I don’t wring my hands. It sounds like something my grandmother would do, and not that I don’t want to emulate my grandmother, but I just don’t wring my hands when I’m nervous. I guess if I had to say what I do when I’m nervous it would be that I play with my hair, but if you’ve known me for even half a second, you know that I play with my hair all the time. But, I don’t wring my hands.
Except for that night.
I’d visited a number of churches before I visited Oakhurst. I wasn’t even convinced that I wanted to go to Oakhurst, but I’d read time and time again about trying a church out for a month before making a decision. So, that’s what I was doing. I was desperate to make friends and to find a church home, so I was willing to stick it out for thirty days.
No matter how awkward I felt.
I’m not sure there was anything that could fully prepare me for adulthood, for moving to a new city on my own, and for church “shopping”. It was awkward. It was hard. It’s not easy giving the same spiel Sunday after Sunday to people you may never see again. I’ve joked that I wish I could have a mini biography tattooed to my forehead so that I wouldn’t have to keep saying it. But, really.
Anyway, after attending Oakhurst for two Sundays, I went to the women’s Bible study on a Wednesday night in November. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew that if I wanted to be connected, this was something I needed to do. I don’t remember most of what we talked about that night (sorry, Carrie!), but what I remember most was the peace I felt that this was the place where God wanted me to be.
See, when I decided to move to Charlotte, I began to pray for a handful of things. In the car. In the shower. When I did my quiet time. One of them was that I would be plugged into a church that was multigenerational. It was one of the things I enjoyed the most about my church growing up, and I believe there is an incredible amount of wisdom gained from generations older and generations younger than me. I do think that there are churches that are solid, even if they are mainly an older congregation or a hip, younger crowd. However, something that was important to me was having a church with multiple generations.
At our Bible studies, one woman teaches then we break up into small groups and discuss the message. That first night, I was in a group with four other women–one, a young grandmother, another, a mom of twins who are young teenagers, a third, a young mom with three (now four) kiddos all under five, and the fourth, a woman who is a few years older than me and is married without kids. Four other women. Four different generations.
I wrung my hands, and I cried that night. In our small group. Tears that required our group leader to dig into her purse and get this girl she’d just met a tissue. I’ve never been that open that quickly, but I’ve never physically felt the presence of the Holy Spirit that strongly before either. This was the place I was supposed to be. These were going to be my people.
Five months later, and I’ve come up on the anniversary of interviewing for my job then being offered my job. This past week, I was struck with a couple of thoughts: 1) how different my life is here than I thought it would be, and 2) how good God has been during this journey. He’s answered prayers. He’s been with me even while it’s been hard and lonely.
It’s not so hard or lonely anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have nights where I eat takeout by myself while watching episodes of Fixer Upper on my DVR. I’m not surrounded by people all the time, but, I can honestly say, I’m really starting to enjoy my life here. God’s given me people to do life with and to learn from. Just last week, I only had one night where I wasn’t doing something with someone from church.
It’s easy to get frustrated and to act on emotions. I cried so many times during the fall semester, thinking about how I’d never make friends and how moving to Charlotte was the worst decision I’ve ever made (I’d really like to know where my dramatic side comes from, because it’s definitely not from my mom or dad). But, one of the things God is so, so, so good at is how things work out in His time. One of my favorite songs from All Sons & Daughters is called “For Your Glory and My Good”. This process, this journey, this move to Charlotte has been all about that–His glory and my good.
What a faithful Father we serve. What a magnificent God who answers prayers.
In ways like I never thought He would but in ways that are so much greater than I could’ve ever imagined.