Jackson, Mississippi. For many of y’all the city of Jackson or the state of Mississippi has been called home for many years. There may be an ease of comfort, family and belonging here. For me, calling Jackson “home” has just recently been something that I’ve been able to say without feeling empty and lonely. Harsh? Overly dramatic? Maybe, but it’s the truth.
Two years ago, Hunter left me in Asheville, NC to travel to Jackson to meet with a church in search of a Youth Pastor. Little did we expect that just a few months later we were going to leave a church we helped plant, cut our lease on our rent short, empty our savings and pack up all our things (well not all because Hunter did not get a big enough Uhaul) to drive 595 miles in three cars with two cats and a dog to the Magnolia State, where our lives would forever be changed because we were placing our trust in God’s plan.
The long-distance marriage didn’t help with the transition, but with myself remaining in Asheville living with my brother, sister-in-law and most adorable baby nephew, leaving was rough. With the countdown to me moving slowly ticking away, I felt more and more anxiety about leaving my “home” to an unknown city and a church “home” of complete strangers.
The last year has been one of the most difficult in my 27 years. Trusting the Lord in his plan is a whole lot more difficult than I expected. One of my favorite verses that has brought me through many difficult times in my life kept coming up while I struggled to adjust to this new life.
“For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” Isaiah 54:10.
Last year, I lost many mountains. My family was no longer a 15-minute drive away. Planning a girl’s night with my best friends now consisted of a long weekend and extra gas money. The church family I grew to love was no longer a part of my close community. My fear of being lost and alone in a place where I was a stranger amongst “family” became my reality. These mountains I placed myself on were gone. The hills of comfort and stability were stripped away. I closed myself off and I was “alone”. I was alone in the arms of the Lord. I was standing on the hills of His love. I was saying that I trusted in His plan, but my fears became stronger than my faith.
A few weeks ago, I nailed to the cross “Jesus, take my fears. Take my plans. Take me. For I am yours and I AM READY.” I gave of myself for this life with Christ, but I never truly gave into that commitment. I continued to hold onto the plans that I had for myself and my marriage. God can only do miraculous things when we are truly giving our whole self to Him. Until we can lay down all our baggage, our plans, our ways and follow the path that He has designed and so intentionally laid out we will continue to live in fear and loneliness.
“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God There’s no shadow You won’t light up Mountain You won’t climb up Coming after me There’s no wall You won’t kick down Lie You won’t tear down Coming after me” – Bethel Music
This song has been on repeat in my car for the last two months, and I encourage you to go turn it on now. These mountains that I placed myself on, He removed and climbed up after me to be my comforter. He is overwhelming and reckless, but OH MY it is a life to be living! He will chase you down by leaving the 99 others behind. Don’t keep running from Christ, He will continue to chase you. He is reckless with His love. He is coming after you. Turn around, open yourself up to His plans and surrender.