Mom asked me the oddest question this past Wednesday …… “Are you going to miss anyone when you leave”.
Well, of course, Mama. Naturally. I mean, my whole life has revolved around the Carolinas since before the time of Moses. I’m a southern girl. You and Dad raised us here. I use words like y’all, ain’t, darlin’ and bless your heart. Nellie T’s and Duke’s are staples in the fridge.
Both sets of families are within an hour and a half radius of our little house in The Village. Our parents, siblings and sisters in law, nieces and nephews, our three girls and that precious nugget (who is growing up so quickly). Everyone we love. Here. When we leave, will I miss anyone? Come on now.
Our closest relationships outside of family are all just minutes away. My girls. Oh my, these women who were once strangers, are now my sisters. We’ve laughed and cried together. Celebrated and mourned together. Served, learned, studied, prayed, played and grown together. We have history.
Since moving to the upstate in August 2010, LifeSong Church has been My. Home. Church.
A few weeks ago, after years of preparing, praying and waiting, we gave Calvary QC our yes. In an instant, every single aspect of life as we know has been impacted, with little time to transition from Upstate to Midwest.
Making sure all the details of leaving this life for our new one is exhausting, but the busyness has kept me from processing all I’ll be missing.
This afternoon I press pause, looking back, feeling all the feels. And the word ‘missing’ doesn’t come remotely close to describing these emotions.
I came to you a broken, wounded woman. With both hands I dragged along suitcases laden with failure, bursting at the seams with insecurity, fear, anger, shame and regret. I had only recently recognized my need for a savior and surrendered my life to Jesus a few months earlier. As a brand new baby Christian, I had not yet experienced grace or accepted God’s forgiveness. I was clueless, pretty sure that I had lots of work to do to make up for my life of sin, in my heart fearing that there was no way to offset the 49 years of doing life my way. Thank God, my Jesus already paid the price.
I was hungry for the lord and wanted to know Him more. I desperately needed your protection, and a community of passionate Christ followers. I wanted to find my purpose, value and worth. I wanted to be welcome, known, loved and enough. Looking back I know I came across overbearing, other times harsh, and so needy. Oh, I was a total mess. I can never make up for that.
Church, you welcomed me as I was, bandaged my wounds, fed me. You showed me grace, and what love looks like. Patiently, you taught me, encouraged me, challenged me. You allowed me to work through my junk at the pace God was changing me. Over time, my value, purpose and worth was found in Christ and Him alone. One day His grace, love and forgiveness became real and tangible. They became mine.
Words like “missionaries where we live work and play”, “faithful, available and teachable” and “whatever it takes” went from being sayings to a lifestyle. They are forever a part of me.
Talents I never knew I had developed. Faith blossomed. My relationship with the lord grew deeper. I learned how to serve God, to serve you, to serve our community …. and when I messed up, instead of blame, it was ok to get up, shake it off and keep on going.
What a privilege to be a part of this body of believers, you … my Home Church, my adopted family.
As I prepare my heart to go to a new church home, my suitcases will be packed with the very best memories of you. Going is bittersweet. But LifeSong, you are all much loved and you will most definitely be missed.