Today, well, today I thought you may need a little confidence boost.
Want to see the state of things? Allow me to forever make you feel like a better housekeeper than I:
As many of you are aware, in less than 24 hours we are leaving Alabama. Moving out west, as they say. After a four day trip to Atlanta, that is. Toby's excited:
But we will be none-the-less driving away from our home tomorrow – from a town and people we have grown to love very much over this past year.
I never thought I'd ever leave Washington to move to Alabama.
And I certainly never thought that just a year later, the Lord's providence would lead us right back to Washington.
As I anxiously, but sadly, packed up boxes yesterday a hymn came into my head out of nowhere. In my best fake-soprano-opera voice (totally not kidding), I began singing loudly the words to Great Is Thy Faithfulness:
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!“
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
The Lord has been so faithful in his provisions for us – both in our uprooting, moving across the country, and beginning a life down South, as well as the decision making and process of moving back west. My friend Casie recently asked me what I would miss the most about the South.
I hesitated. Contemplated.
And then the answer sprung to my heart: THE PEOPLE.
He has provided us with beautiful people like my dear friend Kate:
When we first moved to Fairhope, Kate was one of the first people to invite me to a playdate. We enjoyed fellowship together in a small circle group at church she encouraged me to join.
She watched Georgia for me for Doctor's appointments and let G have her first sleep over at their home the night Owen was born. She brought me meals. And took us swimming. And trick-or-treating. She invited us over for our first Thanksgiving away from home. And eagerly shared her resources for local kid activities and treats. She encouraged and prayed for me. She made me feel welcomed… and not only welcomed, but loved.
And then there's my partner-in-crime Casie. We just have one of those relationships that makes you feel like you've been friends forever. She came make me laugh so hard that I snort. And then cry. And then keep laughing. Andrew (her husband) and Casie have become one of our dearest couple friends – I think it stems from our enthusiasm for sausage, beer… and well… food in general. Casie loves the Lord but is so encouraging and real about her walk with Him. She openly shares her triumphs, her worries, and her struggles, which I so much appreciate. Girlfriend is real. And I will miss seeing her sweet face.
Amanda. Who helped me through the worst of it. My first few months here were so emotionally difficult and Amanda was the Lord's life-raft to me. She pulled me through the worst of it. I will forever cherish the peace she brought to the storm.
Sarah. A dear friend who had her daughter only a week before I had Owen. We both relocated to Fairhope last summer, both our husbands taught at the school, and we were both super pregnant – grounds for a wonderful friendship indeed. I feel like no one will quite understand my pregnancy and birthing experience quite like Sarah – she was such a part of it all and such an encouragement. I told Stuart that I feel like Sarah was my sister-in-arms… like we'd gone to battle together and shared in an experience that was unforgettable. The Lord gave me a great gift in her and I am thankful.
Speaking of birth, even though we'd only been in Fairhope four short months when Owen was born, I still had the encouragement of some of my most favorite ladies here while I was in labor:
Lisa. Priscilla. Mary Evelyn.
They brought me carrot ginger soup and turkey sandwiches. They lent me their chapstick. And rubbed my back. They drove us to the airport at 4:00 in the morning. And shared their produce (that's how you really know they love you!).
So many have shared in this experience with us – the ups and the downs of it all. They have encouraged us, given us incredible gifts, and showered us with love. I have never seen a people so eager to do the work of the Lord – to truly be His hands and feet. Friends, take great encouragement from this, the body of Christ is alive and vibrant!
There are so many souls here I am taking a piece of with me when I go. Lessons I will never forget, mountains I thought incapable of climbing, tasks I thought would surely be my death, and challenges I would have avoided had it been up to me.
But thankfully, the Lord's ways are not my ways. His plans are so much better.
If it had been up to me, I never would have journeyed to Southern Alabama last year. I never would have chosen to face the emotional and financial challenges we were presented with.
And in my desire to always be comfortable, complacent, and at ease, I would have missed one of the most wonderful experiences I could have ever hoped for. Were there rocky moments? Moments of doubt? Moments of frustration? Moments of sadness? Of course.
But the peace of the Lord, which surpasses all comprehension, guarded my heart and mind – just as He promises it will.
The Lord was faithful, just as He promises.
The Lord was merciful, just as He promises.
The Lord always provided, just as He promises.
I am leaving Alabama with a heart that has grown to love the Lord's ways and His beautiful people more than I ever thought possible. To all of you – students, staff, friends, parents, church members, community members – THANK YOU for caring for us over this past year. Your love and support speaks so true to the awesome God we serve. And we will not forget it.
All that being said, I won't be sad about leaving the fire ants. Just sayin'.
Goodbye, sweet Fairhope. We love you!