Back when I arrived at Elon before my freshman year of college, I figured that I’d get some serious time at home during the summers, but after that, I was gone from good old Sanford forever. But then even the summers got taken away. After my freshman year, I worked as a camp counselor at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. After my sophomore year, I went to Myrtle Beach as part of Campus Outreach’s Summer Beach Project. After my junior year, I went to South Africa for seven weeks as part of Campus Outreach’s Cross Cultural Project.
After my senior year, I figured, I’d have a job somewhere away from home.
However, things are different in real life.
I’m going home.
There were a couple job options away-from-home that didn’t quite work out. Plus, there’s potential employment at home that could work out. I don’t quite know for sure what that future holds, but whatever it is, Lord-willing, I’m going back to Sanford, N.C., after graduation on May 24 to live in my parents’ house.
This wasn’t what I expected.
This wasn’t what I hoped. I hoped to be “moving on” by this time. I hoped to be “growing up” by this time. I never equated “growing up” or “moving on” with going back home.
However, I’m stoked.
See, God has a funny way of altering our life trajectories, at least in our view.
It was always in his plan that I would be back home after graduation, sleeping in the same bed I slept in during high school (I got a new one around freshman year), in the same room, in the same house, with most of the same people (my brother will be a junior at Elon), going to the same church, driving around the same town. A lot of it will be similar.
But now, I get a do-over in Sanford, almost. Back in high school, so much of my relationship with my city was from a distance, for lack of better words. I didn’t give Sanford much thought, to be honest. I went to school in a different town. The only real serious relationship I had with Sanford was my church.
Now that I’m coming home, I get a chance to approach Sanford in a whole different way. It’s a city that, like every other city, needs the gospel. They need the hope of Jesus, the hope of the gospel, the joy that comes from pursuing God. I’m excited about doing what I can to help there. I’m excited about plugging into my church, Turner’s Chapel, in whatever way possible. I’m excited about developing relationships with guys my age to pursue Christ together. I’m excited about any ministry efforts God throws my way. I’m excited about going to church with my family every Sunday.
I’m excited about eating at the Dairy Bar, Elizabeth’s Pizza, Yamato’s. I’m excited about going on jogs at Kiwanis Park. I’m excited about going grocery shopping at Food Lion. I’m excited about hitting up Belk’s for the dress shirts I’ll probably need for my new job if I get it.
I’m excited about a lot of things. But I wouldn’t have pegged this opportunity that way four years ago. God has a funny way of doing that.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)