20 hours of total car travel visiting various friends and relatives gives one lots of time to think and ponder on things.
My recent travels to NC have gotten me to thinking of the different people that have come into my life over my 33 years and have left their mark.
I grew up in Charlotte, NC, with the exception of being born in the north, and then a year we spent in VA. But most of my first 14 years was centered around Charlotte and the church I grew up in there. When I returned last week, I was able to see some of the ladies that "raised" me. It was a weird feeling to me to be sitting as a woman with the woman that played such an instrumental role in my first 14 years. For me growing up, there was a feeling of security and comfort knowing that all of these families where there for each other. We where gently corrected whenever we needed correcting, and we where loved on when needed loving on. We got together often for game nights and fellowship. If someone was going through a trying time, a meal was brought, or your kids where taken care of.
For those days and for those ladies, I am thankful. In those foundational years I learned a lot about serving one another and hospitality. The kind of hospitality that comes naturally out of a love for your fellow sister or brother in Christ, not out of obligation.
I am thankful for the people of my first 14 years that began to weave a foundation into my life.
When I was 14 my Dad got transferred to the Atlanta Georgia area. I was devastated! I can remember sitting on the kitchen floor pitching a grand ole teenage girl fit and begging to be able to stay in Charlotte.
But as I look back now, I see why God moved us. There are people in Atlanta Georgia that God knew needed to be in my life. I was a stupid teenager. I made foolish mistakes, didn't apply myself like I should have, and probably drove my parents crazy. But I can look back at my Youth Group and the various Youth leaders and Bible Study leaders that where in my life at that time and thank God for His Sovereignty. During this time was also when our family was introduced to Robbinsville, NC, and the people of the Snowbird Indian Community. This is the time that God was weaving in and out of me, a heart for others, for the Gospel, and for Missions.
I am thankful for the people during those teenage years of my life that lived out Godly lives before me when I was the silly Missy of High School. There are people that I think of often and am thankful for their gently guiding in those years.
When I was 18 I moved onto College in Orlando Fl. The next 5, yes 5, years where spent in a whirlwind of moving around with college moves, and transfers. Really my college years where unsettling. But I am thankful for the people that came in and out of my life during those 5 years. Some of my dearest friends where brought into my life in college. People that have weaved in and planted themselves firmly in my life. Some people have come and gone but have left their marks any ways. As crazy as going to 3 colleges is, it was a necessary part of my life because I learned much about life, doctrine, and myself, at all 3. Alot of weaving took place during those 5 years. They are almost as foundational as the beginning because I started to become who I am today. Plus I met my husband!!!
I have been in Alabama since January 1997. WOW! Almost 12 years. That is amazing to me. And again, I am thankful for the people that have come in and out of my life in that time. I became an adult in Alabama. I met my husband, I had my children. I've grown in my walk with God and my doctrinal understanding. I've gone to several churches that have all had their unique place in my life. I have settled into a church family for the past 4 years that have supported us when we needed supporting and always love us. I have sat with people that have made me laugh, and sat with people that have challenged me to be a better child of God.
I have also gained a separate body of believers as a family that I don't even go to church with, but that are special and necessary in my life regardless.
I am amazed as I look back on the past 33 years at all the people that God has used to weave me into the person I am today. I am even more amazed that if I live to be 99, I am only a 3rd of the way done. How many more people does God have in store for my life to make a difference.
I love that even though I can only see the little bits that are in front and behind me, God is seeing the big picture, He is seeing the beauty of it when sometimes all I see is the frayed edges.
I am thankful for you, because if you cared enough to read this then you are one of the people that God has used in my life. Some of you have been in my life for a really long time! Some of you are new to my life, and it's been a fun ride so far but we have a lot of life ahead of us.
Thank God that He is the weaver of my life and not me by myself. I sure would have made an awful mess!