STL - A God Thing

“I miss Ray,” I told my husband as we turned onto our street after a walk through our neighborhood. The high on this January day was 51 and it was glorious. We needed only light jackets and nothing else.

Ray was our favorite neighbor back in Charleston. We almost always made sure to walk by his house whether as a family or just walking Belle for the evening. He would let us know the latest neighborhood updates and had some of the best advice from someone who was retired, but respected how our generation was a bit different than his. As a stay-at-home mom, I often found myself going for a walk when I knew he would be outside working on his yard and he almost always was ready to talk about just about anything. I miss Ray, his wife and their two dogs.

And, as I told my husband about Ray we spotted a new neighbor stepping out from his garage.

“Howdy, neighbors!”

And, with that boisterous greeting we met Charlie. Charlie has lived in our neck of the woods for his entire life it seems. His family owned a horse ranch some miles away from here and he let us know that where our neighborhood now stands was once an apple orchard. He’s been through the Lowcountry and he’s ready to go back for some extra days when the opportunity arises.

Charlie is our new Ray. He’s different, but for me he’s the same.

And, that’s just one God thing that has happened since moving to St. Louis - hundreds upon hundreds of miles away from family and friends and what we once called “home”.

The other God things over the last 6 months since moving to St. Louis?

One day I was miserably sad at the library. It was a gloomy day and snow was on the way. I was missing our old normal and struggling to embrace our new normal.

Then, I saw a new friend from church who is originally from the south with her daughters. Right when I felt alone, I saw that I had a new friend.

And, there was another day when we left our small group on a Sunday morning and I told my husband, “I miss Northwood” while feeling a bit invisible in our new church (no one’s fault - just me mental state at that moment) and someone called my name. She knew my name and saw me - the same way God knows my name and calls to me.

Oh, and the time that I was shopping and felt pitiful for not having someone who could tell me whether an outfit looked nice on my bump and someone tapped me on the shoulder. There was another friend.

Now, some people may say it’s just a coincidence or seeing what I want to see, but let me tell you, there have been more times when God has remained silent in the midst of my temper tantrums and lonely moments. There have been times when I’ve begged God to send someone to help me navigate this new path in St. Louis and stood alone in a park. There have been times when I’ve wondered if this was really a part of his plan. And, there have been times when “God Things” haven’t happened when I needed them to happen. But, through it all, the last six months have allowed me to experience God in a new way.

When you feel like you have no one (other than your husband and toddler daughter) to confide in and share your day with, there’s God. Instead of relying on relationships with others, I’ve had to rely on him in a new way. He knows every detail of my day, yet he still yearns for me to call out to him. He knows what my fears and needs are and wants to fulfill them according to his will. He knows it all when I questioned his plans for us. And, he still offers his grace to me when I’ve been pitiful and questioned his love for us.

I won’t lie, the last six months have been a blissful and painful challenge for me. I’ve been tested in new ways, but I’ve also dedicated more time to what matters: God, my family and my writing. I’m not sure what the next six months will hold or how long we’ll call St. Louis home, but I’m learning to seek him and hold on to a good [God] thing when I find it.