If you had told me five years ago that I would be sitting in Charlotte, NC and hanging out with my dog, going to a gym three days a week, and my kids would be in a real school and not at home with me, I would not have believed you. Afterall, five years ago I didn’t like dogs.
They say five years is about how long it takes for a place to feel like home. I remember scoffing at those words, thinking surely it won’t take me that long. I mean, how hard can it be? I am a friendly person.
a-hem. Excuse me while I eat crow.
Five years is actually pretty gracious. For me anyway. For here. For this season of life.
But here we are almost five years in Charlotte and all of those things are true about my life—the dog, the gym, the school. I had a meeting with Ruby’s School Guidance Counselor about her Senior classes, so I have been a bit reflective as I consider that my own child is going to be a senior in high school. I remembered that she was only starting 7th grade when we moved here. She turned 13 not too terribly long after we moved here and now we are considering colleges.
Indeed, life has ticked on at its own pace.
Coinciding with my reflectiveness on life, I have been in Corinthians and 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” I remember reading this several years back and thinking how I didn’t feel like I was triumphing here in Charlotte, but was comforted that even though it didn’t feel like triumphant living, God was leading me in triumph. His Word says so.
A few days later I was in chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians and found “2017” written in the margin of chapter 6, verse 10, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” Sorrow most definitely marked my days and nights here. Yet God graciously taught me to be joyful too. You can have joy in sorrow. I knew that in theory before moving here; I walked it out in those first few years.
I thought back on how a group of my close friends from Georgia drove here during their Thanksgiving Break to love on me and see our new place. I needed that encouragement. I thought back on the many evenings Josh and I would sit quietly together after dinner. We didn’t want to overwhelm each other with all that we were actually feeling. We did from time to time, but we also could see in each other a breaking point. These days strengthened our marriage—not because we relied on each other for rescue or cast all our cares on each other, but because we took them consistently to the Lord, and we were fully aware that He was the only one who could shoulder these cares of ours. I thought back on how I gave in and got a dog because I wanted the kids to be happy about something and enjoy living here. I thought back on our floundering to find a place in church. I remember Sundays being the most dreaded day of the week; this couldn’t have been more opposite for us as a family. I remember needing my GPS for absolutely everywhere I wanted to go. I remember not knowing where the closest Target was and not having a close Publix to get groceries from. I remember Mack turning double digits and Molly getting her first guitar and teaching herself how to play in those lonely days.
So now I reflect on our years here with great fondness. It has been a time of deepening my walk with the Lord. “You don’t know He is all you need until He is all you have.” they say…and in a sense this was true for me in Charlotte. He really met me right where I found myself and was to me all that I needed Him to be.
So when I got to 2 Corinthians 9:18, “And God is able to make ALL grace ABOUND to you, so that ALWAYS having ALL sufficiency in EVERYTHING, you may have an ABUNDANCE for EVERY good deed….You will be enriched in EVERYTHING for ALL liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God,” I was able to say AMEN. He has been more than I could have imagined and met my every need and so many wants. And I can genuinely say, “Thanks be to God for indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:15). He is the giver of the gift, and He is the gift.
We haven’t been here five years quite yet, but I love looking back and seeing how the Lord has walked us every step of the way. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is able to supply our every need. And I just wanted to thank Him for all He has done for us and been to us in this season.