It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Exodus 33:15

It was 12 years ago this month that we were packing up our house in Brandon, MS to move to Jacksonville, AL. I can't deny it. I was pumped. I didn't love Mississippi. I don't know why... well, let's just say I didn't know why. Now I could give you two handfuls of reasons why I didn't love it all those years ago but even then, I knew, something may not have been right about moving.

I had spent the previous 6 months praying about it. At some point I ran across Exodus 33:15 and it hit me like a ton of bricks...

Then Moses said to him, "If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."

It is unlike me to not want to go on and on about why Moses said what he did... read it. It's beautiful.

That's exactly why I chose to pray those words as well.

I didn't care for Mississippi but I did love our church and I loved our friends and the thought of leaving them made me sad.

Sam, Josh, Drew... shortly before we moved away

I had left friends before. I had left friends all my life. I was a professional at leaving friends.

The Gman had a fantastic job opportunity and I just didn't think we could pass it up. I had decided many years before that I would not ever be the reason the Gman accepted or turned down a job. I'd much rather have to learn to love a place I didn't particularly like than feel a sense of resentment from the man I was planning on spending my whole life with.

Still... I had small doubts about how I was praying about moving, why I was praying about moving...

So, I thought, I will pray this. I will pray this because I believed it. I wanted it. I didn't care what the outcome of praying it would be, I wanted only that God go before us. If I didn't know that He walked ahead of us, leading us, I couldn't go with any confidence.

It didn't take very long before all of our hopes for our AL move panned out and we were saying our goodbyes. Goodbyes to some of the most important people we'd had the privilege to share life with.

Literally our last stop before driving out of town.
One last picture with our favorite people in the world
Randy and Faye Cress

I hadn't thought about that move in so long. Kate had yet to be born - we had put more babies long out of our minds. Elli wasn't even on the radar - I am not sure we ever thought about adoption for our family since the couple of years early in our marriage when we were unsure we'd be able to have children.

Then, very early this morning, when I should have been sound asleep, I heard  Without you by Shane and Shane.

Album Cover of the Shane and Shane Album
The One You Need

All the memories of that move flooded back.

It's the flood, something that is usually synonymous with danger, death, and damage that in my case is just the opposite.

I moved excitedly to Alabama. We were in a little quaint town. We didn't have a Colonial Heights Baptist Church there but we did find a sweet fellowship and dove right in. We decided to build our first house and I found out I was pregnant, very unexpectedly... it was an exciting time.

And Then...

The towers were hit. I was left alone with 3 boys, homeschooling, unpacking a brand new home, vomiting with a 5th pregnancy. Feeling quite old and very tired and without many friends.

I began to tear up, then I began to cry, and then the floodgates opened and I began to weep. I began to weep for what I had walked away from, what I had so selfishly left behind. Before we had been gone for 3 months, I was begging God's forgiveness. Begging God to somehow, someway, send us back.

We had made a big mistake and we needed to go back...

It would take over 8 years, two states, and some really difficult times before one night, at the dinner table, in front of my children, I began to weep again as I saw the Gman walk into the kitchen from a phone call he received from Headquarters. The smile on his face spoke volumes and I could not hold back. I cried so profusely that my kids thought a close relative had died. Eight years of begging, hoping, praying and here it was, the day that I had waited for. I was going home.

I never had a home. As a child I moved every 2 years give or take 6 months until I graduated from High School. Then I married before I finished college and moved colleges. Then proceeded to marry a man who determined to move me every 2 to 4 years.

I realized that day, that I had a home. Home really is where the heart is and my heart was in Mississippi. A strange place for a girl who spent the first 20 years of her life above the Mason-Dixon.

The reality was though, that it wasn't the place I was going back to, it was the people. My family was there, my brothers and sisters in Christ that I so dearly treasured. Randy and Faye Cress who we so loved that we combined their first names into Kate's middle name Raye.

I remembered the first day we drove to church. The day we were going to go forward at the end of service to join - re join - the church we yearned 8 years to return to. My stomach was fluttering and my composure was tenuous at best. But it was a feeling I promised myself I'd not forget.

I didn't. Just yesterday, as I drove onto the church property, I remembered that first day back, all over again. I felt those same flutters and smiled to myself.

Do I think it was a mistake to leave? Did God really go before us?

I don't know but yes He did. I know He did because I don't believe, on our own, we would have followed the difficult path necessary that led us right back here... right back home.

There's no place like home.

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These are just some thoughts from my heart. There's nothing gained by comments that aren't encouraging or edifying. It's not that I don't want you to share your thoughts but think through what you want to say before you say it. If it wouldn't encourage or entertain you, then it won't us either... If it will, then by all means, we want to read it!