This week’s guest post was written by Christie, who is preparing to move across the country. She’s a seminary-trained, inner-city public school teacher, a leader in her church, and a dear friend, though she kicks my butt at Rummikub. Here she reflects on preparing to leave a community she’s come to love.
My mom loves to tell the story of when I was in the first grade and Dad took a church in another small Missouri community. I asked my teacher if I could have a minute to tell the class goodbye. With tears in my eyes I gave a dramatic speech telling my classmates how much they had meant to me and how much I would miss them. I wish I could tell you that the melodramatic first grader got it all together as she grew up, but I’m still sort of a mess when it comes to change.
Packing up my stuff and moving has been a part of my life multiple times. But as many times as I’ve done it, I never seem to get any better at it! I am again at a place in my life where I have packed my stuff and actually shipped it off ahead of me. I will meet up with it in a few weeks when I move to New Mexico to take a new job as Assistant Camp Manager at Sivells Baptist Camp in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. I’ll be moving to a mountain community where there will be no need for a cell phone…there’s no service. My nearest neighbor will be three miles away, and my nearest fountain drink will be thirteen miles away.
But none of those things are really the reason why moving will be difficult. It’s going to be a tough move because in the last seven years Georgetown has become “home.” I have a roommate who is my best friend and sister. We’ve been living in the same place for over ten years, and she is an important part of who I have become. I have been a member at Georgetown Baptist Church for seven years. I have been a part of the congregation there in various ways, and they are foundational to the minister I have become and continue to become. It’s because of their support and encouragement that I feel prepared to step out into a ministry position such as this one at the camp. I have taught at Bryan Station Middle School for seven years and have become close friends and part of the Bearcat Family with many teachers and staff. My experiences there are memories that I will always be thankful for and I’m pretty sure I have learned more in my time there than any student ever learned in my classroom.
Even though moving and change are tough…there is always a certain excitement and expectation of what lies ahead in the new experience. Because in every place I have ever lived, God provides. God provides friends and family even when my real family is many hours away.
Because of these moves I can travel across the country at this point in my life and find friends in many states. My prayer is that as I move from my community here in Georgetown that I will be ready and open to the new folks that will become my community in Cloudcroft. It doesn’t mean that I leave behind those who have been my home here but actually the opposite. As I load up the Cobalt with my last few possessions, I also carefully pack the lessons, advice, and experiences that I gathered here and will share them with those I will meet along the way. I’m excited to see how God will expand the community to which I belong in this new step of the journey.
1 Peter 1:18-21 (The Message)
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.