This weekend, the reality that I will be moving from North Carolina in less than two weeks seemed to sink in a little more. Despite the growing stacks of moving boxes in my living room, the stripped down counters and naked walls, I still don’t think this journey will feel completely real until the moving truck is sitting in my driveway.
My friends had a little girl’s going away party for me on Saturday. They each took a moment to share some really nice memories. Some of the things they shared I remembered clearly, other memories I had completely forgotten about.
I told my friends that these last 12 years have been the best years of my life. I arrived into town when I was 28 years old. I was starting over with nothing but two dogs, some kitchen pots and pans and a commitment I made in prayer to the Lord that I was determined to do life on His terms during this new chapter. I was done running away from my fears. I was done settling. I desired something better. My only plan was to cling tightly to the One who could offer that to me.
Over the past 12 years I’ve watched God take my life and make something beautiful out of all the broken pieces. He’s given me joy and freedom and peace. Life has not been without trials or without heartache but He has been true to His word. He has held onto me through all of life’s ups and downs.
As I stood next to my friend, Michelle, at church yesterday, and sung these words, my mind went back to that first summer in North Carolina.
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You would lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me
So much had changed and yet here I was, blessed to be standing next to the same friend who first reached out to me when I arrived in town. We have journeyed this portion of the road together the whole time. Our sons have grown up together. We’ve encouraged one another. We’ve laughed with one another. And, yes, we’ve cried with one another.
I know the two of us have not been on a long journey to Mordor and I know that neither of us are hobbits (Michelle is way too tall to be a hobbit) but I couldn’t help but think of the scene in Lord of the Rings when Frodo says to his best friend, Sam, “I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee…here, at the end of all things.”
I know that this is only the end of this particular chapter. Our friendship will go on…but it will be different and there will be adjustments. And, even though I can’t pack up my friend, Michelle, and take her with me, I am thankful that I can pack up 12 years of God’s grace and goodness and carry that with me. I am looking forward to what the Lord has planned next in both of our lives!