9 years ago God chose to move me from everything that I knew. I left behind a home that I had lived in for 20 years...my parents, siblings, two precious nephews. I left my favorite restaurants, stores, roads(yes I had favorite roads to drive on), memories, and literally everything that had been so dear to me for the majority of my life.
I will never forget leaving my wedding reception with a box of tissues in my lap that my new husband had given me. I think I cried for literally 2 hours. I was leaving home...and I didn't know if I would ever move back to the place that I loved....Virginia. We were going to a church in Georgia...in a town outside of Atlanta. My husband had been the youth and recreation pastor there for a year and now we were starting our new lives...in a completely foreign land. The accents were thicker(although y'all know I have an southern accent), the tea was sweeter, the days were hotter, the traffic was CRAZY, and it just wasn't Virginia. I was use to rolling hills of green grass and mountains....not flatness, red dirt, and pine trees. I remember thinking in my head that I would convince Ric to move back to Lynchburg within a year or so! I seriously cried for the first year and a half of our marriage. I was so sad.
I slowly began to build relationships with people...make friends that I will have forever...pour my heart into the teenagers and the sports ministry....and slowly, but surely...Georgia became home. I started to see beauty in the landscape....started to steer away from the traffic at all cost...found awesome places to take my kids....got season passes to Six Flags...ate hot dogs at the Braves games...loved teenagers....found the Pottery Barn Kids....built my dream home....found the greatest little school ever for my kids...and loved my church even more.
I use to think that I would move back in a heart beat(and yes, I still would), but it would be so hard to leave all of this. To leave the friends that we have made...the friends my kids have made....the school that we love deeply...the people......our church. The list could seriously go on and on. I never in a million years thought I would have the friends that I do...friends that pray for me...laugh with me(and at me)....cry with me.....help with my kids....friends that love my kids like family. We don't have family here, so our friends have become our family here. If I need someone to watch my kids....I call a friend. If my dog is having puppies all over my backyard and I can't find her...I call a friend. If my car won't start and my husband is gone....I call a friend. If I fall down and can't get up....I call a friend. We have become family for reals!!
I tell you all that to say this.....when I thought that God was crazy for moving me...for taking me away from all I knew....He blessed me. When I dreaded getting up in the morning because I missed my family so much....He gave me friends to encourage me. When I didn't think I could live one more day in this state....He made me love it even more. When I had no one....He blessed me with many. Sometimes we don't understand why God does the things that He does...but if we just trust Him...His plan will slowly unfold......and we just might find the blessing in it all!
No longer do I hate Georgia..although I still loathe red mud....the traffic...the pine trees(which ironically we have like a gazillion on our 4 acres). I love this crazy place I call home....but not because of it's beauty or the cool places to go or the Pottery Barn Kids.....but because of the people!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord , plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.