Tomorrow (Monday) we will be on the road for 13 hours driving to our new home in Illinois! I can’t believe the day is finally here! If you think about it, please say a prayer for our drive!
These past few months have been a mixture of excitement and sadness as we embark on this new chapter in our lives. And my husband and I have responded to the transition in TOTALLY different ways–he possesses an unflappable spirit of adventure, and I’ve been crying a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely at peace about the move and I know with absolute certainty that God has led us to this next stage, but like any major life event, there are a LOT of emotions, and sometimes the only way I can express them all is with tears.
The last week has been packed with lunches, dinners, and coffees with close friends as I have tried to say goodbye to as many people face-to-face as possible. And let me tell you, at a time like this when life is stressful and change is looming, I have never been SO grateful for the gift of the church. That’s why I felt it would be only fitting to dedicate a blog post to my church community–the Summit Church. If you’re a brother or sister of mine from this wonderful community, this post is just for you.
It’s hard to know where to begin when I think about how grateful I am to my friends here in Durham. You all have been a blessing to me in ways that I cannot even begin to count. I have friends who have seen me through tragedies, broken hearts, challenging ministry situations, and theological uncertainty, as well as friends who have supported and rejoiced with me when I graduated from seminary, kick-started my writing career, and met and married my husband. I have so many precious memories with so many of you, and my years in Durham are TRULY a treasure to me.
My pastor is fond of saying that in a marriage relationship, a husband and a wife must both be fully known and fully loved. One without the other is not true intimacy but a superficial imitation–to be fully known without being fully loved is rejection. To be fully loved without being fully known is nothing more than shallow infatuation. Well I think that statement should be true of Christian community as well, and I am blessed to have been a part of such a group of friends. Those of you who know me well are aware of my many faults and short-comings (they tend to be rather visible ones, I’m afraid!), but you have loved me anyway. You also understood my heart, you “got” me, so to speak, and you have loved me accordingly. What a tremendous gift to have friends who know you, understand you, and love you all the same!
All of that to say, thank you for being a means of God’s grace in my life. God has used each one of you as a vessel of his mercy, encouragement, and wisdom. I am the woman that I am today in part because of you, so I thank each one of you who has invested in my life. I will miss my church home more than words can express, but I am comforted by the knowledge that the intimate friendship I experienced in Durham are only one small part of a much larger church that exists throughout the world.
So THANK YOU to each man and woman who has loved me, pushed me, and supported me over the last 10 years. I will never be the same, and I am so grateful that leaving is this hard–it means I have a wonderful community to miss. I hope to see you all soon, and I pray you will continue to encourage one another in the grace and peace of the Gospel as you have so powerfully done for me.