When I was 12, my family moved to a new house. It happens, right? Yes, but: I loved that house.
My family's two-story log cabin on Old Lantern Trail was the center of my world. It’s where I summoned the courage to ride a two-wheeler, attempt a back handspring, and swim the whole length of the pool in just one breath.
That house was the backdrop to so many of my early, formative memories. But the best part of the house wasn’t the house. The best part was that the house was surrounded by acres and acres of land. I miss the smell of the woods the most. So fresh, like pine needles and blue sky.
My sister and I spent hours—entire days, really—exploring the woods with our cousins. We knew the trails like we knew ourselves. We didn’t realize how lucky we were.
So when it came time to move, I was, simply put, quite dramatic. (For reference, give Miranda Lambert’s The House That Built Me a listen).
I cried big tears as I walked through the woods “a few last times.” I made a time capsule and hid it behind a board in my room (I’m not kidding). I looked at old pictures and anchored myself to that place however I could.
And then we moved. And I did miss the trails and my room and that one tree but it wasn’t quite as dramatic as I made it out to be. Life moved on and I found new trails (albeit with a few more people in sight).
It's no surprise that those years shaped me. They sparked in me a deep and lasting love of solitude and wild spaces (two things I still try to foster today in my very urban context).
This week is another goodbye. After 11 years working for the CRCNA (nearly 8 managing The Network), I am stepping away from this role. I'm leaving to spend more time at home with my three young kids and become more involved in a ministry that partners with teen moms.
But before I go, I need to tell you one more thing: It's hard to say goodbye.
This community has shaped me. Most notably, I've been shaped by the words of the sincere. The ones who are humble and maybe even a little meek. The ones who aren't distracted by the noise because they're so focused on the call God has placed on their lives. The ones who are passionate about prayer, about children, about Jesus. The ones who have taught me, forgiven me, loved me—and in turn, have done this for the church.
A few weeks ago I noticed that I can type much faster than I used to. A quick online test showed my average typing speed is 76 words per minute (wpm). Not bad, I thought. Or is it?
I don't think I need to type faster. I don't think any of us do. Some of my favorite Network blogs over the years remind me of this, remind me of the slow (to us) work of God.
My prayer is that The Network will be a community—a house—that's doing the good kind of shaping (see Romans 12:9-21).
It's been an honor and a privilege. I sure will miss my role with The Network (though I can't promise a time capsule).