There are days that my heart literally ACHES for “home.” Days that I would give just about anything to be back on my big front porch in Georgia having a cold beer with a girlfriend, laughing- or crying- or laughing until we cried. Days that I grieve that kind of friendship…
And then there are days like today. Days when this little town in South Carolina feels like “home.” Days when I feel so incredibly blessed (yes, Jen Kish, BLESSED!) to have the life I live and share it with the people I do. Days when I KNOW that God has placed us here for a reason and that reason is so clear.
I truly believe that God moved us to South Carolina to change us. To change our eternities. Red and I both struggled when we first moved here. We were (and still are) very social people. We moved from a place where we were ALWAYS with friends to a place where we not only weren’t with friends, but were certain that there were none to be made. So, we put our little minds to work and started to brainstorm- “Where do people meet friends?” That question sounds so crazy because we’ve always made friends easily and quickly through work and neighbors. This move was different. My parents were our neighbors and neither one of us was working… So where DO we meet friends? Here’s what we came up with: The bar or church.
We’ve been down the bar road before- and we made some great friends- however, we had young children now and were looking for a “different kind of friendship.” One that involved play dates and family BBQs. So that left church. RELUCTANTLY, Red drug me to a few local churches- I felt pretty confident that we wouldn’t be forming our new posse at ANY of them.
Meanwhile: Due to our school distirct, we chose to enroll Liam in a private school. We toured a few of them and decided on Emmanuel. This was an exceptionally hard decision for me because both my older brother and myself had gone to a Baptist Christian school and ended up as Athiests. I agreed to let Liam go to ECS as long as we would teach him about other religious options at home. Red rolled his eyes and agreed (that’s mostly how he deals with my crazy).
Since Liam was going to attend ECS, we decided to give EBC a shot at the friend-finding. There was a young couple with a child in Liam’s class that had invited us. We went on a Sunday morning at 11:00 (because that’s what time chuch starts, everyone knows that!)… only we were running late, so we got there closer to 11:30 after getting the kids checked into the nursery. Here’s a fun fact about EBC- it starts at 10:30. So, we were literally an hour late and had no idea. We sat near the back and thought it was so weird that they didn’t have any music worship prior to the sermon. Red and I left that day knowing that we’d found something different. Something special. No friends yet, but we knew we wanted to come back.
Soon, that same couple invited us to come on a Wednesday night. I’ll NEVER forget that first Wednesday night at Emmanuel. As I sit here and remember, I have tears streaming down my face. A young couple desperate for some friends would be forever changed that night. We walked into a room that full of other couples our age… and they were laughing and joking… and they were actually funny… and fun. The leader of the class at the time was starting a new study beginning that night on Christian Apologetics. I had no idea what that meant, but I wasn’t stupid enough to admit it. Thankfully, I quickly caught on- he would be proving the Christian faith. PROVING it to an ATHIEST. He had no idea who I was or what I did or didn’t believe. He also had no idea that his little Wednesday night class would change EVERYTHING for me. By the end of the Apologetics class, Red and I were different people. Night and day. The people in that class SHOWED us the Gospel- on paper and in their actions.
And now, 2 years later, I get to call those people my friends. I get to hang out with peope who make me better all the time. I get to call those people on the phone and pray with them over struggles and triumphs of LIFE. It doesn’t make me miss my life-long friends in Georgia any less, but it does make me so so thankful that He moved us here. And here is really beginning to feel like “home.”