I made a trek back to my hometown over the Holidays. My hometown is Hagerstown Maryland. It is always so good to go back and visit your old stomping grounds and catch up with family and friends. The photo above was my parent's old homestead. You find yourself reminiscing a lot while you are there. You also can see the changes more clearly and carry a unique perspective, because of your time away.
I love going home. My wife and I also lived there for 4 years after we graduated from Grace College. We have some great memories of our early years of marriage. I enjoy showing my kids all the places that have special meaning to us. And more importantly, I love spending time with family and friends. Yet, the last time I lived there was 21 years ago. Josh was nine months old when we loaded up our Ryder Truck with everything we owned and headed to Winona Lake Indiana for a Master's degree.
The events that led to that departure can be best described as a "God-Thing." For you see, we were dug in as a family. We were established in a local church, I was the volunteer youth director. I was leading the Hagerstown Teen Center. I was employed as a carpenter at one of the leading home-builders. I was a deacon in the Local Church. We had friends and loved where we were living.
Yet, God had other plans and a few key decisions helped us to see that plan more clearly. I vividly remember saying goodbye to family, close friends, and lots of teenagers while tears were streaming down my cheeks. It was gut-wrenching, yet we knew this was what God wanted.
I have often pondered this thought, " what if we stayed in Hagerstown?" I think I know the answer to that from a big God-picture perspective, but I am viewing it through my own personal lenses.
We would have missed out on some of the most adventurous, faith-building, difficult life stretching, kingdom building, family bonding moments of our lives.
Each time I go home, I wonder how God would have used me if I would have stayed there. And I carry such a huge burden for my hometown because it is a great place to live. The other side of "what if" is a great place to live. Maybe God is asking you to pack up and go. From a voice of experience, Go for it!
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