Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"There and Back Again..."

Have you ever looked back over a span of time and asked yourself, "How did I get here?"

Well... here I am sitting on my couch in our three-bedroom apartment (not two-bedroom townhome), watching a movie that started at 8pm Central (not 8pm Eastern), still adjusting to the fact that we have a Texas zip code (not a Kentucky one).  We're a stone's throw from my dad, two hours from my mom, and just over five hours from my in-laws.  Just five short months ago we were interviewing for a church position in Virginia, and here we are surrounded by partially unpacked boxes in an apartment we moved into just over two weeks ago.  After more than seven years of residing in Louisville, we've rather unexpectedly returned to Texas.  Some see us for the first time since moving back, and greet us with an exhuberant, "Welcome home!" - to which I'm still unsure how to respond.

Thanks to the recent (and much-anticipated) movie release, I've had all things Tolkien and Middle Earth on the brain, which seems so timely given the "adventure" we've embarked on with this move.  If you've seen any of the movies, then you're familiar with a scene at the very end of "Return of the King," a thought-provoking scene as the story is coming to an end... Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin are sitting around a table at the tavern in Hobbiton, sharing some ale, surrounded by familiar tunes and faces.  While the scene is portraying the comfort that accompanies being home again, one can't help but notice the expression on their faces; they're home, but not really home.  No matter how familiar the sights and smells of Hobbiton are, nothing can reverse the fact that they are forever changed by where their journey has taken them.  They're different, they're changed, their eyes behold the world around them with new lenses.  Things will never be to this company of four as they were before.

My husband and I aren't 23 and 24 anymore.  In the span of seven years, we've known both pain and joy, entered into the covenant of marriage, formed lifelong friendships, bid farewell to those friendships that were never meant to be, seen one of our cherished dogs grow into what are now her senior years (with the other close behind), joined and now bid farewell to a church that was truly our family in countless ways, lost count of church interviews, been given job promotions I was never even pursuing before they were offered, and the list continues.  Life has afforded us a series of events we would've never imagined back in 2005.  I know we are better for it - even if we can't fully see reasons yet - because we rely on a good and sovereign God who orchestrates every event and guides our every step.  This move was such a step.  My husband made a list back in April of all the things that would have to happen, all the details that would have to fall into place, for us to even entertain the thought of moving back to Texas... In a week's time back in mid-October, we were checking the boxes on all of those details, and having conversations about where to live when we moved at the end of the year.

So here I am on our couch in our three-bedroom apartment in Texas, almost two weeks into my new position at work, and wondering what in the world lies ahead - tomorrow, next week, in three months.  All feels uncertain and uncomfortable as I try in vain to see out across the vast unknown that is our future.  Regardless of what lies ahead, we know at this very moment that we aren't who we once were.  While a strange feeling indeed, there's an underlying thread of security upholding us because of the One in whom our security rests~

"'Cause I'm not who I was when I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire if You want me to...
It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone"
(G. Owens)

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