Congrats to Sarah for winning the beautiful board from Glory Haus! Hope it inspires and encourages you, Sarah. We have another gorgeous giveaway today… so keep reading!

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As a quick recap from yesterday: God spoke Nashville into my heart in October of 2007. I moved there, alone with no friends or family, in August of 2008.

And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

But Nashville saved me.

Often people say, “Why do you think God moved you to Nashville?” and I still am not sure of the fullness of that purpose. I mean, I don’t have a list that is complete.

Because let me tell you, my hometown is great. My parents are awesome. My best friends are awesome. My job, my house, my church, all of it- totally worth sticking around for. So I didn’t move because I was unhappy.

It was because I was a wimp and because I had forgotten my first love. It was the only way God could save me from myself.

Nashville saved me from a life without courage. Many of my friends and family can live in Marietta and step into courageous situations, but I didn’t and probably wouldn’t have. I merely went wherever I could to be comfortable. And sorry to say, that isn’t a life that honors God to the fullest. [At least, it wasn’t for me.]

Nashville saved me from a life where I love those around me more than I love God. I often used to make choices more dependent on my people than on my Father, and that won’t cut it. But moving to a city where Jesus was my only friend fixed that pretty quick. And gratefully, more friends came along, but that was only after I really learned, in the trenches per say, that Jesus is the only one that will be with me always.

Nashville saved me from a life of seeking comfort. I have said this before and I’ll say it 100 more times in my life probably- I am less comfortable, but more confident, in Nashville. Because I am so sure that God moved me there, I can be confident. But comfortable? Not always. Just ask Amber– she won’t let me wear fleece anymore; and if you ask me, that is the epitome of comfort.

Nashville saved me from a life of NO. For the first few months, I made myself say YES anytime someone asked me to hang out or go somewhere or do something. I mean, I had no friends, so anytime someone wanted to hang out, SO. DID. I. 🙂 And then, a few years later, when I was offered the chance to live in Edinburgh, I was confident of my YES’s.

[See what God did there? I knew He was faithful with Nashville, so I could more easily say yes to Edinburgh. He’s a genius.]

When God asked me to move to Nashville, I felt like He said, “Give Me your world.” And to some extent He did.

But the reality is, God said, “Give Me a chance. And I’ll give you the world.”

And He has. Nashville is the sweetest gift that I have ever received. The people…. don’t even get me STARTED on the people. I am the luckiest girl in the world, as proven by my 30th birthday. [Just watched that video again and I am totally boo-hooing right now. Ugh. I’m so grateful.]

My writing career has blossomed thanks to Nashville, including my first book, From Head to Foot, releasing earlier this year.

And God literally has given me the world- since moving to Nashville, I’ve gotten to say YES to New York, LA, Greensboro, Chicago, Seattle, Prague [on Friday!], Edinburgh, Dallas, London, Charlotte… and the list goes on. Would those opportunities have come along anyways? Maybe. But would I have said YES? Maybe not.

It hasn’t always been easy; it still isn’t. I still miss my Marietta life and people a lot [and often]. But I know the One who has called me is faithful. And looking back on the last 3 years, I can see how my life has morphed into a better story because He gave me the courage I needed at every turn.

My life is WAY bigger than I ever dreamed. And I am the braver for it.

And I pray that God uses this big life, as unworthy and flawed as I am, to inspire others to say YES to courage. 

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I’ve saved today’s giveaway for this post exactly. Kandy at Bit O Whimsey had said it better than I ever could. [You can click it to see it bigger.]

One of you will win this beautiful 5×7 print … hopefully it will remind you to say YES to courage.

For the rest of us Less-Than-Winners :), you can get 10% off your purchase at Bit O Whimsey using the code ANNIEBLOGS2011 until October 31. Pretty much, I want to own every piece of art she makes. So. I won’t blame you if you buy too much.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment [with a working email address] and answer this question:

When have you said YES and it changed everything?

[maybe marriage, a job, a city, a conversation, a purchase? there are tons of possible yes moments!]

You have until I wake up Friday morning [around 8am Scotland time, 3am EDT, 2am CDT, midnight PDT] to enter.

Go on… tell me your YES story! 🙂