I keep hearing the pat phrases, “Change is hard, but so good”, “When a door closes another one always opens”, “Things have to get better!”, etc. I know those things are true and I see great things in the midst of these past few months but at the same time, words don’t really help make it better in the moment sometimes. Change is plain old hard. A closed door (despite others opening) is still closed. Things getting better means they’ve been pretty tough.
Like today. Helping Christopher pack up his office at church came at me out of no where. Was it really time? Was this really happening? Were we really moving on?
Tears now. We are moving on. For real. But this church home, this community of people holds so much of my life story in it. At the ripe age of 11, I first stepped foot at Northshore as a sassy, rather out of control pre-teen. One mom even dared to ask my parents if I could possibly be on drugs. I set out to go out with as many youth group boys as I could. I met a friend whose heart would be knit to mine to this day, in a way I could never have imagined. Many people loved me unconditionally there and shared the story of Jesus with me in the most tangible, meaningful way. My life was changed there, my heart was changed in the midst of a group of people that modeled Love for me.
In high school years, I turned away, dated a cute boy who didn’t go to church out of my rebellious heart, fell in love with him and he followed me back to church and we both found Jesus in a new way in the process. We came there dressed in our prom clothes the day after prom, our senior year of high school, having made it through prom night with not so much as a kiss.
A few years later, I put on my wedding dress in the basement and made a slow walk up the church stairs to come down the aisle and wed my best friend. 450 people shared that day with us. Lots of youth group kids and their parents. It was the perfect day.
I watched Christopher come alive there as he led the Junior High group for 7 years. We poured our lives out, had kids in our home often and gave everything we had to the students God placed in our path. We loved it, we loved them.
With great delight we shared with everyone that we were expecting our first baby and with great fear we asked for prayer when she was born early and was very sick. For six solid weeks, nearly every night someone from church brought us dinner in the hospital. The NICU nurses could not believe that we were so well cared for. It was amazing, such a sense of family, we felt so blessed.
We happily brought baby after baby Sunday mornings and often to daddy’s office during the week to be doted on and loved and held and kissed year after year.
The past three years so much has changed. Looking back it’s easy to see that our direction would change though it still was such a surprise when it did in September. What isn’t easy is walking out the door that is closing. Trying not to look back with tears. Knowing the people we are used to running in to and being around won’t be in our path in the same way anymore. There is something sweet and rich about being somewhere for 20 years. Being known, being remembered and being loved in the same place.
We know that the best is yet to come and that we are in for a great adventure. It is exciting to dream about what we want to do, to have the freedom to try new things and to trust that our future doesn’t rest in our own hands.
Thankful to feel deeply, to be turning the page to a new chapter, to have a Hope that never changes and to be doing it all with the same cute boy I fell in love with 15 years ago.