Growing up in the USA, I learned the song “Sweet Home Alabama” at young age & have been singing it passionately ever since. Only, when I was a kid, I used to feel a sense of wrongness when I sang along to the radio. After all, I didn’t grow up in Alabama, and I wasn’t born in Alabama. The only thing I knew about Alabama was that we got to its beaches quicker than those in Florida. I always felt like a fraud singing that beautiful song.
Consequently, I dreamed of someday living in Alabama so that I could rightfully sing “Sweet Home Alabama”.
Who would have thought God would take the childish dream of a small-town girl and make it a reality?
As I write this, I am sitting in a small coffee shop down the road from our new apartment. We won’t get internet until next week, so Jed & I have frequented the Neighborhood Brew the past several days to get stuff done (i.e., download movies from Netflix). Daniel the Barista just brought me a cafe au lait that is better than one from New Orleans. A mix of Ed Sheeran & Newboys plays over the speakers, and there is art for sale hung on ever inch of wall space. I lean back in my chair & take a sip out of the steaming blue mug. It has been less than a week, and I already feel as if I completely belong here.
Isn’t it so cool how God does that? How he takes us on these crazy adventures that seem impossibly difficult, then He settles us right in.
We attended a Wednesday night church service this week, and afterwards, we went out with a group of young people, and we stayed at a little Greek restaurant until nearly eleven talking. It feels like I am already a piece of the puzzle here, fitting in exactly where He wants me.
I shopped for groceries at a Winn Dixie. I am learning to drive on the highway in the middle of evening traffic. I am scouting stores & restaurants for the NOW HIRING sign. I feel like a normal person just doing what I am supposed to do.
When we were in the process of moving to Guatemala, I struggled so much. Being here, being there . . . All of it felt so strange. I didn’t know how to cope. Eventually, I found my niche. I grew used to the different culture, and I thrived in the adventure & spontaneity that was my world. But here, it is different. I was expecting another massive culture shock, but all I feel here is rightness. Instead of feeling like I need to adjust all of the time, I feel as if I simply fit.
God’s seasons are so incredible. One second we are safely in the boat, and the next He has us walking on stormy waters. Then, as if we were never there, He leads us right back to the safety of the shore. Throughout it all, we are constantly learning & shifting, growing into who He wants us to be. Every chapter varies from the last, and words cannot describe how ready I am for this one.
So on Friday, as I drove myself to Birmingham to sign lease papers, I turned on Lynyrd Skynyrd, and I sang myself proudly into Alabama.