One year ago from today, I was moving into my new apartment in Minnesota. I had emptied the contents of my beetle and discovered that all of the belongings I brought with me from California fit into my closet (which was good, because my room wasn't much larger than that anyway).
After almost a year of battling the most difficult case of culture shock I've ever had (and I've made some big moves in my life) I came to terms with my new surroundings when some good friends of mine came to visit this summer. The words that solidified my home here in Minnesota (how ever long or short that may be) came from a group of church planters that said, to no one in particular, but to everyone there, "You are sent exactly where you are." That week my car had broken down, my attentions between ministries were split, but by the end of it all I was sent to exactly where I stood.
Up until this evening, I had forgotten that today was my one year anniversary in Minnesota. In fact I spent most of the day bemoaning Twin City drivers, and bad Christian radio stations (is there a good one?). I found myself in a deeply cynical place, that I didn't fully realize myself to be in until I started criticizing a regional church community effort that I was excited about two days ago. Thankfully I have started to build deep relationships with people who can call me out on my cynicism when it gets too heavy, or let me air out my frustrations knowing that I'm not fully committed to what I'm saying until I've heard more than two points of view. So when it suddenly dawned on me this evening, just before youth group, that I've lived here for exactly one year I was able to count it as growth no matter how dark some days (or months) have been, because I found myself surrounded by people who are starting to know me well enough to not let me take life so seriously.
One year ago I was sent to exactly where I am. Though being sent meant leaving, it also meant coming. Coming home to a new community that I am learning to love as they learn to love me. Coming to a new understanding of belonging that transcends any one particular group of people. Coming to a place that offers growth in new ways that I may have never allowed myself to grow.
Tomorrow I will sit outside in my new apartment with a good cup of coffee, my Bible and a journal and start a new year of living in the present with the knowledge of the past in mind and hope for the future at heart.