The address from the envelope stuck out above the rest, taunting me.
Women of Faith
Ripping it open, a purple admission ticket fell into my lap.
I tossed the envelope into the passenger’s seat of my car, unable to see past the tears in my eyes.
I guess this is something else I will have to give up.
Moving. Again. Two years after finally settling in to life in our Michigan town of Canton, news had come that my husband was being transferred. Again.
The news was welcomed; the timing, terrible. We started out in Nashville, the only home we had ever known. Left-behind family and friends there would appreciate the idea that we were coming closer.
But for our daughter, Malloree, who would be entering her senior year in high school in just a month, it brought her to a fork in the road. Another fork in the road that she did not see coming. She had already been through the first transfer, midway through her freshman year. Back then, she met the challenges of the new school head on, facing the demons of lonely lunches and swim class with a smile on her face. She kept her tears to herself, hiding them in the shower so we would not know.
We would not ask her to do that again in Louisville.
What grew from those early months was triumph. Our daughter, stripped from the daily support of her friends and family, turned to God, and He met her here in Michigan in the most beautiful of ways. Daunting, early morning bus rides in the dark were spent listening to worship music from her ipod. She sent daily scriptures of hope and encouragement to her friends back home, adding her new friends in Michigan as she came across them. Suddenly, she was keenly aware of the broken, the lonely, and those that needed a friend.
Because she was one of them, and it changed her heart forever.
She had earned the right to choose her path this time.
Where to spend her senior year? Stay in Michigan? Return to Nashville?
Her choice had been made, and with it, mine had been as well.
She chose Nashville. She had grown to love Michigan, and Michigan had grown to love her, but there was unfinished business back home. More people who needed a friend. More memories to capture. More ways to reach out before leaving again for college.
And school starts much earlier in the south, so we loaded up our rickety minivan and went. Staying with family, starting another new school, but this time, on her terms.
The news was too fresh to even process when I first received that ticket to the conference. I am supposed to be the strong one, assuring everyone else that we can do this; that God is much bigger than Michigan, or Tennessee, or whatever obstacle strewn in our family’s path.
But my focus was on all that I would have to give up in order to start over again. The home that we had created, the part-time job I loved, our new church home, and many volunteer efforts I never had time to participate in before. Living apart from my husband, again. The financial strain of living in two different states already pulled me down. We had been through this before, and it left us broke, and broken, in many ways.
It was all too much, and I had not yet worked my way up to being the strong one.
I jerked the steering wheel, lop-sided into a parking space, searching for something besides the back of my hand to wipe my tears. I unfolded the letter, excitedly announcing the details in bold print.
Dear Woman of Faith….
And then I sobbed even more. My heart raced and my hand tried to hold back the sounds coming from deep inside me.
I had been called out by God.
I let go of my list of reasons not to go to this conference. The travel expenses, the fact that my life was imploding around me, and the sense that I needed to be in Nashville looking for a job, while also staying in Michigan to help my husband prepare for his impending move to Louisville.
The ticket was a gift, given to me by Thomas Nelson, in exchange for the opportunity to blog about my experience there.
Welcomed news. Beautiful timing.
The truth is that I have no idea where I belong right now. I am homeless, in a way, wandering the roads of the wilderness, or at least the excruciatingly long stretch of I75 the takes me from Michigan to Tennessee.
But on this particular weekend, I have no doubt that I belong in Indianapolis, sitting in my chosen seat in the 6th row. A detour through Indiana, en route back to Nashville with another van load of stuff, is a beautiful way to remind myself that I am a woman of faith.
A woman of faith. I forgot that for a minute.
Thank you, God, for the reminder.
And I can’t wait to share what I will learn.
Now, back to I69, and my detour through Indiana.
P.S. The sunrise through the fog along the Indiana highways was gorgeous this morning. Life as a wanderer has it’s advantages. I would have never have seen that if I were not here at this moment.