I moved to Nashville a little over 2 weeks ago today, but truthfully it has felt more like a full month has gone by! So much has happened, and there have been so many fun memories made already. Our opening dinner and barbecue were huge successes. The Fellows and Theresa spent four days in a cabin in the mountains for our Opening Retreat, and I don’t think it could have gone better. We had rich discussions, excellent speakers, good (mostly healthy) meals, and lots of games (including but not limited to Signs and Secret Hitler). This Fellows class is so fun, and it’s been a blast getting to know everyone better. We’ve already managed to go to a free music festival, the Tennessee State fair, Jeni’s ice cream, karaoking, and have continued to play lots of games. The Fellows have blown me away with how intelligent, caring, and fun they all are. I’m so excited I get to spend the next nine months in intentional community with them, and I can’t wait to see friendships deepen and form. My host family has already embraced me as a member of the family as we are getting into the rhythms of school and work. Thankfully my host siblings love games as much as I do, and SkipBo has quickly become our favorite game before bedtime. Truly, these past two weeks have been so exciting. I have never felt more at peace knowing I’m where the Lord wants me!
However, there’s still a little ache in my heart that I think all the Fellows feel to some degree. We just left behind a life we have known for four years and have dived head first into a new community, church, culture, and life. We pulled up to stranger’s houses and said “hi, I’m here to live with you for the next 9 months!” I still have no idea where I’m am half the time and am wondering how people made it before GPSs. Friends I used to see and talk to everyday I’ve only texted a few times this week. The Fellows have left everything familiar and comfortable to be in the Fellows Program, and while it will surely be a rewarding and growing year, it will inevitably be challenging. There will certainly be growing pains. In some ways we totally know what to expect and in other ways we have no idea what’s about to happen these next few months that will bring change and growth. So, while I really am so excited to be in Nashville, it doesn’t change the fact that change is hard, transitions are strenuous, and uncertainty is scary.
One thing to know about me is that I love hymns. I think they’re beautiful and full of scriptural truth. The hymn that has been stuck in my head the most through out these past two weeks is “How Firm a Foundation.” It’s what I’ve been clinging onto particularly the first and second verses:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word
What more can He say than to you He hath said
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled
Fear not, I am with thee; oh be not dismayed
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand
I am so comforted knowing that in the midst of change we have a God who is unchangeable. He is our firm foundation because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His thoughts about us don’t change when we do or because our location does. His steadfast love for us never ceases (Lamentations 3:22). He is our rock and our refuge, ever present in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). We don’t know what this year will bring, but we don’t need to fear because He is with us and promises to never leave us (Isaiah 41:10). If He is with us then we have all we need. He is eager to provide for His people and He will carry us and deliver us through all of our troubles (Isaiah 46:3). The God of the universe who is all powerful and almighty will strengthen us, help us, and be with us. What more could we need! I am in awe of His goodness to His people.
So when I start to feel that ache in my heart and feel sad or overwhelmed with all the new, I sing “How Firm A Foundation” to cling to the promise that the Lord is with me. He is helping me in the midst of change. At the same time I will be praising Him for bringing me to Nashville, I know it is going to be an incredible time!