Today we shared at Stone Ridge Church. I gave my life to Christ at Stone Ridge as a teenager (it was First Southern Baptist back then). I served the Lord there as a young adult, even directing the youth as a staff member at one point. My pastor there officiated our wedding and guided us through premarital counseling in the months before we got married. My mom still lives in Yuma and is a part of Stone Ridge - I guess it's been about 16 years now.
Unfortunately we've only been back to Yuma a handful of times since we left 8 years ago to serve on staff at a church in Pennsylvania. It's partly due to the fact that our family grew so quickly and traveling with young ones is neither easy or cheap. We came back when I was pregnant and our friends gave us a baby shower. It was such a blessing. Then, we brought a group of junior high students for a mission trip when Rylee was just 3 months old. We didn't return again for three years. And, now three years later again we've made the trek. I sure hope it's not another three years until we can come again.
I always get reflective on trips like this. Whether it's back to North Carolina, Arizona, or Pennsylvania (the 3 places I've lived before Texas), lots of emotions always flood my heart. There is a huge part of me that was developed in each of those places. I spent my first ten years in North Carolina. Most of my family is still there. Then, I spent the next 14 years of my life in Arizona. My mom still lives there. It's where I gave my heart to Jesus and began serving the Lord in full-time ministry. It's where I went to school and did work in the community. It's also where Joel and I met. Then, I spent five years in Pennsylvania. It's where Joel and I had our first home, gave birth to all three of our children, and invested our hearts and lives in a church and its teenagers. Our friends there are like family.
I've already been asked quite a few times "is it good to be back?" Such a hard question to answer. It is great to see our friends and family. But, there's so much more than can be said with that answer. It is good to be back. It's good on many different levels. It's good for me to see what God's been doing since I've been gone. It's good for me to hug the neck of friends. It's good to touch base in person rather than by email. It's good to finally make contact with those who don't email or keep in touch much. It's good to be challenged. It's good to be reminded. It's good to reflect.
It's good to come back home for a while.