Oh me, oh my. Where to start? Where to start?
I have written several blogs in my mind over the past several weeks, yet nothing seems adequate to express all that is going on in our lives, so I think I will try bite-size pieces and just start typing and see where this goes.
Three Sundays ago Josh announced to our Sunday School class (of 14+ years!) that we would be moving to North Carolina for a new job (more on the job another time…don’t want to get ahead of myself, but suffice it to say that the Lord opened a door for us and we have been hanging on to our hats ever since…what a whirlwind!).
BUT, the Sunday that Josh announced we would be moving was a tough morning. I felt like I was getting ready for a funeral that morning. This class has been a part of our life in some way, shape or form for most of our married life, so stopping is just plain weird. Josh cried pretty much the whole 45 minutes while he tried to tell the class all that has been going on in our lives, and yet no one knew exactly why we were going to move to North Carolina at the end of class. Hilarious. He was focused on letting them know how we arrived at this place and how God had been guiding us in such personal ways. It was a good morning, but a hard one for Josh and me.
The next Sunday Josh taught his last lesson and gave the class a word of warning, a word of encouragement, a word of challenge and a word of thankfulness. He made it through with just a few tears at the end. I was sitting there listening and watching and was looking right at him when he closed his Bible on the podium. That moment made an imprint on my heart. He won’t be teaching in that room, at that podium, to those amazing friends anymore. The Lord is moving us on with Him, and we want to keep in step.
Last night we had a going away drop-in at The Dutton’s house, which was only appropriate. They have been in our class since Day One. Yep, Day One. And they have been so faithful! And such good friends! We loved being in their home and getting to see all of our friends in a relaxed environment and spending time catching up with one another. Here is a picture I will treasure forever:
There are many sweet families not in the picture that mean the world to us; this picture represent some of the greatest relationships we have. Beautiful families that have shown my family such kindness and generosity over the years. Their love and encouragement have been such a blessing in my life. Young couples. Older couples and many in between. We have celebrated babies being born, new houses, salvations, baptisms, new jobs, adoptions and more. We have also carried each others burdens like losing a job, losing a baby, loss of a house, rebellious children, cancer, loss of a sibling or parent, and other challenges to every day life like broken legs or an overwhelmed pregnant mom who needs help, car trouble, learning disabilities, …”fake” heart attacks even make the list.
The people. That is what I will miss the most from my years here at Woodstock. Oh, we will be leaving all that is familiar to us and a comfortable and fairly predictable life, but we are more than ok with that. We will get familiar with our new city and new life there, but these people in particular will be greatly missed. They are what have made our time here so rich. Those relationships that cannot be replaced. I was pregnant at the same time as many of these ladies in the picture. We bonded over crazy hormones and sleepless nights stories. You can’t re-create that! I know the Lord will bring new friends in my life in this season, and they will be just what our family needs. I am not worried about that one bit. But I do just want to take a minute to say WOW!!!!!! I have some amazing friends here in Woodstock. I am taking stock of what makes it sad to leave a place and it’s the people, y’all. What have I invested in the people around me? What have they invested in me? It’s not easy to pull up a tree that has deep, strong roots. It takes effort and work and there is some untangling to do.
That’s what we are experiencing. It’s definitely clear that it is time for our family to pick up our roots and plant them in Charlotte. But it is taking some effort, some work and planning and there is some untangling going on. We’ve been invested here. Roots have gone deep here with people we have grown to love like family. What life day-in and day-out will be like without them right up the street remains to be seen, but for now let’s just say we feel overwhelmingly blessed by the friends the Lord has given to us here.
This morning was our FOR REAL last Sunday in class. They used this time for food and hanging out and some fun stories about Josh over the years. Some appropriate for a group setting and some not. But that’s ok–we leave soon.
The many hair-dos Josh has been given by our talented friend, Guy, were shown in large print outs.
A fun memory of a Masters Golf party was shared, and we were given the Green Jacket to keep forever.
Marc shared a funny story from 15 years ago!
This shirt made an appearance in 2009, I think, at a Christmas party. It was good to see it again.
And then there was this amazing gift given to me!
How perfect is that?!? I absolutely love it and cannot wait to see where to put it in our home. North Carolina and Georgia overlapping with a heart in Woodstock and Charlotte. Love, love, love!!!!
Josh’s gift was also perfect for him. He talks a lot about Matthew 11: 28-30—about the invitation God gives us to yoke with Him. It has been instrumental in our prayers over the last few months as Josh challenged us not to get ahead or to fall behind, but to keep in step with our Father. It means so much to Josh that the class thought to choose this as his gift. It will have a special place in our home forever as a tangible reminder of God’s Truth and a reminder of these fabulous friends! We want to continue to keep in step with the Lord, and we want all of them to do the same!
They prayed for us.
It’s the people, y’all.
And then there was this picture of Mack’s class and one of a good friend of his in his class that was sent to me….
Oh, the people.
And then this row of girls that sit together week after week….
The people! Precious, precious people.
This sweet lady represents the Elementary Department! Denise leads an amazing team that has helped encourage my children in The Lord and His ways. We are grateful for all the Sundays we showed up with our children and they were met by loving, kind teachers that had prepared for them. What a huge blessing!
And these two cuties above dressed like twinsies and didn’t even plan it. I love the bond they share!
So again, let me just say– It’s about the people, y’all. We haven’t been perfect friends or perfect Sunday School teachers (that goes without saying!), but over the years we have been blessed by so many people in so many ways. Words could never suffice, but I am so thankful for the people God placed in our lives here in Woodstock. We are better for it!