“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.”
I have been preparing for my journey to Nottingham for over a year now. As soon as I could, I submitted my application and anxiously/excitedly awaited the moment of truth.
I can remember the feelings as clearly as though it were just yesterday. Almost every opportunity I was presented to check my email, you had better believe I was doing just that. I got so impatient at one point that I even contacted the admissions office and asked when people were typically notified of acceptance.
Yes, I was that person.
And then I received the information I had been yearning for, and the reality began to sink in that I had less than twelve months to ready myself for a cross-ocean move.
Now, even as I sit in my studio flat in Nottingham, I can hardly believe I am actually here. When you look forward to something so much and then it actually happens, I believe it takes our minds days (or weeks) to actually process the information.
I’m here, and I feel as if I am home.
Three years at North Greenville University and four months at home with my family in Myrtle Beach were such blessings that I could never thank God enough for. In saying that, I knew that the time had come when God was calling me to step out on my own and pursue Him as a young, single graduate student.
Talk about an emotional leap of faith.
I love my family, and I adore my friends and church from home, and I will be the first to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The only problem my love for them would pose is if I chose my earthly companions over my Jesus.
In Luke 26, Jesus tells the disciples “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
Jesus didn’t literally mean hate in the way you might think as Jesus does not contradict Himself. In Matthew 22:37 Jesus instructed the Pharisees that “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Jesus’ point was not to cause a family to turn in on itself but to teach us that if we don’t love Him more than anyone or anything in this life than we cannot truly serve Him to our full capacity.
We are called to love God, and then people.
It’s easy to type these things and share how crucial it is that we actually abide in these truths, but when it comes to living out Christ’s teaching, things get a little more sticky.
God has called me to an entirely new city in an entirely different country, and there are many moments where I wish I could hug my parents, pet my dog, or drive to the grocery store.
But, even as I write I can feel such a peace wash over me that I am right where God wants me to be, and that brothers and sisters, is better than the comfort of being in a familiar home.
Already I have seen the fruits of God blossoming all over this beautiful city, and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am meant to be here.
I have met some amazing people, and I see the hand of the Lord swinging wide doors for me to walk through. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything is all peachy keen. There will be trials and days where I consider buying a ticket back to the States, but I trust that God’s plan is far greater than my own.
The verse that the Lord set in my lap during my Bible study this week was Psalm 90:1 where Moses declares that God has been his dwelling place.
I may be a twenty-one year old thousands of miles from the place I grew up, but I can take heart in the truth that God is my dwelling place. He is where I can lay my heart. He is Who I can look forward to enjoying the company of each and every day. He is everywhere, and nothing can offer me a greater joy than to know I am never alone.