to do it. But I did. I called my friend Ally and told her what had happened.

Her response is my favorite part of this whole story, actually, because it is quite possibly my favorite gift I’ve ever been given.

Ally’s response was short and sweet: come up to Nashville for the weekend and stay with us. Just rest, you need it. We’ll take care of everything.

And they did.

A few weeks later, we drove to Nashville and stayed in their guest room. They took us to a vineyard, and to dinner, and to breakfast the next day. They wouldn’t let us pay for a single thing, and let us rest, and unwind, and say the ugly and scared things we were trying not to say.

At the end of the weekend, they offered me a job. It turned out Ally had been needing a writing assistant for awhile, and the timing of my phone call was perfect.

I accepted the job, of course. But we still weren’t sure we were going to be able to move to Nashville. We didn’t have the money, honestly. My job was only part time, and Carl hadn’t yet found anything in Nashville.

We put a hold on an apartment in Nashville we had never even seen, and our decision went back and forth so frequently, I didn’t believe we were actually moving until the U-Haul was packed and driving down the highway.

It wasn’t the safe decision, but it was the right one… we hoped.

How We Ended Up In Nashville

Our second day in Nashville, Ally and I met at a coffee shop to go over a project we were working on together. Both of our husbands decided to tag along, and while we were talking, they got to talking.

An hour later they announced to us that they were starting a marketing company together—and just like that, they did.

Moving to Nashville hasn’t been easy—not at all. But the pieces have also fallen together in ways I never could have predicted or done on my own.

Carl’s company is doing really well, I get to write a ton, and a large portion of my time is devoted to all things Lipstick Gospel, which I love X 1,000,000,000. Best of all, we get to work with people we love: each other, and great friends.

It’s not perfect, new seasons are never a piece of cake, but it is wonderful. It’s better than I ever could have asked for or imagined.

But isn’t that how God does things?

It seems like our world is crumbling, it certainly felt that way to me. We reach out to Him, begging Him to catch us, to fix things, to give us a warm place to live and a way to pay our bills. It seems like He’s not going to come through, and sometimes He takes much longer than we’d like Him to.

How We Ended Up In Nashville

But it always happens.

He always comes through, and when we look back, the road that felt so twisty and painful, senseless in every way, all of a sudden seems straight. We can see what He was doing all along.

Carl and I did not want to lose our jobs right before our wedding. That was not a part of our plan at all, and my heart still hurts when I think about all we lost. But God took that loss and gave us something even better.

It’s amazing how He does that—how He turns the moments when our life falls apart into things that are better than we could have ever dreamed up on our own.

That’s actually what my new book is about. The Lipstick Gospel is the story of my life getting totally re-routed, of God swooping into some of my most painful, hurt moments and making something incredible out of them.

When have you felt like your world was falling apart? What have you seen God do in those moments? 

P.S. Here's a podcast episode all about how to navigate big life transitions with faith.

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A few years ago, life threw my husband and I a curve ball. Here's the story of how we ended up in Nashville!

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  1. Erica says:

    Love your story!!! I would also love to meet for coffee one of these days and connect! X

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