Having my friend in town prompted some reflection on my time in Baltimore and the incredible friends I have there (have, not had!). I don't think it was ever a secret that I spent most of my time in Baltimore planning where I was going next and trying to figure out how quickly that could happen! It had nothing to do with the city of Baltimore, the people I met, or the place I worked and everything to do with trying to pursue my dreams in my time and in my way. I never expected to be in Charm City for long - I thought I'd get a job in DC after my internship with World Relief and then move abroad or start grad school after only one or two years. Even after God made it clear to me near the end of my internship that he wanted me in Baltimore, I still didn't expect it to be for three and a half years.
So I dove into a cool job, one that had me interacting with people from all over the country and globe. Eventually I found a great church, a community of people living out in very tangible and sustainable ways Jesus' call to love God and love our neighbors. I made friends in both places, as well as through a fun weekly game of Ultimate Frisbee and my roommates. I went to farmers' markets, tried swing dancing, learned a bit about wine, and did my best to enjoy where I was and what I had been given.
But all along, I was restless. So restless and impatient to move on to the next big adventure that I barely noticed - and even took for granted - the incredible people God had placed in my life to support, encourage, and sustain me through several years of wrestling with him. I was so restless and impatient that I never fully rooted myself in community, choosing to go it alone in many cases.
However, despite my preoccupation, restlessness, and downright stubbornness to go it alone, God provided friends and mentors who cared about me, who sought to challenge and encourage me, and who taught me through their friendship about God's goodness, presence, and love for his people. So, if you're one of those precious B'more friends, I hope you'll be encouraged reading this, knowing that you played an incredible role in my life! I am forever grateful to you, for the testimony you are to me of God's provision and care through his church. Paul said it best:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ...And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."
Philippians 1.3-6, 9-11
Philippians 1.3-6, 9-11
I look forward to the next time I see you, whether here in Boston, there in Baltimore, or elsewhere around the world! With love, Lynnae :)