sunsets and foothills and faithfulness.

sometimes, it’s good to go home, to remember where you came from.

i know that sentence ends in a preposition, which my grandfather cannot stand, but there’s really no other way to put it.  

sometimes, it’s good to go home, because i really do remember what used to be.  eight years ago, if you would have told me i would have ended up in seminary (which i had never really heard of, by the way), i would have thought you were crazy.

in birmingham, alabama?

even crazier.

and four years ago, just as i was getting ready to move across the southeast and start a new chapter in the ‘ham, if you would have told me that, after finishing, i would love that city, and the people in it, and my life?  that i would hold it as dearly as i held my college years.  that alabama, in many ways, would become home?

now you’re really crazy. 

and even three years ago, after i trudged through my first year of beeson (with all those boys!), had you let me know that, in three years, when i graduated, i would dearly miss this theological education, and the hebrew, and all those boys (and a few girls, of course, since there are a few), well, i’d probably tell you that you’re just off your rocker.

but the truth is that, well, all those things are true.  i never thought i would fall in love with my life in birmingham.  and it isn’t always roses or butterflies–and in fact, most of the time, when something is wonderful, we don’t realize how wonderful it is until it’s ending.  that’s when the sweetness and beauty of those moments really begins to captivate and enchant us.  (but i think this is a different point, for a different blog, written on a different day.)

i guess what i’m trying to say is that so often, nothing is like you think it will be.  or plan it out to be.  three years ago, i never imagined myself where i am.  and eight years ago, i never had a concept to even imagine myself where i am.  and yet i can’t imagine my life without these moments, and these people, in this wonderful place.  and i feel the same way about columbia, looking back at my years of college.

i guess it all comes back around to God being a bigger God than we can imagine, and ultimately being so…in control.  it’s amazing how God weaves together my mess and struggles and even mistakes and makes something beautiful.  not without its flaws.  not without pain.  but it’s beautiful, nonetheless.  how he is always making things new.  and how he is always trying to make me more like his son through the process. 

so i think i come back around to the reminder that endings are sad, and that things always change, and that sometimes we hate our part-time jobs and wish something full-time would open up, and miss theological education and friends and community and even translating for Hebrew classes, but that there’s more good ahead than i can even imagine, because i could have never predicted any of the good moments of the last four years.  and many of them were good moments i would have never planned or expected for myself.

so even when our plans don’t work out.  even when–and maybe especially when–it’s hard and painful and scary, and there seems to be nothing ahead but darkness, i want to trust and know that the same God who orchestrated so many wonderful things in my time at Beeson, in my time as a student…that he is still in control, and is working, and that his plans are infinitely better than mine.  

even when i cannot see his hand.  even when i doubt.  even when things are hard.  i trust, because he’s always been faithful.  

and so sometimes, you just need to be back in the foothills for a few days, and watch a few sunsets, and drink some cheerwine, and look where you came from, and remember God’s goodness.  because he’s always been faithful.  that’s who he is.  and that’s who he will continue to be.  

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