I don’t always have the best memory, and my past tendencies to lapse in blogging doesn’t always help with that. But I remember very clearly sitting in the hotel room lobby after breakfast, waiting for Will as he ran up to the room to grab something, feeling queasy and apprehensive as we prepared to head to the church for the first time.
We had arrived in Exton the night before, excited and tired and wondering what God might have planned for us here. Now, as we got ready to visit Grace Covenant for the first time, all I knew was that my nerves were not cooperating with my intent to be calm and serene.
Will and I drove to the church and walked in the front doors, immediately greeted by two of the elders- one was heading up the search committee and served as an elder with the youth, while the other served as an elder over the children’s program. Both were very welcoming and gave us a tour of the building. I slowly began to feel more at ease. We sat in the sanctuary and talked a bit before following the head of the search committee to lunch, to meet the rest of the committee. At lunch, I found myself swirling with thoughts and emotions and being relieved that Will is the more natural talker of the two of us! That and my food gave me an excuse to listen and observe a bit more. I liked those that we met and looked forward to seeing them again (along with their families) at the committee head’s house later that evening for dinner.
Before dinner, however, it was time to meet the pastor and his wife for coffee. Or for me, a Chai latte because I hadn’t fully committed to coffee yet. We met at a local Starbucks and chatted for a bit. Will shared his testimony, we discussed our children a bit (including the decisions to homebirth that we had in common), talked about the church some, and then said our goodbyes until the following morning.
Will and I drove back to the hotel discussing how we felt about things so far and wondering how everyone felt about us. We prayed together, relaxed a bit, and prepared to go to enjoy dinner with the search committee members and their families. I tend on the introvert side, so I was absolutely feeling drained a bit by all the interactions from the day. I had to resist my tendency to push myself into a quiet corner. It’s a hard thing to go through such an interview process, even when you enjoy those interviewing you very much. Knowing what you say and do is likely being taken into account is always in my mind, but I had been getting to the point where I was determined to just enjoy the process and the people I was meeting. I’m sure I was a bit overbearing to my husband at times despite this commitment, as he gets to experience the reality of my nervousness through my over-analyzation and incessant processing. A moment that still stands out as I share this story is from when we said goodbye that evening. I remember the kindness in the eyes of the search committee head as he shook my hand goodbye. Sometimes you get clear glimpses of Jesus in people, and I got one then.
Driving back towards the hotel, I delighted again in the beauty of the area, taking in the winding roads, the hills, the beautiful trees. All of a sudden, we passed a large, open field, rather meadow-like. And there were lights. Tiny, twinkling lights. They were everywhere, and they were MAGICAL. Growing up in the coastal area of NC, fireflies are not common. I asked Will to pull over and we leapt out. At that moment, I won’t say I *knew* we were going to be coming to Pennsylvania, but I did know once again that God is amazing, incredible, and the greatest creator of unimaginable beauty, and how could my future be anything less than secure in His hands?
That doesn’t mean I felt complete peace the rest of the interview process, but those fireflies became a tangible reminder of God’s love and care and creativity, and was (and is) a great comfort in times of uncertainty and challenge.