I wish I had the words to adequately describe to you the people that we left behind in Alabama. Our last days there were incredibly hard, but our people made them so special. I did not really have the opportunity to thank them for the send off’s, the help, and the love that they showered on our family as we followed God’s calling.
- My staff team was made up of some of the very best friends I have ever had. I think I am most grateful that I had no doubt that the kids ministry at Westwood would not miss a beat. I didn’t have to worry about that, and they wouldn’t let me worry about that. We shed many tears together, but every single one of them told me to go and follow God’s calling with their blessing. Who could ask for more than that? So, Teresa M, Teresa L, Renee, Janna, Virginia, Stu, and Alison… I love you and appreciate the hours you have invested and will continue to invest to make sure kids in Shelby County hear about Jesus.
- Our Westwood family was overwhelmingly kind. This is the church that we have gone to since before we were married and saying goodbye to friends who have watched you grow up is not easy. Watching them say goodbye to your kids who they love like their own is even worse. The love and generosity they showed us was amazing. Thank you is not enough. I’m so grateful for a place that loves deeply. Please keep being that church that invests in the next generation and values doing whatever it takes to reach them.
- We had a small group from the Alabaster campus that prayed us through this decision for over a year. And didn’t tell a soul. Seriously. Their loyalty to our family during that time seriously brings tears to my eyes. I have no doubt that God has honored their prayers in our smooth transition here. That is friendship. And that is rare.
- Our softball friends and small group became family almost immediately. They stayed with us while the movers packed all of our stuff, distracted our children (and me), and loved us right out the door. I wanted to pack them in the truck too.
- Finally, God blessed us with very close friends who have been family for many years. These are the people who have helped raise my kids. These are the people you call right after you call 911. These are the people who knew our story, good, bad and ugly and loved us anyway. These are the friendships that don’t change just because of a few hundred miles. Oppers, Grices, Stones, Baggetts, Roachs, Hortons, and many more… I am eternally grateful that God blessed us with you.
And now here we are. New town, where Nate (who lived as an introvert in Alabama) knows everyone and I’m trying to figure out who is connected to who.
But God is so faithful.
I shared on Facebook that one of my biggest fears in making the decision to leave was leaving my people. And if you read any of the above, you can see why.
But God has shown us that we are not alone. He has been with us every step of the way and even before we got here we had people reaching out, offering to help, and loving us before they knew us. He has provided friends that K and B have clicked with immediately. So far making friends has not been hard and I am excited to see what family He allows us to build here to add to our Alabama family.
Thanks for allowing me to be pretty sappy in this post.
Here is the life lesson… a friend shared this truth “You can only grieve to the depth you love.” Leaving Alabaster was sad and we grieved because we loved deeply. But God used every bit of it. And we look forward to loving deeply here.
Are you loving deeply? Are you holding back? It would be easy to hold back now that we are in a new place and we know how hard it is to leave those friendships. It would be easy to remain on the surface. But that is not what God has called us to do.
Love deeply. Build community. It is what God has created for us to do!
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.