We didn’t know that our trip to Alabama last year was going to be the start of our new foster care journey. In fact, we didn’t know the trip would be one of the most important in our lives.
This season marks the one year anniversary of our big life shift. We felt God’s clear call to leave our decades-long church. Shortly after Thanksgiving, we planned a trip to see family in Birmingham. It would be a great time to see family and to think and pray.
I like to get away before big decisions. Before asking my bride to marry me, I spent the day in the mountains praying. Before accepting job offers, I visit the place and spend time in prayer. Before deciding to move our spiritual home, we needed to get away to pray, seek counsel (my brother-in-law is a pastor — a Dr. even!) and to clear our minds.
Big decisions should never happen lightly. We clearly heard Him say go and we thought we knew the church to attend. We didn’t know if it was a pit stop. We didn’t know if Alabama was our next home.
Birmingham is lovely. One of my favorites. It’s called the Magic City. Nestled right at the southern end of the Appalachians, you can stand in the shadow of Vulcan (the city’s scantily-clad statue) and see over the downtown high rises toward the horizon miles away.
It’s a city rich in history. Each visit, we spend time at the Civil Rights Institute, to reflect, remember and learn. It’s a city full of culture. We strolled with family in the amazing Arboretum and took in the McWane Science Center. We feel just as home there as in central North Carolina.
In His goodness, He lined up subtle confirmations throughout our stay. Too many to count. I’m not a huge believer in signs per se, but one sign in particular stood out to us: a shopping center that was the name of the church He told us about.
So much fellowship, so much food, so many laughs and so many good times. And lots and lots of time to think and pray. Twelve hours in the rain on the way down and 12 hours on the way back in even harder rain gives you lots of time for contemplation and meditation. And on the way home, a still small voice said “the time to go is now.”
We didn’t quite know the longer plan, but we knew the next steps. We didn’t know if a move to Alabama was in the works. We didn’t know how long we would be at the new church. We didn’t know that church would pave the way for the expansion of our family.
We left North Carolina seeking answers in Alabama and we ended up finding new foundations for the greatest journey in life.