a reason to live and a reason to grow…

…to trust, to hold, to care.

it’s been five days since i pulled out of the parking lot at charleston southern university and drove down I-26W to columbia.  five long…but good…days.

i miss my staff more than i can say. i don’t know what i expected when i decided to work camp this summer, or when i was placed as a development director.

i expected it to be hard. and it was.  

i expected to be challenged, and stretched, and pulled, and called to be flexible and fluid in situations that were intense and hard and painful. and i was. 

i expected to face a roller coaster of emotions and to feel a million different ways, at a million different moments–to laugh and to cry and to want to scream with the craziness and complexity and beauty of ministry. and i did.

but…there were some things i didn’t expect. namely…when i drove away from birmingham in may–that was one of the hardest things i’ve done in a while. saying goodbye was more difficult than i can express in words. i didn’t expect saying goodbye to charleston, and to my staff, to be equally as difficult.  but it was. 

i didn’t expect to meet people and become friends with them–best friends. i didn’t expect to share intimate details of my life, and to stay up all hours of the night talking about very serious things, and laughing about very superficial things. and i didn’t expect to be so heartbroken to be a part from each of them.  but i am. 

and i never expected to have another summer like my very first summer in philadelphia–to cry as much on the last night of camp, to long to be back with my staff, to miss visiting sites so much, to wish i was doing even mundane tasks like calling churches and putting together excel grids…but i did. and i do. 

and to be honest, in a lot of ways i didn’t expect the Lord to be faithful this summer, in the way that i know he is. i said hard goodbyes in birmingham, and instead of leaving me on my own–as if he’s ever done that anyway–he gave me a staff full of people who were supportive and encouraging and loving and holding me accountable every step of the way. i’m certain that i met strangers who became friends. and friends who became best friends. hopefully for a lifetime.

so this summer, i found reason to hope again. reminders of the Lord’s faithfulness and sovereignty, and that his timing is not my own. reminders that he is in control and is over all things, and holds all things together, and that only he can make things new. and does. every day.  and i found an amazing staff, and i  miss every single person from our team. just the same, i also know that the Lord sent me to charleston for a time, and a season, to serve with those people…and that he’s sent me to birmingham for much longer, to grow roots and minister there. and for both i am more grateful than words, or pictures, can express.

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